It was announced on Monday that Raffaella Carrà, an iconic Italian singer, dancer, and actor who co-starred with Frank Sinatra in 1965’s Von Ryan’s Express, has passed away. She had reached the age of 78.
Raffaella has abandoned us. Her longtime partner Sergio Iapino told the Italian national news agency ANSA on Monday that she had passed on to a better realm, where her humanity, her recognisable laugh, and her remarkable brilliance would shine eternally. Iapino said she had been fighting an unspecified ailment for some time, but did not specify what it was.
Raffaella Carra Career
Carrà was a household name in both Europe and Latin America thanks to her recurring roles in a wide variety of hit TV shows.
Carrà, a Bologna native, made her cinematic debut in Tormento del passato at the tender age of 9. She then went on to star in a number of comedies and action flicks, as well as several Italian “peplum” pictures in the early 1960s (including Fury of the Pagans and Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops).
When she first arrived in the United States in 1965, she signed with 20th Century Fox and quickly won a leading role alongside Frank Sinatra in the World War II drama Von Ryan’s Express, directed by Mark Robson.
After leaving America, she went back to her native Italy and spent the 1970s performing as a singer and dancer on Italian variety shows, where she gained fame for her outspoken attitude and for being the first TV personality to bare her belly button on national broadcast.
After the success of “Tucu Tucu” in 1971, her subsequent singles “Ma che musica maestro” and “Chissà se va” also became radio staples. Her debut track “Tanti Auguri” (Best Wishes) was a worldwide success and has since gained a large LGBT fan base.
‘A Far l’Amore Comincia Tu’ was her first hugely successful single on a global scale (Be the One Initiating Sex). In the United Kingdom, the English-language version peaked at number nine on the singles list. The Great Beauty, directed by Paolo Sorrentino and nominated for an Academy Award in 2013, features the song in its soundtrack.
Carrà was a judge on the Italian version of The Voice in the early 2000s. Her most recent film roles were in My Heart Goes Boom! and The Man Without Gravity, both released in 2020.