Legendary movie producer Dino De Laurentiis dies at 91

Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:24pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning Italian film producer Dino De Laurentiis, a master movie showman who brought some 500 films to the big screen including "La Strada," "Serpico," and "Three Days of the Condor," has died at age 91.

The producer of Italian classics such as Federico Fellini's "La Strada," for which he won an Oscar, and Hollywood fare such as "Barbarella" and a "King Kong" remake, died at his Beverly Hills home late on Wednesday night, surrounded by his family.

De Laurentiis was known as much for movies including another foreign language Academy Award winner, "The Nights of Cabiria," as he was for business ventures such as building the Dinocitta production studio outside Rome in 1964. And as many a producer had done before him, he enjoyed some spectacular successes, as well as highly public failures.

His granddaughter Giada, a chef who hosts a show on the U.S. Food Network TV channel, called him a "true inspiration."

"He was my biggest champion in life and a constant source for wisdom and advice. I will miss him dearly," Giada De Laurentiis said.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been determined.

In California, actor-turned-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to whom De Laurentiis gave his first big break when casting him in "Conan the Barbarian," issued a statement calling the producer "a great entrepreneur, genius and salesman."

"Maria (Schwarzenegger's wife) and I join millions of people around the world in sending our thoughts and prayers to Dino's friends and family as we remember a life lived to its fullest," Schwarzenegger said.   Continued...