Lino Ventura

1919 - 1987

One of France's most beloved character stars from the 1950s through and including the 1980s was the Italian-born Lino Ventura. Born Angiolino Joseph Pascal Ventura to Giovanni Ventura and Luisa Borrini, on July 14, 1919, in Parma (northern) Italy, young Lino moved with his family at a young age to Paris, where he grew up. A school dropout at age eight, Lino drifted from job to job (mechanic's apprentice, etc.), unable to decide on what to do for a living. Marrying in 1942 at age 23, he and wife Odette had four children.Lino finally found a career calling as a Greek/Roman-styled wrestler and went on to become a professional European champion in 1950. He was forced to abandon this sporting life, however, after incurring a serious injury in the ring. Looking for gangster types for his next film, director Jacques Becker gave the inexperienced 34-year-old his first acting job as bad guy support to star Jean Gabin in the crime thriller Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954) [Grisbi]. Gabin was impress

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