Movie Stars: Brassi, Rosanno–Latin Lover

Rossano Brazzi (September 18, 1916–December 24, 1994) was an Italian actor, typecast in Hollywood as the sensual and suave Latin Lover.

Brazzi was born in Bologna, Italy, the son of Maria Ghedini and Adelmo Brazzi, an employee of the Rizzoli shoe factory.

He was named after Rossano Veneto, where his father was stationed during his military service in World War I.

Brazzi attended San Marco University in Florence, Italy, where he was raised from the age of four.

He was a lawyer before becoming an actor and made his film debut in 1939.

He moved to Hollywood in 1948 and was propelled to international fame with his role in the English-language film Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), followed by the lead male role in David Lean’s Summertime (1955), opposite Katharine Hepburn.

In 1958, he played the lead as Frenchman Emile De Becque in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.

His other notable English-language films include The Barefoot Contessa (1954), The Story of Esther Costello (1957), opposite Joan Crawford, Count Your Blessings (1959), The Light in the Piazza (1962), and The Italian Job (1969).

In 1940, Brazzi wed baroness Lidia Bertolini (1921–1981) to whom he was married until her death from liver cancer in 1981. The couple had no children. However, he did father a son, George Llewellyn Brady (born 24 July 1955), from a relationship with 20-year-old Llewella Humphreys (1934–1992), the daughter of American mobster Murray Humphreys. Llewella Humphreys later changed her name to Luella Brady, an anglicization of Brazzi.

In 1984, Rossano Brazzi married Ilse Fischer, a German national, who had been the couple’s housekeeper for many years. Hailing from Düsseldorf, Fischer had met Brazzi as an infatuated fan in Rome at the age of 24. This marriage was also childless.

Brazzi was known in film circles for some strange traits, including his preference for ordering off-menu and his love of karaoke. He was often referred to among contemporaries by his nickname Merlion.

Brazzi died in Rome on Christmas Eve 1994, aged 78, from a neural virus.