Cesare Danova

Cesare Danova (March 1, 1926 – March 19, 1992) was an Italian-American television and screen actor.

Cesare Danova
Cesare Danova in a trailer for "Chamber of Horrors" (1966)
Cesare Deitinger

(1926-03-01)1 March 1926
Rome, Italy
Died19 March 1992(1992-03-19) (aged 66)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeValley Oaks Memorial Park, Westlake Village, California
Years active1947–1992
Spouse(s)Pamela Matthews (1955–1963) (divorced) 2 children
Patricia Chandler (1977–1992) (his death)

Life and career

Born as Cesare Deitinger in Rome,[note 1][1] Italy to an Austrian father[note 2][2] and an Italian mother; he adopted Danova as his stage name after becoming an actor in Rome at the end of World War II. After the film Don Juan (1955) he immigrated to the United States. He was contracted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1956.[3]

His appearances include The Man Who Understood Women (1959). He tested for a part in Ben Hur, but his big break was the role of Apollodorus, Cleopatra's personal servant, in the 1963 film Cleopatra, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison. The original script called for a major role for Danova, who was to form a trio of Cleopatra's lovers alongside Harrison's Caesar and Burton's Marc Antony. Though a number of scenes featuring Taylor and Danova were shot, the script was revised and the role truncated as the Burton-Taylor affair made tabloid headlines. The following year Danova starred as Count Elmo Mancini in Viva Las Vegas as Elvis Presley's rival for both Ann-Margret and the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

In 1967, Danova played the role of Actor in the TV series Garrison's Gorillas.[4] The series only ran for 26 episodes. Two of his best roles were as the neighborhood mafia Don, Giovanni Cappa, in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973) and as the corrupt mayor of Faber, Carmine DePasto, in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978). He appeared in three episodes of The Rifleman, and regularly appeared as a guest star on numerous television series, including Honey West, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Daniel Boone, Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Sanford and Son, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, Airwolf, Hunter, Maude, Mannix, Night Gallery, Falcon Crest, Hart to Hart, Mission: Impossible (1988–90), and his final television appearance in 1992 as Father DiMarco on In the Heat of the Night.


Danova died of a heart attack on March 19, 1992, aged 66,[5] at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters in Los Angeles while attending a meeting of the Foreign Language Film committee.[note 3][1]


Danova was married twice and had two sons, Marco and Fabrizio, by his first wife, Pamela.

Selected filmography


  1. Danova's obituary in the Los Angeles Times notes he was born in Rome.
  2. The book Italian Americans: The History and Culture of a People says that his father was Australian.
  3. Danova's obituary in the Los Angeles Times says, "Danova died Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center ..."


  1. "Cesare Danova; Performed in 300 Movies". Los Angeles Times. March 21, 1992. Archived from the original on 12 July 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  2. Martone, Eric (2016). Italian Americans: The History and Culture of a People. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610699952. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  3. Cesare Danova profile at TCM.com
  4. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 379. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  5. Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 210. ISBN 9780786450190. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
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