Terence Hill

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

Terence Hill
Terence Hill in Django, Prepare a Coffin (1968)
Mario Girotti

(1939-03-29) 29 March 1939
Venice, Veneto, Italy
OccupationActor, film director, screenwriter, film producer
Years active1951-present
Spouse(s)Lori Hill (1967–present; two children)
ChildrenJess Hill (1969)
Ross Hill (adoptive; 1973–1990)
  • Girolamo Girotti
  • Hildegard Thieme

Hill started his career as a child actor and went on to multiple starring roles in action and comedy 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 called "Spaghetti Westerns"), some based on popular novels by German author Karl May about the American frontier.

Of these, the most famous are Lo chiamavano Trinità (They Call Me Trinity, 1970) 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.

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]

During his childhood, Hill lived in the small town of Lommatzsch, Germany. He was there through the end of World War II (1943–1945) and survived the Bombing of Dresden.[4]

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 (Vacation with a 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] 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 Heimatfilme, adventure and western films, based on novels by German author Karl May.[5]

In 1967, he returned to Italy to act alongside Bud Spencer (then known as Carlo Pedersoli) in Giuseppe Colizzi's Spaghetti Western God Forgives... I Don't!. The first film of the "Cat Stevens and Hutch Bessy" trilogy, it was followed by Ace High and Boot Hill. His film Django, Prepare a Coffin was 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).[6] For these films, the actor adopted the stage name Terence Hill, a name made up by the film producers; he had to choose from a list of twenty names and picked the one with his mother's initials. There is a persistent rumor that he took his last name, "Hill", from his wife's maiden name, but this is incorrect, for it was Zwicklbauer.

By this time, Hill had formed a friendship with Spencer, and the pair made a large number of films together. Their Western, action and comedy films were 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. Hill has stated in interviews that My Name Is Nobody (1973), in which he co-starred with Henry Fonda,[7] is his personal favorite of all his films.[7] His first American film roles were in Mr. Billion and March or Die (both 1977), after which he divided his time between Italy and the United States.[8]

Despite being fluent in Italian and English, Hill was usually dubbed by other actors in both languages. In the Italian versions of his films, his voice was provided by a variety of actors until the late 1960s, where he was primarily dubbed by Sergio Graziani; from 1970 to 1983, Hill was voiced by Pino Locchi, and by Michele Gammino from 1983 to 1996. For English dubs, Hill was dubbed by Lloyd Battista in six films, including the "Cat Stevens and Hutch Bessy" trilogy, while Roger Browne dubbed him in most of his early 1970s films (They Call Me Trinity to A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe); from Mr. Billion onward, Hill dubbed his own English voice.[9][10]


Hill later went on to a television career in Italy; in 2000, he landed the leading role in the Italian television series Don Matteo (2000–), about an inspirational parish priest who assists the Carabinieri in solving crimes local to his 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.[11]

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 state foresters in the region of Alto Adige, with a second season filmed in 2012.

On 19 April 2018 he directed My Name Is Thomas.[12] The same year it was released the co-operative beat'em up videogame Bud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps and Beans.[13][14]

Personal life

Hill is married to Lori Hill (née Zwicklbauer). He has two sons, Jess (born 1969) and Ross (born 1973 died 1990). Ross was killed in a car accident in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in the winter of 1990, 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:

See also


  1. "Terence Hill". The New York Times.
  2. 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. Badtke, Thomas (11 April 2012). "Terence Hill - exklusiv und beeindruckend". N-TV.de. Retrieved 24 January 2017.(German)
  5. "Old Surehand (1965)". IMDb. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  6. 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."
  7. 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.
  8. https://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Terence_Hill
  9. Battista, Lloyd, Anthony, Tony. Get Mean (Blu-ray). Blue Underground. Event occurs at 19:00.
  10. "Terence Hill". Bud Spencer/Terence Hill Database. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  11. Jeri Jacquin (8 October 2014). patch.com "Don Matteo: Season 7 & 8 from MHz International Mystery". Imperial Beach Patch. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  12. "'Il mio nome è Thomas': Terence Hill torna al cinema, un cowboy on the road". La Repubblica (in Italian). GEDI Gruppo Editoriale S.p.A. 17 March 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  13. 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.
  14. Lopes, Gonçalo (30 July 2018). "Bud Spencer & Terence Hill - Slaps and Beans Review (Switch eShop)". Nintendo Life. Gamer Network. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
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