Lionello Santi, the producer of many acclaimed Italian films from the 1960s, including Francesco Rosi’s “Hands Over the City” and “Salvatore Giuliano,” died Dec. 10 in Rome after a long illness. He was 77.
Known in the Italian film industry as Nello, Tuscan-born Santi produced 60 features – many of which were distributed internationally – and several TV miniseries. He was prez of Cinecitte Studios from 1972-77.
Santi’s Galatea Cinematografica production company often worked with another illustrious Italian producer, Franco Cristaldi, on such films as Nanni Loy’s “Un Giorno da Leoni” (1961) and Pietro Germi’s 1962 Oscar winner “Divorce – Italian Style.”
Other films produced or co-produced by Santi include Jean Renoir’s “The Golden Coach” (1953), Carlo Lizzani’s “Lo Svitato” (1955) with Dario Fo, and the spear-and-sandal epics of the late 1950s “Hercules” and “Hercules Unchained,” both starring Steve Reeves. In 1963, he produced Lina Wertmuller’s directorial debut, “I Basilischi” (aka “The Lizards”).
In 1964, Santi set up the Italo- Russian co-production of Giuseppe De Santis’ dramatic account of war and comradeship, “Italiani, Brava Gente.” Later, he worked with Russian director Gleb Panfilov. His support of Russian cinema earned him special honors at the Moscow Film Festival last summer.
He was awarded a silver medal from the Italian government for his activity as a parachutist in Italy during World War II.
He is survived by his wife.