Italian actress Mariangela Melato, known for her critically acclaimed performance as a spoiled socialite stranded with a sailor she had tormented in the 1974 film "Swept Away," died Friday in a Rome hospital. The LaPresse news agency said she had pancreatic cancer. She was believed to be 74.
Italian director Lina Wertmuller paired Melato with Giancarlo Giannini in the political and sexual farce, whose full title is "Swept Away ... by an unusual destiny in the blue sea of August." A 1975 Times review called the stars "charismatic" and said they had once again been teamed to "deliciously hilarious and finally heart-tugging effect."
A tiny woman with a bass voice, the actress also had success in a series of Wertmuller-directed films in the 1970s that included "The Seduction of Mimi" and "Love and Anarchy."
Melato was born in 1938 in Milan, Italy, according to Who's Who in Hollywood. She trained at the Milan Theater Academy, did stage work and largely appeared in foreign films.
Her English-language projects include a featured role as a gangster's wife in the 1981 film farce "So Fine" and a supporting role in 1980's "Flash Gordon."
From Times staff and wire reports