You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Paola Borboni, veteran Italian theater actress and one of the country’s most renowned interpreters of the work of Luigi Pirandello, died April 9 at a rest home in Bodio Lomnago, Varese, after suffering a stroke. She was 95.

Borboni was literally born with the 20th century, on Jan. 1,1900, in Parma. Her first stage experience was in Milan at the age of 16, followed shortly thereafter by minor film roles. During the 1920s, she consolidated her comedic skills as leading lady of Armando Falconi’s theater company.

She earned considerable notoriety in the role of a mermaid in a 1925 production of Carlo Veneziani’s “Alga Marina” by becoming the first Italian actress to appear topless on stage. Borboni strengthened her reputation as a dramatic performer in the early 1930s alongside Italo theater great Ruggero Ruggeri.

The most decisive encounters of her career were with the plays of Pirandello, obtaining notable successes in “To Clothe the Naked,” “Right You Are (If You Think You Are),” “Henry IV” and “As You Desire Me.” In 1942 she formed the first Pirandello theater company.

Partnered on and offstage in the mid-1940s by actor Salvo Randone, Borboni won acclaim in the works of Ugo Betti, George Bernard Shaw and Eugene O’Neill. In the 1950s, she began experimenting with solo recitals of monologues penned by contemporary writers and poets, again with great success.

Borboni became known to national television audiences in the 1960s with her popular show “Donna Paola Fermo Posta.” In 1972, she sparked scandal in the disapproving national media by embarking on her only marriage, with Bruno Vilar, an actor some 40 years her junior. He died a few years later in a car accident, in which Borboni was disabled.

Despite this, she continued to undertake legit roles throughout the 1970s and ’80s in works by Federico Garcia Lorca, Marguerite Duras and Marguerite Yourcenar. Her final professional stage appearance was in March 1994 in a production of Pirandello’s “Berretto a Sonagli.”

Borboni worked sporadically in films over the years, most memorably in Federico Fellini’s 1953 classic “I Vitelloni,” and as the cranky cleaning woman who surprised Audrey Hepburn in the bathroom of Gregory Peck’s apartment in “Roman Holiday.”

More Scene

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content