Spaghetti Western veteran Anthony Steffen died of cancer June 5 in Rio de Janiero. He was 73.
Born Antonio de Teffe in Rome, he began his film career as a studio messenger for Vittorio de Sica, who was then directing “The Bicycle Thief.” His first appearance was in “Abandoned” in 1955, and he then was cast in various sword and sandal epics and comedies as well as American movies such as Robert Aldrich’s “Sodom and Gomorrah.” After rechristening himself Anthony Steffen, he made a name in spaghetti Westerns.
One of Steffen’s most memorable roles was in “Django the Bastard,” which he also co-wrote, playing a phantom gunslinger returned from the grave to avenge his own death — a role said to be the inspiration for Eastwood’s “High Plains Drifter.”
Other credits include “Seven Dollars to Kill,” “Train for Durango” (with Mark Damon) and “Killer Kid.”
He also appeared in several thrillers such as “The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave,” “Death in Haiti,” “The Crimes of the Black Cat,” a giallo classic where he played a blind pianist and “Killer Fish,” with James Franciscus and Lee Majors.
After several roles in the 1980s, he retired to Rio de Janiero.
He is survived by his wife Cristina and two sons.