Terence Hill

Terence Hill
Born Mario Girotti
(1939-03-29) 29 March 1939
Venice, Veneto, Italy
Occupation Actor
Film director
Film producer
Years active 1951present
Spouse(s) Lori Hill (1967present; two children)
Children 2
Parent(s) Girolamo Girotti
Hildegard Thieme
Website terencehill.com

Terence Hill (born Mario Girotti; 29 March 1939) is an Italian actor, film director, screenwriter and film producer.[1]

Hill is an Italian actor who began as a child actor and went on to multiple starring roles in action and other Italian films, many with longtime film partner and friend Bud Spencer. During the height of his popularity Hill was among Italy's highest-paid actors,[2] Hill's most widely seen films include comic and standard Westerns all´Italiana ("Italian style Westerns", colloquially, "spaghetti westerns"), some based on popular novels by German author Karl May about the American West.

Of these, the most famous are Lo chiamavano Trinità (They Call Me Trinity, 1971) and Il mio nome è Nessuno (My Name Is Nobody, 1973), co-starring Henry Fonda. His film Django, Prepare a Coffin, shot in 1968 by director Ferdinando Baldi, and co-starring Horst Frank and George Eastman, was featured at the 64th Venice Film Festival in 2007.

Hill, whose stage name was the product of a publicity stunt by film producers, also went on to a successful television career in Italy, including the long-running lead and title role of Don Matteo (2000-), about an inspirational parish priest who assists the Carabinieri in solving crimes local to his community, a role for which Hill received an international "Outstanding Actor of the Year" award at the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo 42e (42nd Monte Carlo Television Festival).

Early life and career

Hill was born on 29 March 1939 in Venice, Italy.[2] Hill's mother, Hildegard Girotti (née Thieme), was a German, from Dresden; his father, Girolamo Girotti, was Italian, and a chemist by occupation.[3]

Hill lived in the small town of Lommatzsch, Germany, during his childhood years, including during the end of World War II, 1943–1945, and survived the Dresden Bombing.

He was discovered by Italian filmmaker Dino Risi at a swimming meet at the age of 12, and became a child actor, appearing in Vacanze col Gangster (Holiday with the Gangster, 1951).[2] His early roles also included Gli sbandati (The Abandoned, 1955).

Career as an adult

At one time among Italy's highest-paid actors,[2] Hill's most widely seen films include comic and standard Westerns all´ Italiana ("Italian style Westerns,"[4] also known as "Spaghetti Westerns"), some based on popular novels by German author Karl May about the American West.

After 27 movies in Italy, Hill secured a major film role in Luchino Visconti's The Leopard (Il Gattopardo, 1963).

In 1964, he returned to Germany and there appeared in a series of Heimatfilmen, adventure and western films, based on novels by German author Karl May.

In 1967, he returned to Italy to act in God Forgives... I Don't!. His film Django, Prepare a Coffin was also shot in 1968, by director Ferdinando Baldi; it co-starred Horst Frank and George Eastman (and would be featured, much later, at the 64th Venice Film Festival, in 2007).[4]

Hill with Nino Frassica (right) in Don Matteo. Hill portrays Father Matteo, a Catholic priest in a parish of the town of Spoleto, who is also known for his unrivaled talent in investigating local crime stories.

Hill changed his name from Mario Girotti to Terence Hill the same year, a name made up a by the film producers; he had to choose from a list of twenty names and picked the one with his mother's initials.[5] There is a persistent romour that he took his last name, "Hill", from his wife's maiden name, but this is incorrect for it was Zwicklbauer.[5]

In the following years, he starred in many action and Spaghetti Westerns, together with longtime colleague and friend Bud Spencer.[5][6][7] The pair made a large number of Italian Westerns and other films together,[5][6] and were notable for their comedy films, successful not only in Italy, but also abroad. Many of these have alternate titles, depending upon the country and distributor. Possibly their most famous film is the 1971 western They Call Me Trinity and the 1972 sequel Trinity Is Still My Name.[5][6] Hill has stated in interviews that My Name Is Nobody (1973), in which he co-starred with Henry Fonda,[8] is his personal favorite of all his films.[8]

His first American films were Mr. Billion and March or Die (both 1977), after which he divided his time between Italy and the US.{[9]

Hill later went on to a television career in Italy; in 2000, he landed the leading role in the Italian television series Don Matteo, about a parish priest who assists the Carabinieri in solving crimes in his local community. This role earned Hill an international "Outstanding Actor of the Year" award at the 42nd Monte Carlo Television Festival, alongside ones for the series, and for producer Alessandro Jacchia at that festival.[10]

In the summer of 2010, Hill filmed another Italian television series for the Italian state television channel Rai Uno, this time entitled Un passo dal cielo (One Step from Heaven), playing a local chief of the foresters in the region of Alto Adige, with a second season filmed in 2012.

Personal life

Hill is married to Lori Hill née Zwicklbauer.[11][5] He has two sons, Jess (born 1969) and Ross (1973-1990). Ross was killed in a car accident in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in winter of 1990,[12] while Terence was preparing to film Lucky Luke (1991) on the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico.




He has directed several films as well as several television productions.[13]

See also


  1. "Terence Hill". The New York Times.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Brennan, Sandra. "Terence Hill". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  3. Wilske, Dirk (2005). "Der Italowestern - von der Gewalt zum Humor: Filmanalysen ausgewählter Beispiele". Google Books.
  4. 1 2 Paola Naldi (2007). "Il nuovo cinema cerca gloria," at La Repubblica [Bologna]. 29 August 2007. bologna.repubblica.it. Retrieved 11 May 2015. Quote: "Per il resto l´istituzione diretta da Gianluca Farinelli, impegnatissima a Bologna con la rassegna dedicata a Chaplin, sarà presente alla manifestazione semplicemente come prestatrice (attività che svolge tutto l´anno) facendo arrivare sul grande schermo veneziano due pellicole per la rassegna "Western all´Italiana": «Preparati la abara», girato nel 1968 da Ferdinando Baldi, con Terence Hill, Horst Frank, George Eastman, José Torres; «I sette del Texas», anno 1964, di Joaquin Luis Romero Marchent."
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001352/bio
  6. 1 2 3
  7. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0817881/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  8. 1 2 Canby, Vincent (18 July 1974). "Il Mio nome e Nessuno (1974) 'My Name Is Nobody,' Puts Fabled West on Film:The Cast". The New York Times.
  9. https://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Terence_Hill
  10. Jeri Jacquin (8 October 2014). patch.com "Don Matteo: Season 7 & 8 from MHz International Mystery". Imperial Beach Patch. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  11. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0384484/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
  12. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0384645/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm
  13. Database (undated). "Terence Hill". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
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