Terence Hill – What Actually Became of The Cult Actor?

From the 1980s onwards, Terence Hill fought his way through numerous unforgettable spaghetti westerns alongside Bud Spencer. The former supe...

From the 1980s onwards, Terence Hill fought his way through numerous unforgettable spaghetti westerns alongside Bud Spencer. The former superstar with the loose mouth and ice-blue eyes is still active in the film business today, at over 80 years of age.

Terence Hill: the moving vita of the German-Italian

Today everyone knows that Terence Hill and film buddy Bud Spencer were or are not Americans, but Italians.

Terence Hill was born Mario Girotti in Venice in 1939.

Mario Girotti grew up near Dresden in the 1940s. He and his family survived the Allied bombing unscathed. Immediately after the war, the family left Germany and settled back in Italy.

Mario Girotti's father came from Umbria and his mother Hildegard Thieme from Lommatzsch near Dresden. After the war, Mario finished school in Italy, was a competitive swimmer, and studied literature for a few semesters.

It was at the Lazio swimming club that he first met a young man with whom he would later go down in film history: Carlo Pedersoli (aka Bud Spencer, died 2016).

By the way, Mario Girotti, aka Terence Hill, still speaks fluent German to this day and also describes the language as his mother tongue. He only learned Italian after his family returned to Italy.

First small roles in Italy

The director Dino Risi (later world-famous for "The Scent of Women" with Al Pacino) was looking for well-built young men in swimming clubs - and met the then 12-year-old Mario Girotti. The sunny boy promptly landed a role in Risi's early work Vacanze col gangster (Holidays with Gangsters).

He played other supporting roles and even attended drama school in Rome for three years. With the income, Mario Girotti financed his literature studies and a long-awaited motorcycle of his own. At the time, he had not yet thought of a career in film.

In 1959 Mario Girotti got a guest role in the sandal film "Hannibal". What an irony of fate that Headhunters hired another handsome swimmer from Mario's team for the film: Carlo Pedersoli also had a short part in the heroic epic about the Carthaginian, who crossed the Alps with elephants. However, Mario and Carlo's sets were so far apart that they didn't meet during filming.

Career boost through the German Karl May films

The German filmmaker Horst Wendlandt brought the young Mario Girotti back to his old homeland Germany for the first time for his thriller “The Leopard”.

Immediately afterward, the mimes went on in quick succession. Wendlandt directed the Karl May film Winnetou II (1964) and it starred Mario Girotti as a lieutenant in the Confederate Army.

The films hit like a bomb and the German film audience wanted more.

Mario Girotti swam on a wave of happiness and was able to shoot several other successful westerns with Pierre Brice (Winnetou) and Lex Barker (Old Shatterhand):

  • "Among Vultures" (1964)

  • "The Oil Prince" (1965)

  • Old Surehand Part 1 (1965).

Although it was already clear at the time that the beau with the bright blue eyes would fit perfectly into the Western genre, Mario also appeared in other German productions:

In addition to the Western "Duel before Sunset" (1965), he was in the agent thriller "Shots in 3/4 Time" (1965), the Heimatfilm "Call of the Woods" (1965), and the romantic drama "Die Nibelungen" (1966). see.

After this shooting marathon in Germany, young Mario returned to Italy. But instead of resuming his studies, more and more filming offers to keep coming his way.

The heyday of spaghetti westerns began and Mario Girotti got the first leading role. With the western parody "Blue Beans for a Hallelujah" (1967), he switched to comics for the first time. The film is more of a pastiche with singing and dancing.

The great film career as Terence Hill

For the young actor (Mario Girotti was 28 years old) things continued to be great.

With "God forgives... Django never!" (1967) he filmed his first and last brutal western. Mario landed the role by accident. The actual leading actor, Peter Martell, was out due to an accident. The producers were looking for an adequate replacement under time pressure - and found Mario Girotti! It was in this film that Mario finally met Carlo Pedersoli again.

The strip celebrated international success and the charismatic duo Girotti and Pedersoli delighted audiences worldwide.

The international film distributors insisted on Americanized names of the duo Mario Girotti and Carlo Pedersoli. So they were given a list of American-sounding names and everyone was asked to pick one.

Carlo flouted the list and made the name Bud Spencer out of Budweiser (his favorite beer) and Spencer Tracy (his acting role model).

Mario chose Terence Hill because he liked the name and it contained his mother's initials, Hildegard Thieme.

With that, the legendary film duo Bud Spencer and Terence Hill was born!

Together with Bud Spencer: It's better to have fun than ice-cold violence

Although the brutal Western "God forgives... Django never!" received a lot of attention, it was important to both actors not to be reduced to brutal flicks.

That went down well and the makers of the spaghetti westerns already had a different concept ready for the two of them. Even "Four for an Ave Maria" (1968) was more family-friendly thanks to the loose slogans and was even significantly more successful than the previous film.

For the two of them, it should be even more slapstick and even more successful. "Two of the monkey bitten" (1969) and "Two hau'n auf den Putz" (1970) made the box office ring.

During the 1970s to mid-1980s, one hit-and-run Western followed another. Bud Spencer and Terence Hill were world-famous and popular with young and old.

The most successful and best films of the duo from this period:

  • "The Devil's Right Hand and Left Hand" (1970)

  • "Privateers of the Seas" (1971)

  • "Four Fists for a Hallelujah" (1972)

  • "Two Heavenly Dogs on the Road to Hell" (1972)

  • "Two Like Brimstone" (1974)

  • "Two Missionaries" (1974)

  • "Two Out of Control" (1976)

  • "There's No Stopping Two" (1978)

  • "The Crocodile and His Hippopotamus" (1979)

  • "Two Aces Trump" (1981)

  • "Two Strong Guys" (1983)

  • "Four Fists Against Rio" (1984)

  • "The Miami Cops" (1985)

The collaboration between Bud Spencer and Terence Hill ends for the time being with the police comedy "The Miami Cops".

In 1994 the two appeared together again in the German-Italian western comedy "The Troublemaker". However, the two could not build on past successes.

Terence Hill's career without Bud Spencer

As early as 1973 and 1975, Terence Hill celebrated gigantic solo successes with the westerns “My Name Is Nobody” and “Nobody is the Greatest”.

In the 1980s he played the Italian cult priest in "Keiner Haut wie Don Camillo" (1983).

His most famous Hollywood film of this period was March or Die (1977) alongside big names like Catherine Deneuve, Ian Holm, and Gene Hackman.

This was followed in 1985 by the road movie Renegade, which starred Terence Hill with his adopted son Ross Hill. In 1990s, Terence Hill finally played another prime role with the comic book hero "Lucky Luke".

Terence Hill and his great love Lori

In 1967, the mime met the German-American dialogue trainer Lori Zwicklbauer while filming "God forgives... Django never!". A passionate love ignited between the two and just two months after they first met, wedding bells rang - the beginning of a marriage that has endured to this day!

On November 7, 1969, the couple's first child, son Jess, was born in Rome. About four years later, the two adopted another orphan boy from Munich and named him Ross.

For decades, Terence Hill seemed to have been spoiled by luck. Then came a bitter blow: Ross Hill died in a car accident in 1990 at the age of 16. The accident plunged Terence Hill into a deep crisis. For years he struggled with depression. The couple Lori and Terence/Mario were welded even closer together by the great suffering.

Terence Hill soon found his way out of trouble thanks to his unwavering love for his wife, his other son, and his acting career. He directed and directed the Lucky Luke movies and reunited with his old pal Bud Spencer on Troublemakers.

The two had not had any private contact for a long time. Although the flick flopped, the two Italo stars remained close after that, until Bud Spencer's death in 2016.

What is Terence Hill doing today?

It's hard to believe, but the man, who is now over 80 years old, is still working tirelessly.

Terence Hill retired to Italy after an incredible international film career.

But lying around and enjoying his wealth wasn't enough for Terence Hill. He has been shooting the series "Don Matteo" for Italian television since the 2000s.

As a kind of Italian pastor, Don Matteo is in Umbria's Gubbio (the homeland of Terence Hill's father) on the hunt for criminals and in the amusing to the dramatic pastoral mission. Unfortunately, the hit Rai series is only available on DVD in Germany so far.

For the TV western series "Doc West - Nobody is back" and "Doc West - Nobody strikes back" Terence Hill even got on the horse again.

However, the two sequels have hardly anything to do with the plot of the big nobody movies from the 1970s. Nevertheless, they offered the best entertainment and they are also available in German.

In 2018, Terence Hill filmed another satire on his former super success with "My Name is Somebody".

Terence Hill: 13 more exciting facts, entertaining and surprising

  1. In the 1950s and 1960s, Mario Girotti was called the "fidanzatino d'italia" in Italy. That means something like "Italy's dream son-in-law".

  2. In the 1950s, he won the bronze medal at the Italian Youth Championships with his Lazio swimming team. He later won a silver medal in rowing with the Tevere Roma club.

  3. He has two brothers named Eduardo and Piero.

  4. Although he knew Carlo Pedersoli loosely on the swim team, the two had little contact prior to their world careers.

  5. He turned down the role of "Rambo" out of dislike for too much violence in the film.

  6. Terence Hill is Italian by birth, held German citizenship for a while, and then switched to a US passport.

  7. To this day, the mime commutes between America, Germany, and Italy with his wife Lori.

  8. He inherited his blue eyes from his mother. It has often been speculated whether Terence Hill wears contact lenses – but no, they are real!

  9. Terence Hill now lives near Gubbio, where he is filming Don Matteo.

  10. He received honorary citizenship from the Saxon town of Lommatzsch (his mother's birthplace).

  11. The outdoor pool there was renamed "Terence Hill Freibad Lommatzsch" after the actor gave the pool a giant water slide.

  12. In 2017, Terence Hill opened the Gelateria Girotti ice cream parlor in the city of Amelia in honor of his grandfather. In the 1970s, his grandfather ran the city's most famous ice cream shop.

  13. The “Gelateria Girotti – Terence Hill Eis Saloon” has been in Dresden since 2019.

Despite being a superstar, Terence Hill never received a major international award. Privately he avoided the media hype, he didn't have a single scandal to record, his family life was always sacred to him and privately he should be just as sunny a boy as nobody.

Are you also dreaming of turning 80 and older with boyish charm - and being outrageously successful at the same time? Then try this Terence Hill movie quote as a life motto (and lots of blue beans!):

"If you want to lengthen your life, you must do everything possible not to shorten it!" (1973 "Mein Name ist Nobody")


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