Because of his father’s profession, inspector of an insurance company, Ugo Tognazzi spent his childhood in various cities to return later in 1936 in his native Cremona, fourteen years old, and found work as a laborer at Negroni, Cremona famous factory producing sausages and in his spare time, he starred in a recreational club of amateur company (his acting debut had happened when he was just four years old, Donizetti Theater in Bergamo).
During the Second World War he was enrolled into the army and devoted himself diligently to organize variety shows for his comrades.
After the armistice of September 8th he returned to Cremona, where he worked as an archivist. The passion for the show made him leave the job and he transferred to Milan in 1945. Here he participated in an evening for amateurs held at the Teatro Puccini following which he was hired by the theater company of Wanda Osiris.
In 1950 he began the film with a film directed by Mario Mattioli, The Cadets of Gascony, starring Stan Laurel. The following year he met Raimondo Vianello with whom he formed a couple of great comedy success from 1954 to 1960 he worked for the fledgling Rai Tv that consecrate the couple on the small screen with two or three varieties, the more folk humor and blood of Ugo and the more refined and “English” Raimondo are interwoven with great comic results.
After numerous film and television farces, Tognazzi in the sixties passed to the Italian comedy, giving a very personal contribution to the genre: inside he masterfully played the card of his roots equidistant between the active and pleasurable Milan Lower Valley between Cremona, Piacenza and Modena, and interpreting characters from Emilia, and more specifically from Parma, quite convincingly, he was then hired by director Alberto Bevilacqua (The Caliph, 1971; This kind of love, 1972) and then Bernardo Bertolucci (The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man, 1981: wonderful little underrated film squeezed between megaproduction to which Bertolucci was now directing in those years, but Tognazzi earned the Palme d’Or at Cannes for best actor).
Deeply attached to his land and his city – was not uncommon to find Zini stadium to cheer for Cremonese of his friend and first mate Dominic Luzzara stage, the President – Ugo cut out for his characters often jokes in dialect Cremonese. Legendary are the numerous parts, contained in the movie The March on Rome (1962) by Dino Risi. In the film that launched the satirical film, The Federal (1961) by Luciano Salce, his character was born Azzanello, a small town in the province of Cremona.
Just alongside the experiences of auteur cinema, however, the sybaritic and transgressive Ugo engaged in the trilogy of My Friends (1975, 1982, 1985) and the Vice (1978, 1980, 1985), which met with great success.
He directed himself in the movies several times (The Maintened, 1961; The whistle at the nose, 1966; Yessir, 1968; Evil Thoughts, 1976, Passengers of the Evening, 1979), and in 1970 also in the television series FBI – Francesco Bertolazzi Investigator
In the eighties, he devoted himself mainly to the theater, starring in Six Characters in Search of an Author in Paris (1986) and The Miser (1988).
Culinary expert and great “Tombeur de femmes”, but also a sincere friend of Gassman, Villaggio, Salce and Monicelli, in the last years of his life Tognazzi became ill with depression – the dark evil person who shared the same with Gassmann – and died suddenly in his sleep, October 27, 1990 in Rome for a brain hemorrhage, leaving incomplete the television series A Family in Yellow, his last job, and was buried in Velletri.
Twenty years after his daughter Maria Sole presented the Rome Film Festival documentary to remember her father: Portrait of my father.