Gianni Garko

Gianni Garko (born Giovanni Garcovich 15 July 1935), often billed as John Garko and occasionally Gary Hudson, is an Italian actor who found fame as a leading man in 1960s Spaghetti Westerns. He is perhaps best known for his lead role as Sartana, starting with the first official film If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death and starring in four sequels as this character.

Gianni Garko
Graziella Granata and Gianni Garko in Don Camillo in Moscow (1965)
Born
Giovanni Garcovich

(1935-07-15) 15 July 1935
Zadar, modern-day Croatia
NationalityItalian
Other namesJohn Garko
Gary Hudson
OccupationActor
Years active1959–present
Known forSpaghetti westerns

Early life and career

Garko was born in Zadar, he moved from Zadar to Trieste, and later Rome to attend University and Drama School. His first prominent film role was a small but important part in the Oscar nominated Kapò (1959). He continued to play parts in several Italian productions including sword and sandal epics such as The Mongols (1961) and Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961). His big break came when he had a role in Il Compagno Don Camillo (1965).

Spaghetti Western era and Sartana

Garko became a star in Europe in the 1966 spaghetti western film Blood at Sundown. In this movie, he played an antagonist named El General Sartana. In 1968 he played an unrelated protagonist also named Sartana in If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death (Italian: Se incontri Sartana prega per la tua morte). The movie was an immediate box office success, and led to four official follow-up Sartana films, with Garko starring in the first three of them: I Am Sartana Your Angel of Death (Sono Sartana, il vostro becchino, 1969), Have a Good Funeral, My Friend... Sartana Will Pay (Buon funerale, amigos!... paga Sartana, 1970), and Light the Fuse... Sartana Is Coming (Una nuvola di polvere... un grido di morte... arriva Sartana, 1970). (George Hilton starred in the fourth, Sartana's Here… Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin (C'è Sartana... vendi la pistola e comprati la bara, 1970.)

Other notable westerns Garko starred in were $10,000 Blood Money (1967) as an unofficial Django, Vengeance is Mine/$100,000 for a Massacre (1967), The Price of Death (1971), They Call Him Cemetery (1971) alongside William Berger as well as a supporting role in Bad Man's River (1971) with Lee Van Cleef. During this time he achieved considerable fame in Germany, Italy, and Spain. Outside of the western genre, Garko starred in Five for Hell (1969) with frequent co-star Klaus Kinski, a small role in Waterloo (1970) as the brave and energetic French artillery commander Antoine Drouot, and The Heroes (1973), both with Rod Steiger.

Post Spaghetti Western career

Like many of his contemporaries, his star diminished as the spaghetti western genre began to decline. He was still able to get roles in several successful Giallo and horror movies, sex comedies, and Poliziotteschi movies. Among these are Cold Eyes of Fear (1971), The Night of the Devils (1972), Il Boss (1973), The Flower with the Petals of Steel (1973), Sette note in nero (1977 with Jennifer O'Neill), Joy of Flying (1977), Graf Dracula in Oberbayern (1979, a Bavarian sex comedy), Star Odyssey (1979), Encounters in the Deep (1979), Hercules (1983 with Lou Ferrigno), and Monster Shark (1984).

After appearing in Space: 1999 (1975) as Tony Cellini in the episode "Dragon's Domain", Garko concentrated more on television, theatre, and TV commercials. Although established in Europe, he remained little known in America. In an interview, Garko mentioned that he had turned down the lead role in Pretty Baby (1978) with Brooke Shields.

Selected filmography

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.