Italian actor Carlo Pedersoli, better known by his professional name, Bud Spencer, has passed away at the age of 86.
A veteran of over 50 productions, Spencer was a professional swimmer before turning to acting. His professional name is a combination of his favourite beer – Budweiser – and his favourite actor – Spencer Tracy.
To Anglophone audiences at least, Spencer is perhaps best known for the action comedies he made with his long time onscreen partner, Terrence Hill. The pair made 20 pictures together, most notably the Trinity movies, which saw Hill essay the titular lazy gunslinger, while Spencer played his brawling baby brother, Bambino. Usually shot cheaply in Italian and dubbed into English their movies, which included Double Trouble, Watch Out, We’re Mad and I’m for the Hippopotamus, were ubiquitous in the early VHS era,when distributors needed content to supply the countless corner video shops that sprang up. Audiences of a certain age will certainly remember the seemingly endless supply of Hill/Spencer films in the early ’80s, which combined slapstick comedy with freewheeling action.
Off screen, Spencer was something of a renaissance man. He was a pilot, held several patents and a law degree, and was extremely active in children’s charities. At the urging of Silvio Berlusconi, he tried entering politics in the mid-2000s, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
He died in Rome on June 27, 2016, and is survived by three children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.