I always did it my way
I am born on October 31, 1929 in Naples. Just one year after my enrollment in school in 1936 I make my first swimming attempts and join a swimming club.
In 1940 my family (since 1934 it also includes my sister, Vera) moves to Rome because a bombardment in Naples has totally destroyed the important factory that an ancestor, Alessandro Pedersoli founded in the XIX century. Thanks to the presence of the Pope in the Vatican, Rome is a much safer town and I can attend high school that I complete in 1946 with an above average graduation. My school rugby team becomes national champion and I am already a sport star also as a swimmer after defeating all my senior competitors when I was only 15 years old.
In 1946 I pass the entrance exam to the University of Rome and begin to study chemistry as one of the youngest university students in Italy. But the post war time is really hard and shortly thereafter, my family moves again, this time to Brazil. I learn Portugese and work, among other things, as assembly line worker in Rio de Janeiro. It is a happy period that also connects me to Brazilian music, my favourite. In 1948 I return to Italy, abort my chemistry studies and start studying law instead. That supposedly gives me more time for training and swimming. During this period of time I also engage in a few boxing challenges as a heavyweight, winning all the fights.
Great success as a swimmer, first film roles and emigration to South America
I quickly establish important records in swimming. In 1949 I am Italian champion in freestyle and in 1950 the first Italian to swim the 100m freestyle in under a minute (59:50 seconds on Sept. 19, 1950). By the end of my swimming career in 1957 I am seven times Italian champion (plus three times as junior) and also take another four national titles in relay competitions. In addition, I make it in the Italian water polo national team that was gold medalist in London Olympic Games in 1948 and in Rome Olympic Games in 1960.
In between, around 1950, I cross my way the first time with the film business. Being very well known as an athlete and a very attractive man, me is offered a guest appearance in 1949 “Quel fantasma di mio marito
” and two years later a minor role in the historical epic movie “Quo Vadis
”. But even if followed by some minor roles in the 50’s, I cannot be distracted by my swimming carreer. In 1952 I am part of the Italian National Team at the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952. In the qualifying race for the 100m freestyle final I rank fifth. Four years later, I participate again at the Olympic Games, this time in Melbourne. I don’t like to train a lot and again his results are not enough for a medal. I end up with a respectable 11th place.
One year after my second Olympic Games at age 27, I decide to terminate my sport career and travel to South America, more precisely to Venezuela. I did this step as a way to find to myself and connect to my real nature and goals. In Caracas I could not have my comfortable life with the fancy cars and many fans I was used to have as a sport idol. I wanted to find out how I was facing my own life, as a brave man or a coward. In Venezuela I work as a foreman for the construction of the Pan-American Highway. Although I have nostalgia for my family, my country but also for a young girl called Maria and want to go back to Italy at this time, I hold on for some more time. After my job as a foreman, I work for Alfa Romeo in Caracas and finally return to Rome in 1959. That same year I also get another role. In the epic movie “Hannibal
” I play the tribal leader “Rutario”. My participation in this movie is remarkable, especially because my later co-star Terence Hill also has a role. The future Bud and Terence don’t get to know each other during the shooting there.
Private fortune and work as a composer
On February 25, 1960 I marry Maria Amato (daughter of a very successful and influential producer), I have known for many years. Just one year later our son Giuseppe is born, and in 1962 our daughter Cristiana. I get a job for the record music company RCA, for which I compose from 1960 to 1964 Neapolitan folk and pop songs. Then I break my contract with RCA to found a production company which mainly produces documentaries and commercials for Italian television. Sharing a common life with my very well-known producer father in law, I still don’t see my future working as an actor.
The birth of Bud Spencer
But then in 1967 the director Giuseppe Colizzi approaches me. Colizzi is an acquaintance of my wife Maria and offer me the lead role in his next film, the spaghetti western “Dio perdona ... io no! (God forgives… I don’t!)
”. For this movie a “giant” is needed and I fit perfectly in the role with my weight of 260 pounds and size of 1,94m. I can make good use of the money and accept. Since I don’t want to put my reputation at stake because of a "funny cowboy movie" I let grow a beard, so that my friends would not recognize me. It comes in handy that I am asked to use an american name for the movie, because american names are better for marketing at this time. As new name I select a combination of my favorite beer brand Budweiser
and actor Spencer Tracy
Bud Spencer is born!
I don’t speak english well, I am not a good horse rider and really don’t think to continue my acting career because the success period of Italo-Western movies is fast declining in end of the 60's, and therefore I am not expecting following job offers. But I am mistaken. The audience likes me very much especially when I am together with Terence Hill and the movie is a success. So it’s only logical that we are engaged again by Colizzi for two sequels “I quattro dell`Ave Maria (Ace High)
” and “La collina degli stivali (Boot Hill)
” that also are very successful.
1970 marks the year of a worldwide blockbuster “Lo chiamavano Trinità... (They call me Trinity)
” directed by first time director and author Enzo Barboni (E.B. Clucher) followed two years later by the even more successful sequel “Continuavano a chiamarlo Trinità (They still call me Trinity)
In 1972 my professional success is also completed by personal happiness: Our second daughter Diamante is born.
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Flying through the air...
In 1972 Terence and I are filming “Piu’ forte ragazzi (All The Way, Boys!)
” with friend director Giuseppe Colizzi in Colombia. We act as airplane pilots and after that fantastic experience I decide to achieve a flying license and become a professional pilot being later credited with more than 2000 flying hours with different planes and about 500 hours flying helicopters. Flying will be the biggest passion for me for over 35 years living me a sense of freedom and the possibility to know new places and people appeasing his curiosity. After that first experience I include my piloting abilities in various scenes of my next films.
Multitalented Carlo Pedersoli: Composer, singer, pilot, entrepreneur and inventor
Even though I am very busy with acting in that period, I find the time for my other passion: the music. I am first seen singing in my film “Lo chiamavano Bulldozer (They called him Bulldozer)
”. A year later I also perform the theme song for “Io sto con gli ippopotami (I`m for the Hippopotamus)
”. In 1981 I found my own airline, Mistral Air, which becomes one of the leading transportation companies in Italy and is later sold. I am also very resourceful in other areas so I patented for example a walking stick with built-in table and chair, an electric toy mouse and a disposable toothbrush with integrated toothpaste. Overall, I own 12 patents.
From 2010 to today as Bud Spencer - bestselling author
On May 27, 2010 my autobiography “Altrimenti mi arrabbio” is published.
The same year on november 25 the book is published in Hungary.
The book is also published in Germany by Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf and marks another great success for me making the top positions in the Der Spiegel List for many weeks.
In 2012, the second book titled “In Eighty years around the world - The second part of my autobiography” appears on March 15.
In October 2014 I not only celebrate my 85th birthday but my third book is also published entitled “Mangio Ergo Sum - My philosophy of eating”.
In this book I describe the nightmare I suffer during a prescribed diet and discuss my philosophical dilemmas with various philosophers from all ages.
Now that my body is getting older and don’t obey anymore to my 28 years old mind, I go back to my love for philosophy and I’m already working with my friend and co-author Lorenzo De Luca for a fourth book, a tribute to the millions of dedicated fans all over the world.
The new book will include a CD with many different unpublished songs created and sung by me.
Bud Spencer Official Shop
Bud Spencer Highlights
Trinity: Good Guys and Bad Guys
Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure
The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid
They called him Bulldozer
A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die