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Thursday, 29 June, 2000, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Italian actor Vittorio Gassman dies

The Italian actor Vittorio Gassman has died in Rome at the age of 77; he died at his home following a heart attack.

He came to symbolise Italian theatre and made more than 120 films.

Gassman's arrogant good looks often led to his being type-cast as the egocentric hero, and by the 1950's he was one of Italy's leading box office attractions.

He was married three times, once to the American actress Shelly Winters. His Hollywood appearances included King Vidor's "War and Peace", and Robert Altman's "A Wedding" and "Quintet". In 1975 Vittorio Gassman received the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for "Profumo di Donna"; a film later remade as "Scent of a Woman" with Al Pacino.

He gave up stage acting last year, telling the audience from the stage; "Death does not obsess me -- it disgusts me."

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