Celebrity Birthday of the Day – January 3

I don’t often use the term “visionary” when referring to a filmmaker, but man, Sergio Leone was a visionary. He began his career in film when he was only 18, and started as an assistant to Vittorio de Sica during the filming of the movie Bicycle Thieves. He was also an assistant director on Ben-Hur, and when the director Mario Bonnard fell ill during production of The Last Days of Pompeii, Leone took over to finish the film. Leone made his directorial debut two years later with The Colossus of Rhodes, after which he practically founded the Spaghetti Western genre with A Fistful of Dollars, establishing Clint Eastwood as a star in the process. The other two chapters in the Man With No Name trilogy followed – For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – and Once Upon a Time in the West. Other notable films directed and/or produced by Leone include Duck, You Sucker!, My Name is Nobody, and Once Upon a Time in America, which would prove to be his final film. Sergio Leone died of a heart attack on April 30, 1989, at the age of 60.

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