Tuesday, 8 April 2014

1971, Deaths: Actress Pier Angeli dies at 39

Italian actress Pier Angeli was found dead in her Beverly Hills apartment on Friday 10 September 1971 at the age of 39. Her body was discovered by a friend, drama coach Helena Sorrell, who lived with the actress. The actress had been under treatment for a stomach ailment. She died of an overdose of drugs, one of which had been identified as a barbiturate.

Pier Angeli was born as Anna Maria Pierangeli on 19 June 1932 in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. She was the twin sister of actress, Marisa Pavan. At the age of 3 she moved to Rome with her parents. Angeli became famous overnight when she debuted in the Vittorio De Sica film "Domani è troppo tardi" ("Tomorrow Is Too Late") (1950). She won a Silver Ribbon (Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists) for Best Actress (Migliore Attrice Protagonista) for her performance in the film.
Mother Enrichetta Romiti with the young Anna Maria Pierangeli
Twin sister Maria Louisa Pierangeli (actress Marisa Pavan), father Luigi Pierangeli (died in 1950) and Anna Maria Pierangeli
Anna Maria Pierangeli with mother Enrichetta and younger sister Patrizia
Pier Angeli age 18 in 1951
MGM signed her up when she was 18 and she debuted in the Fred Zinnemann film "Teresa" (1951). Reviews for her performance in the film compared her to Greta Garbo, and she won the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female in 1952. Throughout the 1950s, she appeared in a American and European films, including "The Light Touch" (1952) with Stewart Granger, "The Devil Makes Three" (1952) with Gene Kelly, "Mam'zelle Nitouche" (1954) with Fernandel and "Somebody up There Likes Me" (1956) with Paul Newman.
Anna Maria Pierangeli (Pier Angeli) and twin sister Maria Louisa Pierangeli (Marisa Pavan)
In 1959 Angeli made a well received record of Italian songs titled "Italia con Pier Angeli". Her singing voice was also used in several films such as "Mam'zelle Nitouche" (1954) and "Port Afrique" (1956). She also appeared on the "The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom" (1960) television show singing a duet with Pat Boone.
Pier Angeli with James Dean (1954)
Pier Angeli with James Dean (1954)
For a short time, Angeli had a romantic relationship with James Dean, under pressure from her dominant mother, she broke off the relationship and went on to marry singer and actor Vic Damone (1954–1958). In 1959 and in 1968 she named James Dean the greatest love of her life. Dean died in 1955. In 1959 she divorced from Damone, followed by court battles for the custody of their son, Perry Damone.
Pier Angeli with Vic Damone at their wedding (1954)
Pier Angeli and Vic Damone with their son Perry (1955)
Pier Angeli with her son Perry Damone
After her divorce she made a strong comeback in the British drama "The Angry Silence" (1960). Throughout the 1960´s she lived and worked in Europe. She appeared in several British and Italian films, including "Sodom and Gomorrah" (1962), "L'ammutinamento" ("White Slave Ship") (1961) and "The Battle of the Bulge" (1965).
Kirk Douglas and Pier Angeli in "The Story of Three Loves" (1953)
In 1962 she remarried with the Italian composer Armando Trovaioli, with whom she had another son, Andrew. Trovaioli left her in 1965 but they never got divorced.
Armando Trovaioli and Pier Angeli (1962)
Pier Angeli and her son Andrew Trovaioli
On 14 September 1971 Pier Angeli's funeral service was held at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. Vic Damone, her son Perry, Norma Eberhard, Dr. Ramon Spritzler, Liza Minelli, and the families of Kirk Douglas and Louis Jordan attended the service, later she was interred at the Cimitière des Bulvis in Rueil Malmaison, France.
Pier Angeli's funeral from left to right: twin sister Maria Louisa Pierangeli (actress Marisa Pavan), her son Perry Damone, her mother Enrichetta Romiti, Helena Sorrell and former husband Vic Damone.

Pier Angeli in her film debut "Domani è troppo tardi" (1950)