Greta Scacchi

Greta Scacchi

Greta Scacchi, January 2008
Born Greta Scacchi
(1960-02-18) 18 February 1960
Milan, Italy
Nationality Italy
Occupation Actor
  • Leila
  • Matteo

Greta Scacchi (Italian pronunciation: [ˌɡrɛːta ˈskakːi]; born 18 February 1960) is an Italian-Australian actor known for her roles in the films White Mischief, Presumed Innocent, The Player, and Looking for Alibrandi. She won an Emmy Award in 1996 for her portrayal of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the television film, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.

Early life

Scacchi was born in Milan, Italy, on 18 February 1960, the daughter of Luca Scacchi, an Italian art dealer and painter, and Pamela, an English dancer and antiques dealer.[1] Scacchi's parents divorced when she was four, and her mother returned to her native England with Greta and her two older brothers, first to London, then to Haywards Heath, West Sussex.[2] In 1975, after her mother's remarriage to Giovanni Carsaniga, an Italian academic, the family moved to Perth, Australia, where her stepfather was visiting professor of Italian at the University of Western Australia (UWA).[3][4][5] While in Perth, Scacchi attended Hollywood Senior High School,[6] and at only 17, went to UWA for a short time, primarily so that she could join the UWA Dramatic Society,[5] with whom she made her theatrical debut at UWA's New Dolphin Theatre in Edward Bond's play Early Morning.[7]


Greta Scacchi at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival

In 1977, Scacchi returned to England to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where her contemporaries included Miranda Richardson and Amanda Redman. In 1982, she made her film debut in the German movie, Das Zweite Gesicht (The Second Face), and gave versatile performances in films, such as Heat and Dust (1983), The Ebony Tower (1984), The Coca-Cola Kid (1985), White Mischief (1987), Presumed Innocent (1990), The Player (1992) and Country Life (1994). She turned down the role of Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct (1992).[8]

In 1996, she won an Emmy Award for her work as Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the television film, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and numerous other awards. In 1999, she had a role as an Italian-Australian single mother in the Australian film Looking for Alibrandi,[9] a performance for which she won the 2000 AFI award for Best Supporting Actress.[10]

In 2007, she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Broken Trail.

Scacchi is fluent in English, French, German, and Italian, which has made her a popular choice for European casting directors, and has been an asset when working for European directors and producers.

She has performed in a wide range of parts in theatre. She appeared In Times Like These (Bristol Old Vic) and Cider With Rosie (Phoenix Arts Theatre, Leicester) before her film career took off. After making four films in 15 months, she appeared with Mark Rylance and Kevin McNally in Airbase (Oxford Playhouse and Arts Theatre) in 1985. In Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, in 1987, she played opposite Michael Gambon and Jonathan Pryce. In 1991, she played Nora in Chekhov's A Doll's House in the Festival of Perth. A year later, she played the lead role in Strindberg's Miss Julie for the Sydney Theatre Company. She returned to Sydney in 1996 to play Cecilia in Sam Shepard's Simpatico In 1999, she took the lead in Easy Virtue in Chichester, directed by actress Maria Aitken.

In 2001, she was back in Sydney for Harold Pinter's Old Times, directed by Aarne Neeme, playing Kate. In 2004, she toured Italy with an Italian production Vecchi Tempi of the same play, but this time playing Anne. In 2005, she performed at the Theatre Royal, Bath, in Thea Sharrock's production of Noël Coward's Private Lives. Back in Australia in 2008, she was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Best Actress Award for playing Queen Elizabeth in Schiller's Mary Stuart in Sydney.

In that year, she also performed in Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea at the Theatre Royal, Bath, on tour and then in the West End back at the Vaudeville Theatre.

In 2010, she replaced an injured Kristin Scott Thomas in the Chatelet Theatre, Paris, in the French premiere (37 years after it was written) of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. As Desiree, she sang "Send In The Clowns".

In May 2011, she appeared alongside Anita Dobson in the play Bette and Joan at London's Arts Theatre, directed by Bill Alexander, about the personal and professional relationship between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.[11]

In September 2013, Sir Jonathan Miller directed a gala performance of William Shakespeare's King Lear at The Old Vic in London. Scacchi played Regan.[12]

In 2014, she played Arkadina in Chekov's The Seagull in Perth. In 2015, she joined the Headlong theatre company to star on a UK tour in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie as Amanda.

Between 20 August and 12 November 2016, she played Phoebe Rice opposite Kenneth Branagh's Archie Rice in a revival of John Osborne's The Entertainer at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End. The production received mixed reviews, but her performance was usually singled out for praise.

Personal life

Scacchi was in a relationship with Split Enz singer musician Tim Finn from 1983–89. She has a daughter (born 1992) with actor Vincent D'Onofrio[13][14] Scacchi also has a son (born 1998).

Scacchi applied for British citizenship after turning 18, but was turned down because her father was not a British citizen. After appealing unsuccessfully, she decided not to apply for it again, and retained her Italian citizenship.[15] In January 1995, she became an Australian citizen and has since had dual nationality.

Scacchi is an active supporter of campaigns and organisations that promote environmental causes. She has supported Greenpeace and Christian Aid's climate-change campaign.[16] In 2009, she posed nude with a codfish to promote the documentary End of the Line, a film exposing the effects of overfishing. She continues to lead the linked Fishlove campaign, which has seen a host of well known actors pose for photographs with a striking variety of fish.[17]

In October 2013, for her services to the arts, she was made a Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito, the Italian equivalent of a UK knighthood.[18]


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Bergerac - "The Hood and the Harlequin" Annie Series 1, episode 10.
1982 Das Zweite Gesicht Anna
1983 Dead on Time Pretty girl
1983 Heat and Dust Olivia Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer to Film
1984 The Ebony Tower Diana TV film
1984 Camille Marguerite TV film
1984 Waterfront Anna Cheri TV mini-series
1985 Defence of the Realm Nina Beckman
1985 Burke & Wills Julia Matthews
1985 Doctor Fischer of Geneva Anna Luise-Fischer TV film
1985 The Coca-Cola Kid Terri
1987 White Mischief Diana Lady Broughton
1987 Good Morning, Babylon Edna Bonnano
1987 A Man in Love Jane Steiner
1988 Woman in the Moon Angela
1988 Love and Fear Maria
1990 Presumed Innocent Carolyn Polhemus
1991 Shattered Judith Merrick
1992 Fires Within Isabel
1992 Salt on Our Skin George
1992 The Player June
1992 Turtle Beach Judith
1994 Country Life Deborah Voysey
1994 The Browning Version Laura Crocker-Harris
1995 Jefferson in Paris Maria Cosway
1996 Emma Mrs. Weston
1996 Così Mental patient Uncredited
1996 Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny Tsarina Alexandra TV film
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1997 The Odyssey Penelope TV film
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1997 The Serpent's Kiss Juliana
1998 Love and Rage Agnes MacDonnell
1998 The Red Violin Victoria Byrd
1998 Macbeth Lady Macbeth TV film
1999 Ladies Room Lucia
1999 Cotton Mary Lily MacIntosh
1999 Tom's Midnight Garden Aunt Gwen
1999 The Manor Mrs. Ravenscroft
1999 Looking for Alibrandi Christina Alibrandi Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Supporting Actress
2000 One of the Hollywood Ten Gale Sondergaard
2001 The Farm Liz Cooper TV film
2001 Festival in Cannes Alice Palmer
2002 Jeffrey Archer: The Truth Margaret Thatcher TV film
2002 Daniel Deronda Lydia Glasher TV serial
2003 Baltic Storm Julia Reuter
2004 Strange Crime Nicoletta
2004 Beyond the Sea Mary Duvan
2005 Flightplan Therapist
2006 Broken Trail Nola Johns 2 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2006 Marple Tuppence Beresford Episode: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
2006 The Book of Revelation Isabel
2006 Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the stories of Stephen King Dr. Katie Arlen TV mini-series- Episode-Autopsy Room Four
2007 Hidden Love Dr. Dubois
2008 Brideshead Revisited Cara
2008 Shoot on Sight Susan Ali
2008 Miss Austen Regrets Cassandra Austen TV film
2008 The Trojan Horse Helen Madigan 2 episodes
2010 Un altro mondo Cristina
2010 Way to Live Forever Private instructor
2011 Hindenburg Helen Van Zandt TV film
2013 Agatha Christie's Poirot Mrs Burton-Cox Episode: "Elephants Can Remember"
2014 The Falling Miss Mantel
2015 A.D. The Bible Continues Mother Mary 4 episodes
2016 War & Peace Countess Rostov 6 episodes
2016 La Tentazione Di Essere Felice Aurora film directed by Gianni Amelio


Year Title Role Notes
Year Title Role Notes
1987 Uncle Vanya Yelena Vaudeville Theatre, London
1991 A Doll’s House Nora Festival of Perth
1992 Miss Julie Miss Julie Sydney Theatre Company
1996 Simpatico Cecilia Sydney Theatre Company
1999 Easy Virtue Larita Chichester, England
2001 Old Times Kate Sydney Theatre Company
2004 Vecchi Tempi Anne Italian tour of Pinter play
2005 Private Lives Amanda Theatre Royal, Bath
2008 Mary Stuart Queen Elizabeth Sydney Theatre
2008 The Deep Blue Sea Hester Theatre Royal, Bath; Vaudeville, London
2010 A Little Night Music Desiree Chatelet Theatre, Paris. French premiere
2011 Bette and Joan Bette Davis Arts Theatre, London and tour
2013 King Lear Regan The Old Vic, London
2014 The Seagull Madame Arkadina Black Swan Theatre, Perth
2015 The Glass Menagerie Amanda Headlong/West Yorkshire Playhouse/Liverpool Playhouse co-production
2016 The Entertainer Phoebe Rice The Garrick Theatre, London


  1. "Greta Scacchi profile". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  2. Law, Cally; Scacchi, Greta (17 Aug 2008). "Slight mischief". The Sunday Times. p. 2.
  3. Newbigin, Nerida (4 April 2016). "Giovanni Carsaniga (1934-2016)". Australasian Centre for Italian Studies. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  4. Cornwell, Jane (22 June 2014). "Greta Scacchi: acting royalty". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  5. 1 2 "In Conversation… with Greta Scacchi". University of Western Australia. 9 November 2014.
  6. Bosworth, Michael (2000). "Hollywood Senior High School – A History" (PDF). Retrieved 6 Jan 2011.
  7. "The Octagon Takes a Bow". Uniview. 29 (1): 16–19. Summer 2010. Retrieved 6 Jan 2011.
  8. Bryce Hallett, Her world's a stage, The Sydney Morning Herald, Metropolitan, 10 February 2001, p.3
  9. "Urban Cinefile Scacchi, Greta - Looking For Alibrandi". 29 May 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  10. George, Sandy (19 November 2000). "Looking For Alibrandi finds five AFI Awards | News | Screen". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  11. "Bette & Joan". Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  12. "The Old Vic | King Lear". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  13. Macdonald, Marianne (28 September 2008). "Greta Scacchi: glad to be back". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  14. Macdonald, Marianne (28 November 1999). "'Trainspotting, I'd love to do that...'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2015. Her daughter's father is the actor Vincent D'Onofrio, with whom Scacchi had a four-year relationship that ended acrimoniously not long after the baby, Leila, was born
  15. Urban, Andrew L. "Scacchi, Greta – Looking for Alibrandi". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  16. "Greta Scacchi". Christian Aid. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  17. Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent. "Greta Scacchi revels in her happiest role yet: environmental campaigner | Environment | The Observer". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  18. Cinema: conferito a Greta Scacchi Ordine a Merito


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