January 3, 1929
April 30, 1989
As the son of a film-industry pioneer, Leone entered Italian films at 18 and worked for years as an assistant to Italian directors as well as American directors.
Towards the end of the 1950s he started writing screenplays, and began directing after taking over The Last Days of Pompeii (1959) in mid-shoot after its original director fell ill. He chose The Colossus of Rhodes (1961) for his directing debut.
In 1964 Ennio single-handedly invented the "spaghetti Western" with A Fistful of Dollars his remake of Yojimbo starring Clint Eastwood. His next two films - For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - completed "The Dollars Trilogy", with each film being more financially successful than its predecessor. All three films featured remarkable scores by the Italian composer Ennio Morricone.
Finally, Leone in 1984 created his last masterpiece, Once Upon a Time in America. The film is nearly four hours long, and was badly butchered for American release.
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