Italian scriptwriter Ugo Pirro dies at 87

Wrote screenplays for two Oscar-winning movies

Italian scriptwriter Ugo Pirro, who wrote the screenplays for two Oscar-winning movies, including “Il Giardino dei Finzi Contini,” died Jan. 18 in Rome. He was 87.

Pirro died in his Rome apartment, the ANSA news agency said, without specifying the cause of death. His body will lie in state at the Rome’s Casa del Cinema film institute on Saturday, according to city officials.

Pirro co-wrote the screenplays for “Indagine Su Un Cittadino al Di Sopra Di Ogni Sospetto” (or “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion”), directed by Elio Petri, and Vittorio De Sica’s “Il Giardino dei Finzi Contini” (or “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis”).

Both films, released in the early 1970s, went on to win Oscars for best foreign-language movie. Pirro himself won Academy Award nominations for the screenplays, but did not win.

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Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said the city was mourning the loss of “one of the greatest screenwriters in the history of cinema.” In a statement, Veltroni, a movie buff and former film critic, praised what he said was Pirro’s “extraordinary talent,” “fantasy” and his ability to interpret modern society.

Over his career, Pirro adapted the Mafia novels of Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia for the silver screen and also worked with directors, including Lina Wertmuller, and actors, including Gian Maria Volonte.