Raffaella Carra, Italian cathodic star who knew how to mix insolence with elegance

Before defeating Spain, on Tuesday, July 6, at Euro football, the Italian players warmed up to the sound of the song You start making love (“It’s up to you to start making love”, 1976), broadcast in the stadium. A tribute to the performer of the title, the singer, dancer, actress and presenter Raffaella Carra, who died the day before, at the age of 78.

Warming up ? The term would have amused the Italian, whose smile seemed as unchanging as the blond square. It is an understatement to say that Carra heated the transalpine media landscape, she about which the British daily The Guardian wrote in 2020 that she “Introduced Europe to the joys of sex” : in this aesthetic and societal blaze that was the 1970s, his television appearances were so many sparks, vibrant with sensuality. The most sparkling dates back to 1971, when she performed the tuca tuca, a dance of his invention, bare belly, during the show Canzonissima : in a country as Catholic as Italy, this blustering navel opened up many retinas.

Raised by two women

Raffaella Pelloni – her real name – was originally from the “belly” of Italy, as Emilia Romagna is nicknamed. Born in 1943, in Bologna, she is a child of divorce, then illegal in the Peninsula: her father, a bar manager, leaves the home a few months after her birth. “Today, when we talk about adoption by gay or straight couples, I remember that I was raised by two women, my mother and my grandmother, she declared recently. Pretty successful for me, right? “ She added, bitterly: “My father kept phoning me to ask if I was still a virgin. It terrified me so much that I didn’t let myself be touched until I was 18. “

As a child, Raffaella was fascinated by the variety shows transmitted by RAI, the Italian public television. So much so that she studied dance, then drama, at the prestigious Centro Sperimentale in Rome. But it is in the cinema that she begins, at 8 years old, in the melodrama Torment of the past (1952). About thirty other roles will follow, rather minor, despite collaborations with filmmaker Mario Monicelli (Classmates, 1963) and actors Frank Sinatra (L’Express du colonel by Ryan, 1965), Marcello Mastroianni (Hi Rudy, 1966) or Jean Marais (The Saint takes the lookout, 1966).

“Friendly and very intelligent”

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