Agostina Belli (art name of Agostina Maria Magnoni), was born on March 13th 1947 in Milan. At the age of thirteen she lived the separation of her parents, Domenico Magnoni, a craftsman, and Adele Margherita Dossena, a small entrepreneur. Mariuccia, as her relatives affectionately call her, responsibly chooses to go and live with her elderly father, in the Giambellino district, and look after him. To maintain herself, she works as an accounting secretary at the department stores "La Rinascente", in Piazza del Duomo in Milan, together with Mariangela Melato, who instead acts as a window dresser.
Her dream since childhood is cinema. The occasion arrives by chance, when, at eighteen, she reads about a magazine ("Ciao amici"), that the director Carlo Lizzani is looking for new faces for his next film. She presented herself to the selections without a real photo book, but only with a photo taken of the automatic-machines: the assistant director of Lizzani, Giorgio Gentili, burst out laughing, but realizing the singular charm of the girl, she had her portrayed in some professional photos to take to the director in Turin, place of filming. Arrived at Parco Sempione accompanied by a crowd of relatives, she presented herself to Lizzani: 1.63 cm, blue eyes, red hair, sweet face and a charming smile: the filmmaker was struck by her; even more when she sees her play the hostage girl of Gian Maria Volontè in his film Banditi a Milano (1968).
Encouraged by this first exciting experience, the actress decides to quit her job at La Rinascente and move to Rome, with the incredible condition of her father, contrary to her vocation, to achieve success within six months of arriving at the capital. With a suitcase of clothes, three hundred thousand lire in her pocket, and Lizzani's recommendation, she introduces herself to the show agent Robi Ceccacci, who immediately finds her a part as girlfriend of Paolo Villaggio in the comedy Il terribile ispettore (1969) by Mario Amendola, a film that also represents the cinematographic baptism for the famous Genoese comedian. A few months later, she interpreted the biographical film on the composer Franz Schubert Angeli senza paradiso, by Ettore Maria Fizzarotti, with Al Bano. After filming and back in Milan, while leaving a perfumery, a car test driver loses control of the vehicle and overwhelms it, fracturing a femur. The press seizes the opportunity to embroider an attempted suicide around it, describing it unlikely as the desperate gesture of falling in love with Al Bano.
On February 17, 1970, a blood affair took place which marked her existence. Her 55-year-old mother was struck with a knife, hit by an unknown hand, in her pension in Via Copernico, near the Central Station in Milan. Agostina does not surrender to inconclusive police investigations and hires a private investigator. A few weeks later they poison the dog, suffer the car theft and receive death threats in the office. Finally, on the advice of a police officer, though reluctantly, she decides to desist from research.
The following year she began to get noticed in various genres, from the comedy Ma che musica maestro! (1971) by Mariano Laurenti, to the thrilling Giornata nera per l'ariete (1971) by Luigi Bazzoni. In 1972 her career took off in all respects: she took part in seven films, including: Luciano Fulci's All'onorevole pacciono le donne... (1972), where she played a small part with Lando Buzzanca and Laura Antonelli - actress who played press poses them as a sort of rival -, Bluebeard (1972) by Edward Dmytryk, together with Richard Burton - a film which, however, is not successful -, La calandria (1972) by Pasquale Festa Campanile, La notte dei diavoli (1972) by Giorgio Ferroni and Mimì Metallurgico ferito nell'onore (1972) by Lina Wertmüller, where she re-meets with extreme surprise the former colleague of the Rinascente, Mariangela Melato, as an actress. The experience with the Roman director, though gratifying, is however very hard: on the set she is addressed with strong words that cause her frequent crying spells.
In the meantime, she decides to round up the not-too-satisfying earnings with advertising: she sponsors the Philips cassette players (wearing hippie make-up, with braids and a band on the forehead) and San Benedetto orange juice (wearing a blonde wig that makes her almost unrecognizable). And so, with the first gains, she buys a Cinquencento, with which she commutes between Rome and Milan.
In 1973 she interprets the detective stories Baciamo le mani by Vittorio Schiraldi, Revolver by Sergio Sollima and, finally as the absolute protagonist, the erotic drama Quando l'amore è sensualità by Vittorio De Sisti.
The same year, Aldo Lado directs her in Sepolta viva. On the set, however, something goes wrong: she have to shoot a sequence in a room that needs to be filled with water and the actress, seized by panic, risks drowning because, absurdly, her cries for help are mistaken for jokes of the film. The male protagonist, the Norwegian actor Fred Robsahm, brother of Margaretha Robsham, Ugo Tognazzi's first wife and his companion for two years, guesses the danger and saves her, as well as an experienced diver and an expert navigator. Having escaped the danger and completed the filming, the film is released in theaters with great success.
In November of the same year, after a trip to Spain to get to know her mate's mother, the actress felt the sudden need to marry and so she organized a wedding in a London town hall, asking for a loan for the long dress and shoes to an English friend. The Italian press is unable to unravel the mystery of this flash wedding and thus even comes to the hypothesis that this marriage has never actually happened. Their story, however, will last 15 years; they will also look for a son, but he will not come. Meanwhile, the couple takes up residence in Rome, on a farm located on the Via Flaminia.
The following film gets more revenue than all the previous ones and is the "tear-movie" L’ultima neve di primavera (1973) by Raimondo Del Balzo. In 1974 she became famous to the general public and obtained the "Maschera d'Argento" and the "Grolla d'Oro", interpreting the character of Sara in the film by Dino Risi, a Oscar nomination for best foreign film, Profumo di donna, at alongside Vittorio Gassman; the actress, however, will not keep a good memory of the well-known film performer, describing it as aggressive and even bad.
Meanwhile she consecrates herself as a sex symbol, posing naked on the covers of the Italian editions of "Playboy" (in a 1972 and March 1976 issue), and then thanks to some particularly hot interpretations, including those in film Virilità (1974) by Paolo Cavara, Il piatto piange (1974) by Paolo Nuzzi - for which she received the “Globo D'oro” award -, Le jeu avec le feu (1975) by Alain Robbe-Grillet, Conviene far bene l’amore (1975) by Pasquale Festa Campanile, and again directed by De Sisti, in Sensualità (1976).
In 1976 she still works for Risi, in Telefoni bianchi, a film that the actress will consider the best of her career and earns her the "David di Donatello" ambit. The success of Risi's film also opens the doors of French cinema, thanks to which it will refine its idiom. Duet with Yves Montand in Claude Pinoteau's Le grand escogriffe (1976) and with Philippe Noiret in Un taxi mauve (1977) by Yves Boisset. During the shooting of the latter, she risks her health again due to a strong peritonitis with a perforated appendix: hospitalized urgently but in great secrecy, she resigns prematurely, and with seven pounds less and flaky, returns to the set, but without uttering a word with anyone about what happened for fear of being replaced and having to give up the compensation, with which she would have paid some installments of the house.
In the same period she also worked alongside Mastroianni in Doppio delitto (1977) by Steno and Kirk Douglas (an actor idolized by her father) in Holocaust 2000 (1977) by Alberto De Martino. Even with the American actor the reports are not easy: Douglas immediately gets angry when he finds out that the actress does not speak a word of English and that her lines are all in Italian and in a fit of anger he takes them at kick her caravan. Finally, she forces her to learn the language during filming, then remedying the film with an apology letter.
At the end of the decade, cinema opportunities for the actress are becoming less and less attractive. She takes part in some obscure films like Manaos (1979) by Alberto Vázquez Figueroa, a film that gathers other stars in the shade like Fabio Testi and Florinda Bolkan and which is influenced by the influences of the Cannibal-movies of the period, and Enfantasme (1978) by Sergio Gobbi, a ghost-movie of contradictory evaluation.
In the eighties her career, like that of almost all the Italian stars of the period, suffered an arrest due to the inexorable decline of Italian film production. She participates in some French productions before turning her art to the small screen, but above all she is the protagonist of the delightful Italian comedy Vai avanti tu che mi vien da ridere (1982), by Giorgio Capitani, director who discovers in her some excellent and unexpected comic times, alongside the genre performer, Lino Banfi.
In 1984 she participated in the film with Mario Merola Torna (1984), by Stelvio Massi. At the end of the year, still directed by Capitani, she appears in prime time on Raidue in a variety of eight episodes entitled Vanità (broadcast from 2/12/84 to 20/1/85), where she dances, sings and makes some comedy sketches together with Lando Buzzanca, Massimo Ranieri and Mino Bellei. A recording project is also announced, with a song written for her by Cristiano Malgioglio and entitled I love you with all my skin, but intentions will not follow the facts.
In July 1986 the life of the 39-year-old companion, and also her own, tragically change. On the yacht "Franco Cacciatore", anchored in the Fiumicino dock, 15 quintals of hasish are found, for a retail value of 20 billion lire. About twenty people are involved, including the owner and Robsahm himself. The story turns into a stalemate for the former actor, perhaps also thanks to the benevolent influence of her companion and the pressures of her heartfelt appeals, which also appeared in the magazine "Oggi" (n. 39 of 9/24/86) . But for a year Robsahm remains in jail and from an infected syringe, contracts AIDS. Their life as a couple thus takes an unexpected turn, which will shortly lead them to separate.
At this time, the actress began to cultivate an interest in spiritualism, the supernatural, parapsychology, also performing experiments in the field of paranormal phenomena in the field of electronic voices.
In 1987 she participates in the film of complaint, by Marco Risi, Soldati 365 all'alba, in which she draws with particular skill the difficult role of the wife of a psychotic officer played by Massimo Dapporto in a state of grace.
Since 1990, she has been traveling around the world for three years, from Puerto Rico to the Ivory Coast, from the Tunisian desert to the Caribbean seas, to shoot an international production of twelve 1-hour films for TV, once again for the direction of Captains, entitled L'agence (The agency). First broadcast on Channel 5, they are then diverted to Italia 7. The mini-series La voce del cuore (1995) by Lodovico Gasparini, still broadcast by Canale 5, where she joins Gianni Morandi and Mara Venier, has more luck.
She worked steadily until 1996, the year in which she took part in Fabrizio De Angelis's Favola, a TV movie of little success, built ad-hoc for the popular host Ambra Angiolini and of which she was not particularly proud.
In 2006, after a period of absence from the scenes that lasted 10 years, also due to some health problems, she returned to the cinema in the movie Uno su due by Eugenio Cappuccio, followed by the film TV I giorni perduti by Bruno Gaburro, a fundamentally beneficial realization for the fight against youth alcoholism. The reality show "The farm" is also proposed, but she prefers to decline the offer. The same year, the ex-partner, who is tired, worn out and in a severe economic crisis, returns alive with the intention of selling a house he bought some time ago with his wife. Will be missing on March 29, 2015.
In the 2007 she appears in the Norwegian documentary on Robsahm Natural Born Star, directed by Even Benestad and presented at the second edition of "Cinema. International Day of Rome 2007 "in the "Extra" section. Her latest film is the following: Amore che vieni, amore che vai (2008) by Daniele Costantini, a film adaptation of a novel written by Fabrizio De Andrè.
Throughout her career she has received many other awards, including the "Sagittario d’Oro" (1980) - an international award for popularity - the "Premio De Curtis" (1986) and the "European Personality Award" (1987).
She currently lives on the shores of Lake Bracciano. In private life she loves riding, contact with nature, the cultivation of olive trees and her lands, working on board her Ferrari tractor.
This biography is the result of personal research as the summary of many sources, newspaper articles, interviews, quotes and cross-references.
- Ma che musica maestro .... Giulietta Ciova
- La notte dei diavoli .... Sdenka
- Revolver .... Anna Cipriani
- Sepolta viva .... Christine
- Vai avanti tu che mi vien da ridere .... Andrea Maria Ritter
- Soldati 365 all'alba .... Anna