Bud Spencer

Carlo Pedersoli (31 October 1929 – 27 June 2016), known professionally as Bud Spencer, was an Italian actor, professional swimmer and water polo player. He was known for action-comedy and Spaghetti Western roles with his long-time film partner Terence Hill. The duo "garnered world acclaim and attracted millions to theater seats".[1] Spencer and Hill appeared in, produced and directed over 20 films together.

Bud Spencer
Spencer in June 2015
Carlo Pedersoli

(1929-10-31)31 October 1929
Naples, Italy
Died27 June 2016(2016-06-27) (aged 86)
Rome, Italy
Resting placeCampo Verano, Rome, Italy
Other namesBud Spencer
Alma materSapienza University of Rome
Professional swimmer
Water polo
Years active1950–2010
Height6 ft 3.5 in (192 cm)
Maria Amato (m. 19602016)
AwardsDavid di Donatello Special Award

A successful swimmer in his youth, he obtained a law degree and registered several patents. Spencer also became a certified commercial airline and helicopter pilot, and supported and funded many children's charities, including the Spencer Scholarship Fund.[2]

Early life

Son of Alessandro Pedersoli, Neapolitan of Lombard descent, and Rosa Facchetti from Chiari, Lombardy, Carlo Pedersoli was born on 31 October 1929 in Santa Lucia, a historical rione in Naples[3] and in the same building as the writer Luciano De Crescenzo. He played several sports and showed an aptitude for swimming, winning prizes. De Crescenzo was a classmate of his. In 1940, due to his father's work, he moved to Rome, where he attended high school and joined a swimming club. He finished school before his seventeenth birthday with the highest marks and enrolled at Sapienza University of Rome, where he studied chemistry. In 1947, the family moved to South America[4] and Pedersoli discontinued his studies. From 1947 to 1949, he worked in the Italian consulate in Recife, Brazil,[5] where he learned to speak fluent Portuguese.

Swimming and water polo career

Carlo Pedersoli
Carlo Pedersoli in 1950
Personal information
National team Italy
Born(1929-10-31)31 October 1929
Naples, Italy
Died27 June 2016(2016-06-27) (aged 86)
Rome, Italy
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
StrokesFreestyle, water polo
ClubSocietà Sportiva Lazio Nuoto

Pedersoli returned to Italy in 1949 to play water polo in Rome for Società Sportiva Lazio Nuoto and won the Italian swimming championships in freestyle and mixed relay teams. As a professional swimmer in his youth, Spencer was the first Italian to swim the 100 m freestyle in less than one minute when on 19 September 1950 he swam the distance in 59.5 s in Salsomaggiore.[6] In 1949 he made his international debut and a year later he was called up for the European championships in Vienna where he swam in two finals, finishing fifth in the 100 m and fourth in the relay 4 × 200 m.

In the 1951 Mediterranean Games in Alexandria (Egypt), he won a silver medal in the same 100 m freestyle event.[7][8] Pedersoli participated in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, reaching the semi-finals in the 100 m freestyle (58.8 s heats, 58.9 s semi final).[9] Four years later, in Melbourne, he also entered the semi-finals in the same category (58.5 s heat, 59.0 s semi final).[7][10]

As a water polo player, he won the Italian Championship in 1954 with S.S. Lazio[7] and the gold medal at 1955 Mediterranean Games in Barcelona with the Italian national team. His swimming career ended abruptly in 1957.[11]

On 17 January 2005, he was awarded the Caimano d'oro (Gold Caiman) by the Italian Swimming Federation.[12] On 24 January 2007, he received swimming and water polo coach diplomas from the Italian Swimming Federation's president Paolo Barelli.[13]

Acting career

Pedersoli's first film role was in Quel fantasma di mio marito, an Italian comedy short released in 1950.[14] In 1951 he played a member of the Praetorian Guard in Quo Vadis, an epic film shot in Italy made by MGM and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.[2] During the 1950s and early 1960s, Spencer appeared playing minor parts in Italian including Mario Monicelli's movie A Hero of Our Times, with Alberto Sordi and the 1954 war film Human Torpedoes with Raf Vallone.

In 1960, after the Summer Olympic games, Pedersoli married Maria Amato, daughter of Italian film producer Giuseppe Amato.[15] He signed a contract with RCA Records to write lyrics for singers such as Ornella Vanoni and Nico Fidenco and soundtracks. In the following years, his son Giuseppe was born (1961), followed by Cristiana (1962), his contract with RCA expired and his father-in-law died (1964). Pedersoli became a producer of documentaries for the national public broadcasting company RAI.[16]

Partnership with Terence Hill

In 1967, film director Giuseppe Colizzi offered him a role in God Forgives... I Don't!. On the set Pedersoli met Mario Girotti (Terence Hill). Although Pedersoli had met Girotti before on the set of Hannibal in 1959, this was the moment they went on to become a film duo. The film director asked the two actors to change their names, deeming them to be too Italian-sounding for a Western movie: Pedersoli chose Bud Spencer, with Bud inspired by Budweiser beer and Spencer by the actor Spencer Tracy.[17]

While Hill's characters were agile and youthful, Spencer always played the "phlegmatic, grumpy strong-arm man with a blessed, naive child's laughter and a golden heart".[18] Overall, Hill and Spencer worked together on over 20 films, including (named using their most common U.S. titles) God Forgives... I Don't! (1967), Ace High (1968), Boot Hill (1969), They Call Me Trinity (1970), Trinity Is Still My Name (1971), All the Way, Boys (1972), Watch Out, We're Mad (1974), Two Missionaries (1974), Crime Busters (1977), Odds and Evens (1978), I'm For the Hippopotamus (1979), Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure (1981), Go For It! (1983), Double Trouble (1984), Miami Supercops (1985) and Troublemakers (1994). Films with Spencer alone include The Five Man Army (1969), Even Angels Eat Beans (1973), The Fifth Day of Peace (1970), It Can Be Done Amigo (1972), Flatfoot (1973), They Call Him Bulldozer (1978), The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid (1979), Everything Happens to Me (1980), Banana Joe (1982), Bomber (1982) and Superfantagenio (1986).

Many of these have alternative titles, depending upon the country and distributor. Some have longer Italian versions that were edited for their release abroad. These films gathered popularity for both actors, especially throughout much of Europe and parts of Asia and South America.[2] Because of the duo's huge popularity, many producers wanted to exploit their likeness with visually similar duos. Most notable were Paul L. Smith (adopted name Adam Eden in later years, sometimes credited Anam Eden) and Michael Coby (real name Antonio Cantafora) with at least 6 movies in Bud & Terence-fashion from 1973 to 1977, and István Bujtor with 6 movies in Piedone-fashion from 1981 to 2008.

In the Italian versions of his films, Spencer was generally dubbed by actor Glauco Onorato due to his thick Naples accent,[19] although he was voiced by Sergio Fiorentini in Troublemakers, To the Limit (1997) and the Extralarge series (1991–93).[20][21] For English dubs, Spencer was usually voiced by Robert Sommer, Edward Mannix or Richard McNamara, although he occasionally provided his own voice.[22][23]

Spencer wrote the complete or partial screenplay for some of his movies. His feature film career slowed down after 1983, shifting more toward television. In the 1990s, he acted in the television action-drama Extralarge. His autobiography was published in 2011. In addition, Spencer also published a recipe book including his favorite dishes.[24]

In 2018 the co-operative beat'em up videogame Bud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps and Beans was released.[25][26]

Political career

In 2005, he entered politics, unsuccessfully standing as regional councilor in Lazio for the Forza Italia party. Spencer stated: "In my life, I've done everything. There are only three things I haven't been – a ballet dancer, a jockey and a politician. Given that the first two jobs are out of the question, I'll throw myself into politics."[2] The opposition criticized him for engaging in "politica spettacolo" ("showbiz politics").[2]

Personal life

Spencer married Maria Amato in 1960, with whom he had three children: Giuseppe (1961), Cristiana (1962) and Diamante (1972). After appearing in Più forte, ragazzi!, Spencer became a jet airplane and helicopter pilot.[2] He founded Mistral Air in 1984, an air-mail company that also transports pilgrims, but later sold it to Poste Italiane.[27] Spencer's grandson, Carlo Pedersoli, Jr., is a mixed martial arts fighter currently signed the Ultimate Fighting Championship.[28]


Spencer died at 86 years of age on 27 June 2016 in Rome.[29] As son Giuseppe Pedersoli stated, his father "died without pain in presence of his family, and his last word was 'grazie'".[30][31][17][32]

In Hungary, where his films were hugely popular during the communist regime, a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of Spencer created by sculptor Szandra Tasnádi was unveiled on 11 November 2017 in downtown Budapest, with Spencer's daughter Cristiana in attendance.[33] The statue's pedestal bears the inscription "Mi sohasem veszekedtünk" ("We Never Fought"), a quote from Terence Hill's eulogy referring to their long-lasting friend- and partnership.[34]

Spencer posthumously received the America Award in 2018 from the Italy-USA Foundation.[35]


Title English Title Date Role
Quel fantasma di mio marito1950Swimmer
Quo Vadis (as Carlo Pedersoli)1951Imperial Guard
Siluri umani (as Carlo Pederzoli)Human Torpedoes1954Magrini
Un Eroe dei nostri tempi (as Carlo Pedersoli)A Hero of Our Times1955Fernando
Il Cocco di Mamma (as Carlo Pedersoli)Mamma's Boy1957Oscar
A Farewell to Arms (as Carlo Pedersoli)1957Carabiniere
Annibale (as Carlo Pedersoli)Hannibal1960
Dio perdona... io no!God Forgives... I Don't!1967Hutch Bessy
Oggi a me... domani a teToday We Kill, Tomorrow We Die1968O'Bannion
Al di là della leggeBeyond the Law1968James Cooper
I quattro dell'Ave MariaAce High1968Hutch Bessy
Gott mit uns (Dio è con noi)The Fifth Day of Peace1969Cpl. Jelinek
Un esercito di 5 uominiThe Five Man Army1969Mesito
La collina degli stivaliBoot Hill1969Hutch Bessy
Lo chiamavano Trinità...They Call Me Trinity1970Bambino
Il corsaro neroBlackie the Pirate1971Skull
...continuavano a chiamarlo TrinitàTrinity Is Still My Name1971Bambino
4 mosche di velluto grigioFour Flies on Grey Velvet1971Godfrey "God"
Torino neraBlack Turin1972Rosario Rao
...più forte ragazzi!All the Way Boys1972Salud
Si può fare... amigoIt Can Be Done Amigo1972Hiram Coburn
Una ragione per vivere e una per morireA Reason to Live, a Reason to Die1972Eli Sampson
Anche gli angeli mangiano fagioliEven Angels Eat Beans1973Charlie Smith
Piedone lo sbirroFlatfoot1973Inspector "Flatfoot" Rizzo
Porgi l'altra guanciaTwo Missionaries1974Father/Padre Pedro
...altrimenti ci arrabbiamo!Watch Out, We're Mad1974Ben
Piedone a Hong KongFlatfoot in Hong Kong1975Inspector "Flatfoot" Rizzo
Il soldato di venturaSoldier of Fortune1976Hector Fieramosca
I due superpiedi quasi piattiCrime Busters1977Wilbur Walsh
Piedone l'africanoFlatfoot in Africa aka The Knock-Out Cop1978Inspector "Flatfoot" Rizzo
Lo chiamavano BulldozerThey Called Him Bulldozer1978Bulldozer
Pari e dispariOdds and Evens1978Charlie Firpo
Uno sceriffo extraterrestre... poco extra e molto terrestreThe Sheriff and the Satellite Kid1979Sceriffo Scott (Sheriff Hall)
Piedone d'EgittoFlatfoot in Egypt1979Inspector 'Flatfoot' Rizzo
Io sto con gli ippopotamiI'm for the Hippopotamus1979Tom
Chissà perché... capitano tutte a meEverything Happens to Me1980Sheriff Hall
Occhio alla pennaBuddy Goes West1981Buddy
Chi trova un amico trova un tesoroWho Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure1981Charlie O'Brien
Cane e gattoCat and Dog1982Sergeant Parker
Banana Joe1982Banana Joe
Bomber1982Bud Graziano
Nati con la camiciaGo for It1983Doug O'Riordan alias Mason
Double Trouble (Italian title: Non c'è due senza quattro)1984Greg Wonder/Antonio Coimbra de la Coronilla y Azevedo
Miami Supercops (I poliziotti dell'8ª strada)Miami Supercops1985Steve Forest
Big Man (TV Series)1988–1989Jack Clementi
Detective Extralarge (TV Series)1990–1993Jack "Extralarge" Costello
Un piede in paradisoStanding in Paradise aka Speaking of the Devil1991John "Bull" Webster
Botte di NataleThe Fight Before Christmas aka Troublemakers1994Moses
Noi siamo angeli (Mini TV Series)We Are Angels1997Orso
Fuochi d'artificioFireworks1997The blind singer
Al limiteTo the Limit1997Elorza
Hijos del vientoSons of the Wind1999Quintero
Tre per sempre3–4 Ever2002Bops
Cantando dietro i paraventiSinging Behind Screens2003Il vecchio capitano
Padre Speranza (TV)Father Hope2005Padre Speranza
Mord ist mein Geschäft, LieblingMurder Is My Business, Honey2009Pepe
I delitti del cuoco (TV Series)2010Carlo Banci


  • Banana Joe (1982, credited as Carlo Pedersoli)[36]
  • Big Man (credited as Carlo Pedersoli)
    • La Fanciulla che ride (1988) (TV)
    • Diva (1989) (TV)
    • Boomerang (1989) (TV)
  • Extralarge (credited as Carlo Pedersoli)
    • Ninja Shadow (1993) (TV)
    • Diamonds (1993) (TV)


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  2. Bud Spencer on imdb.com
  3. Ilaria Galateria (16 April 2015). "Pronto, parlo con Bud Spencer?" (in Italian).
  4. "Carlo Pedersoli: Cartão de imigração". familysearch.org (in Portuguese).
  5. Edgar Welzel (21 June 2012). "Meu encontro com Bud Spencer". revistabula.com (in Portuguese). Bula Revista.
  6. "Italian swimming records". agendadiana.com. Archived from the original on 18 March 2007.
  7. Carlo Pedersoli. 1980 Passport
  8. Mediterranean Games, 1951. agendadiana.com
  9. Helsinki 1952 official report Archived 11 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine. la84foundation.org.
  10. Melbourne 1956 official report Archived 12 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine. la84foundation.org.
  11. Bud Spencer: Biography, citation: "Ein Jahr nach seinen zweiten olympischen Spielen beendet Carlo plötzlich seine Schwimmerkarriere (...)"
  12. Fomiconi e Pedersoli Caimano d'Oro. federnuoto.it (17 January 2005) (in Italian)
  13. Coach Spencer Le foto più belle. federnuoto.it (30 January 2007) (in Italian)
  14. "Quel fantasma di mio marito (1950) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb".
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  17. "Italian actor Bud Spencer dies at 86". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  18. Translated from German: pflegmatischen, bärbeißigen Haudrauf mit dem selig-naiven Kinderlächeln und dem goldenen Herzen Tagesspiegel
  19. Andrea Francesco Berni (31 December 2009). "E' morto Glauco Onorato, voce di Bud Spencer". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  20. "IL MONDO DEI DOPPIATORI - La pagina di SERGIO FIORENTINI". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  21. "IL MONDO DEI DOPPIATORI - La pagina di FERRUCCIO AMENDOLA". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  22. "Full text of "Video.Watchdog.159.November.December.2010"". Archive.org. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  23. "Bud Spencer". Bud Spencer/Terence Hill Database. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  24. "BUD SPENCER". Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  25. McFerran, Damien (25 July 2018). "Bud Spencer & Terence Hill Arrive On Switch With Slaps And Beans In Tow". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  26. Lopes, Gonçalo (30 July 2018). "Bud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps and Beans Review (Switch eShop)". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  27. "Mistral Air - ERA". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  28. "UFC Signs Italian Welterweight Carlo Pedersoli Jr. to Face Bradley Scott at UFC Liverpool". Sherdog.com. 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
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  32. "Actor Bud Spencer Dies at 86". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  33. "Statue of actor Bud Spencer unveiled in Budapest". Independent. 12 November 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  34. "Statue of Actor Bud Spencer Unveiled in Budapest". Hungary Today. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  35. "Fondazione Italia Usa, ecco i vincitori del Premio America". Gente D'Italia. 23 September 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  36. "Banana Joe (1982)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
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