Friday, January 13, 2012

Fortunio Bonanova, 1895-1969

Today marks the birth anniversary of Fortunio Bonanova, another of those names you might have seen in the credits but whose face you may not remember. In fact, as is often the case with character actors, internet image searches don't necessarily find too many pictures, which is why I haven't included a picture with this post.

Fortunio Bonanova sounds like either a Spanish or Italian name, and in fact he was born in Spain's Balearic Islands. As is the case with somebody like Gilbert Roland, his Spanish accent made him a natural for playing various Latin character roles (or roles from other Romance language-speaking countries, notably Italy). For example, IMDb lists him as "Hotel Manager" in Down Argentine Way, one of those Fox musicals from the early 1940s which, as you can guess, is set in Argentina. That Night in Rio? There's another obvious choice for casting Bonanova.

That having been said, I find it difficult to remember Bonanova in most of these films. IMDb also lists him in Citizen Kane. Really? He's also one of the men at the Spanish colony in The Black Swan. Then there was his small part in Double Indemnity. It's a bit of a shame that somebody good enough to keep working consistently in dozens of movies is also so difficult to remember.

In fact, the one role in which I best remember him is as the Italian general in Five Graves to Cairo.

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