Almost no one else more epitomised the tag "tall, dark and handsome" than flamboyant Italian actor Vittorio Gassman (1922-2000). With matinee idol looks, a larger than life onscreen presence - his second wife Shelley Winters said, "He gave Hamlet with too much emphasis on the ham" - and at 6'2" he was a master of the classics, drama and to everyone's delight had a big talent for comedy. Born in Genoa the plan was to be a sportsman as he was a natural, however his mother thought drama - she was a frustrated would be actress - would be a better choice. Study at NADA led to the stage often with Visconti, with a flair for the classics as well as contemporary plays such as "A Streetcar Named Desire", movie success soon followed. "Wild Rice" with Mangano, his star making role was one of the great post war Italian neo-realism films. Early hits included "Lure of the Sila" and "La tratta delle bianche" before he followed second wife Shelley Winters back to Hollywood. The Hollywood years didn't further his career. Only "Rhapsody" a glossy Taylor vehicle with Gassman playing "handsome and arrogant" was a modest hit. Returning home would see 3 more decades of greater success. Regularly and often electrifying on stage his first love, his most memorable films were "War and Peace", the comedy "Big Deal on Madonna Street" which made a star of Mastroianni, "Il sorpasso" another major hit with Trintignant, "La Grande Guerra", "I mostri", "L'Armata Brancaleone", "Ghosts, Italian Style" with Loren and his acclaimed and award winning "Scent of a Woman" and "C'eravamo tanto amati." "Il Mattatore" (Spotlight Chaser) was such a success he was often referred to as "Il Mattatore." On stages and sound stages including small stateside roles in "A Wedding", "Sharky's Machine" and "Sleepers" in later years, he said, "As an actor you live your life watching yourself live your life and watching others watch you, too. Acting is based on lying, a noble type of lying, which is why I decided to tell the truth; it's my chief luxury." Gassman did it in his bigger than life style, on his terms exciting audiences in great tragedy or comedy for more than half a century.