Aired: 9/21/11 Episode 13001 "Scorched Earth"
Franco Nero has captivated international audiences over the last 45 years as an award-winning leading man and character actor, who now also works as a writer-producer-director. Born in Parma, Italy, he went to drama school and moved to Rome where he joined a group of friends to make documentaries. Working various behind-the-camera jobs, he was discovered by director John Huston, who cast him as Abel in "The Bible: In the Beginning." A few months later, Nero had his big break with the internationally acclaimed cult-classic Spaghetti Western "Django." The following year, he starred in the film version of "Camelot" opposite Vanessa Redgrave, earning a Golden Globe Award nomination. Nero and Redgrave's subsequent relationship resulted in the birth of a son, Carlo, now a movie writer/director.
Nero has appeared in more than 185 movies around the world and has worked with Europe's top directors, including Luis Bunuel, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Claude Chabrol, Sergei Bondarciuk, Michael Cacoyannis, Elio Petri and Marco Bellocchio. He has also played the role of leading national heroes such Garibaldi (Italy), Arpad (Hungary) and Banovic Strakigna (former Yugoslavia).
In the United States, he has been seen in successful miniseries such as "The Pirate," "The Last Days of Pompei," "Young Catherine," "Bella Mafia," "The Painted Lady" and "Saint Augustine." His movie credits include "The Legend of Valentino," "21 Hours to Munich," "Force 10 from Navarone," "Enter the Ninja," "The Versace Murder," "Die Hard 2" and recently "Letters to Juliet."
Over the last 40 years, he has been a benefactor of the Don Bosco orphanage in Tivoli, Italy. In 1992, Italy's most prestigious honor, Commendatore of the Republic, was conferred on him by the then president of Italy. He has also been honoured by Brunel University of London with the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.