Amidou (Hamidou Benmassoud)
Actor (Rabat, Morocco, 8.2.1935 – Clichy, France, 9.19.2013)
Born in Morocco as Hamidou Benmassoud in 1935, Amidou was a French-Moroccan actor. He moved to France when he was 17 and enrolled in French National Academy of Dramatic Arts (CNSAD), being the first Moroccan actor to have won an acting award. In 1960, he had his first role as lead in Le propre de l’homme, the first work by Claude Lelouch: he was to have a solid partnership with Lelouch, appearing in eleven films. He was the first Moroccan actor to become famous in French cinema, he was called at times «Moroccan Belmondo». He made his debut in a Maroccan film in 1969, starring in Soleil de printemps by Latif Lahlou. His career includes roles in several American productions, including William Friedkin’s Sorcerer, John Frankenheimer’s Ronin and John Huston’s Escape to Victory and some participation in TV productions. He won also several acting awards, and in 2005, he received at the hands of Martin Scorsese a Lifetime Career Award at the International Film Festival of Marrakech.
Many of his films were released in Italy, starting from Le propre de l’homme (as Ciò che è proprio dell’uomo). About a dozen films also starring Amidou from mid 1960s to late 1990s appear in Italian filmography as coproductions, the first being Brigade antigangs (aka The Friday Man), by Bernard Borderie. In the most recent title, Soleil (1998), he featured alongside Sophia Loren Philippe Noiret and Marianne Sägebrecht. His relative notoriety in Italy anyway resulted from his role in redface of Girolamo, a Native American petty criminal in Spaghetti western Occhio alla penna (aka Buddy Goes West) by Michele Lupo, dubbed by Ferruccio Amendola.
A father of the actress Souad Amidou, Amidou died on 19 September 2013 in Clichy, France because of an illness.
Pattuglia anti-gang (Bernard Borderie, 1966, ff, act), La chamade (Alain Cavalier, 1969, ff, act), La vita, l’amore, la morte (Claude Lelouch, 1969, ff, act), Voyou (Claude Lelouch, 1971, ff, act), Darsela a gambe (Philippe Le Broca, 1971, ff, act), Sette cervelli per un colpo perfetto (Roger Pigaut, 1972, ff, act), La punition (Pierre-Alain Jolivet, 1974, ff, act), Occhio alla penna (Michele Lupo, 1981, ff, act), Soleil (Roger Hanin, ff, act, 1998)
Frame taken from:
Occhio alla penna. Dir. Michele Lupo. Alex Cinematografica, 1981.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi.
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