Nino Castelnuovo, ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg’ Star, Dies at 84

Nino Castelnuovo, a preferred Italian movie and tv actor who discovered success past his residence nation when he starred alongside Catherine Deneuve within the soaringly sentimental French New Wave musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” died on Sep. 6 in Rome. He was 84.

His dying, in a hospital, was confirmed by his consultant, Simone Oppi.

Mr. Castelnuovo, who introduced an incandescent appeal to the display, grew to become a star throughout a golden age of Italian cinema. He collaborated with main administrators like Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica and acted alongside greats like Alberto Sordi and Claudia Cardinale.

If he achieved worldwide discover with “Umbrellas,” he didn’t actually attain fame in Italy till 1967, for his position as Renzo in a tv sequence based mostly on Alessandro Manzoni’s 1827 literary epic, “The Betrothed,” which takes place throughout a plague within the 17th century. Such was that present’s recognition, Mr. Castelnuovo as soon as mentioned, that Pope Paul VI grew to become a fan and requested to fulfill him. (“Castelnuovo, I wish you to be as good, wise and respectable as your Renzo,” he recalled the pope telling him — to which he mentioned he replied, “Likewise.”)

Mr. Castelnuovo grew to become a fixture in Italian dwelling rooms within the 1980s because the athletic middle-aged spokesman for Olio Cuore, a model of corn oil. In tv commercials for the product, he vaulted over a fence to show his good well being.

“He’s one of the excellent underrated Italian actors,” Antonio Monda, who teaches a course on Italian cinema at New York University and is the inventive director of the Rome Film Festival, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “He was praised abroad, especially in France, but was somewhat overlooked in Italy. His curse was doing that infamous oil commercial.”

Mr. Castelnuovo secured his place within the worldwide movie canon for his efficiency in “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” Jacques Demy’s 1964 New Wave romance during which all of the dialogue was sung, virtually as if it had been a cinematic opera. (Michel Legrand wrote the music; Mr. Castelnuovo’s voice was dubbed.) The film was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and acquired 5 Academy Award nominations, together with one for greatest foreign-language movie and one for the tune “I Will Wait for You.”

“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” set in a Normandy port city, recounts the youthful love affair between a storage mechanic named Guy, performed by Mr. Castelnuovo, and Geneviève, the daughter of an umbrella store proprietor, performed by Ms. Deneuve. Their romance ends when Guy is drafted into the Algerian conflict. Geneviève quickly discovers she is pregnant with Guy’s baby. When they lastly meet once more, they’ve married different folks, and their love is a bittersweet reminiscence.

Revisiting the movie in 2011, The New York Times critic A.O. Scott referred to as it “one of the most romantic films ever made.” “The romance between these young lovers was not meant to be,” he added, “but our romance with this incomparable film will last forever.”

Mr. Castelnuovo in Paris in 1966 with Christine Delaroche, his co-star within the Vittorio De Sica movie “A New World.”Credit…Keystone/Hulton Archive, through Getty Images

Francesco Castelnuovo was born on Oct. 28, 1936, in Lecco, Italy. His father, Camillo, labored in a button manufacturing facility. His mom, Emilia Paola (Sala) Castelnuovo, was a maid.

Growing up, Francesco held jobs as a mechanic and a home painter to assist himself. He typically discovered refuge within the darkness of film theaters and idolized Fred Astaire, whose movies impressed him to turn out to be a gymnast and a dancer in his teenagers.

In 1955, he moved to Milan to check at the Piccolo Teatro repertory theater. He additionally discovered work as a mime on a kids’s tv present a few magician named Zurli. He made his movie debut in 1959 with a small half in Pietro Germi’s crime thriller “The Facts of Murder,” and he appeared the subsequent yr in Visconti’s acclaimed “Rocco and His Brothers.”

Among Mr. Castelnuovo’s different movies had been “The Hunchback of Rome” (1960), which was notable for that includes the director Pier Paolo Pasolini in an performing position, and De Sica’s 1966 drama, “A New World.” He appeared in Jean-Luc Godard’s section of “Amore e Rabbia” (1969), a sequence of quick tales directed by varied cinema luminaries. He reunited with Deneuve in Agnès Varda’s movie “The Creatures” in 1966.

He is survived by his spouse, Maria Cristina Di Nicola; his son, Lorenzo; and his sister, Marinella.

In 1996, at the age of 60, Mr. Castelnuovo performed the archaeologist D’Agostino in Anthony Minghella’s “The English Patient.” He continued performing into his 70s, performing in productions of works by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni and taking part in a choose on the tv sequence “Tuscan Passion” from 2013 to 2015. He additionally labored to boost consciousness of glaucoma, from which he had lengthy suffered.

In interviews, Mr. Castelnuovo typically mirrored on the fantastic period of Italian cinema that he had witnessed firsthand. He generally complained that Italian movies had turn out to be much less, nicely, Italian.

“I come from a cinema that is very different from now,” he mentioned in a Roman tv interview in 1999. “It was a time when Italian film was the most respected cinema in the world.”

“We’ve decided to follow the Americans and other big nations,” he continued. “We’ve misplaced sight of simply how a lot expertise we Italians have.

“We’re a rustic of marvelous folks. Marvelous within the sense that, with out our imaginations, we can’t dwell. We’re not excellent realists, which makes us very imaginative folks.”