Anna Magnani and Adoption

Photo of Anna Magnani 1969


Magnani was born in Rome (some sources state Alexandria, Egypt) to an unmarried woman, who gave her to her own mother to raise. She grew up in the slums, and was desperate to escape into film acting. She attended the drama academy there, but her career began in cabaret and night-clubs as a singer.

In 1934 she made her first film, La Cieca de Sorrento, in a minor role, but did not become famous until 1945, in Open City. She made at least 20 films in all, and was one of the few European female stars of the 1950s and 60s to be famous as a straight actress, not primarily a sex symbol. Her last major film was The Secret of Santa Vittoria in 1969, although she also appeared in Fellini's Rome in 1972.

She was married once, for a short time, to Goffredo Alessandrini, and had one child, by Massimo Serato, who contracted polio, and to whom she dedicated her life. She died of cancer.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, vol. 3: Actors and Actresses, edited by Amy L. Unterburger. (Detroit: St. James Press, 1997) Powers, Norman. "Biographical Information for Anna Magnani." Available at: