Terence Hill turns 80

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Terence Hill (Mario Girotti) was born on 29 March 1939. He is an Italian actor, film director, screenwriter and film producer.

Hill started his career as a child actor and went on to multiple starring roles in action and comedy films, many with longtime film partner and friend Bud Spencer.

At the height of his considerable popularity, Terence Hill was one of Italy’s highest-paid stars.

Hill was born in Venice but spent the WWII years living in Dresden, Germany. When he was 12, Hill was ‘”discovered” during a swim meet by Italian filmmaker Dino Risi who cast him in Vacanze col Gangster (Holiday for Gangsters) (1951). Through the decade, Hill made occasional film appearances to pay for his education and his interest in motorcycles. He spent three years studying literature at the University of Rome before deciding to become a full-time actor working in films ranging from The Wonders of Aladdin (1961) — the first Hill film to reach the U.S., albeit a decade after its European release — and Luchino Viconti’s Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) (1963).

Afterwards, Hill made action films and Westerns in Germany until 1967 when he returned to Italy and appeared in Dio perdona… lo no! He changed his name from Mario Girotti to Terence Hill in 1969. He came up with his name by combining the name of the author of a Latin book, Terenzio, with the maiden name of his American wife, Lori. Hill gained popularity when he co-starred with Bud Spencer in the comic spaghetti Western They Call Me Trinity (1971) and its sequel, Trinity Is STILL My Name (1972). Hill and Spencer would work together in some 19 films. Hill made two films in Hollywood, March or Die (1976), starring with Gene Hackman, and Mr. Billion (1976), his first undubbed English-speaking role, in which he starred opposite Valerie Perrine.

He was not as successful in the U.S. as in Europe, but eventually he made it his permanent residence. Hill had a minor hit in 1981 with Super Fuzz. In 1983, he added directing to his repertoire.

Later in the decade, he also started producing features.

Hill later went on to a television career in Italy; in 2000, he landed the leading role in the Italian television series Don Matteo (2000–), about an inspirational parish priest who assists the Carabinieri in solving crimes local to his community. This role earned Hill an international “Outstanding Actor of the Year” award at the 42nd Monte Carlo Television Festival, alongside ones for the series, and for producer Alessandro Jacchia at that festival.

In the summer of 2010, Hill filmed another Italian television series for the Italian state television channel Rai Uno, this time entitled Un passo dal cielo (One Step from Heaven), playing a local chief of the state foresters in the region of Alto Adige, with a second season filmed in 2012.

On 19 April 2018 he directed La chiamavano Maryam. The same year it was released the co-operative beat’em up videogame Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps and Beans.

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