Gianni Cajafa

Neapolitan principal player and character actor Gianni Cajafa, who worked with many major names during his 60-year stage and film career, died April 19 in a Milan hospital following an embolism. He was 82.

Among those he worked with were Anna Magnani, Toto, Josephine Baker and Buster Keaton.

Cajafa graduated from Rome’s Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1935, the year it was founded. He began his career in variety revue theater, partnering Baker as a singer and dancer, and joining Keaton’s stage company during the comic’s 1952 Italian tour.

His more recent legit successes include an acclaimed production of John Osborne’s “The Entertainer,” with Paolo Ferrari and Giovanna Ralli.

In recent years Cajafa had been rediscovered by young directors from the burgeoning school of Neapolitan independent filmmaking. He appeared in Massimo Martella’s “Il Tuffo” (1993) and, most notably, in Mario Martone’s “L’Amore Molesto” in 1995.

Cajafa is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.

David Rooney

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