Known for his work in Spaghetti Westerns and action-comedy films, Italian actor Bud Spencer died on Monday night in Rome. He was 86. Working primarily from the 1950s to the 1980s, Spencer was best known for his roles with longtime onscreen partner Terence Hill, and was also a professional swimmer.
His official Twitter account announced the news to fans:
With our deepest regrets, we have to tell you that Bud is flying to his next journey.
Fam. Pedersoli pic.twitter.com/nHjEUyM7uE
— Bud Spencer Official (@budspencerweb) June 27, 2016
Born in Naples in 1929, Spencer later participated in the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics. His swimming career ended the following year. Spencer, then Carlo Pedersoli, had some uncredited acting roles in the 1950s including in King Vidor’s A Farewell To Arms and MGM’s Quo Vadis.
In 1967, he was approached by director Giuseppe Colizzi for God Forgives… I Don’t!. It was then he changed his name “because American names are better for international marketing,” he wrote on his official website. He picked Bud Spencer in homage to his favorite beer, and actor Spencer Tracy.
Early on, he met Hill with whom he would go on to do several pictures including Ace High, They Call Me Trinity and A Friend Is A Treasure. He also appeared in the Flatfoot series of films and continued to take acting roles in the 90s and 2000s. Spencer also worked in television and as an author. He notably played Jack ‘Extralarge’ Costello in the Extralarge series of TV movies, alongside Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas.
According to his official Facebook page, Spencer also had a law degree, registered several patents and was a certified commercial airline and helicopter pilot.
Fan Russell Crowe tweeted his condolences:
RIP Bud Spencer … My heart goes out to your family https://t.co/KSfsfUtrga
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) June 27, 2016
And on news of Spencer’s death, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wrote:
Ti abbiamo voluto bene in tanti
— Matteo Renzi (@matteorenzi) June 27, 2016