Bud Spencer

Bud Spencer
Spencer in June 2015
Born Carlo Pedersoli
(1929-10-31)31 October 1929
Naples, Italy
Died 27 June 2016(2016-06-27) (aged 86)
Rome, Italy
Other names Bud Spencer
Occupation Actor
Professional swimmer
Water polo
Years active 1951–2010
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)[1]
Maria Amato (m. 1960–2016)
Children 3

Carlo Pedersoli (31 October 1929 – 27 June 2016), known professionally as Bud Spencer, was an Italian actor, professional swimmer and water polo player. He is known for action-comedy roles with his long-time film partner Terence Hill. The duo "garnered world acclaim and attracted millions to theater seats".[2] Spencer and Hill appeared in, produced and directed over 20 films together.

A successful swimmer in his youth, he obtained a degree in law and registered several patents. Spencer also became a certified commercial airline and helicopter pilot, and supported and funded many children's charities, including the Spencer Scholarship Fund.[3]

Early life

Son of Alessandro Pedersoli and Rosa Facchetti, Carlo Pedersoli was born on 31 October 1929 in Santa Lucia, a historical rione in Naples[4] and in the same building as the writer Luciano De Crescenzo. Pedersoli started school in 1935, along with De Crescenzo. He played several sports and showed an aptitude for swimming, winning prizes. In 1940, due to his father's work, he moved to Rome, where he attended high school and joined a swimming club. He finished school before his seventeenth birthday with the highest marks and enrolled at Sapienza University of Rome, where he studied chemistry. In January 1947, the family moved to South America[5] and Pedersoli discontinued his studies. From 1947 to 1949, he worked in the Italian consulate in Recife, Brazil,[6] where he learned fluent Portuguese.

Swimming and water polo career

Carlo Pedersoli
Carlo Pedersoli in 1950
Personal information
National team  Italy
Born (1929-10-31)31 October 1929
Naples, Italy
Died 27 June 2016(2016-06-27) (aged 86)
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 125 kg (276 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Freestyle, water polo
Club Società Sportiva Lazio Nuoto

Pedersoli returned to Italy in 1949 to play water polo in Rome for Società Sportiva Lazio Nuoto and won the Italian swimming championships in freestyle and mixed relay teams. As a professional swimmer in his youth, Spencer was the first Italian to swim the 100 m freestyle in less than one minute when on 19 September 1950 he swam the distance in 59.5 s in Salsomaggiore.[7] In 1949 he made his international debut and a year later he was called up for the European championships in Vienna where he swam in two finals, finishing fifth in the 100 m and fourth in the relay 4 × 200 m.

In the 1951 Mediterranean Games in Alexandria (Egypt), he won a silver medal in the same 100 m freestyle event.[1][8] Pedersoli participated in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, reaching the semi-finals in the 100 m freestyle (58.8 s heats, 58.9 s semi final).[9] Four years later, in Melbourne, he also entered the semi-finals in the same category (58.5 s heat, 59.0 s semi final).[1][10]

As a water polo player, he won the Italian Championship in 1954 with S.S. Lazio[1] and the gold medal at 1955 Mediterranean Games in Barcelona with the Italian national team. His swimming career ended abruptly in 1957.[11]

On 17 January 2005, he was awarded the Caimano d'oro (Gold Caiman) by the Italian Swimming Federation.[12] On 24 January 2007, he received swimming and water polo coach diplomas from the Italian Swimming Federation's president Paolo Barelli.[13]

Acting career

Pedersoli's first film role was in Quel fantasma di mio marito, an Italian comedy shot in 1949 and released in 1950.

In 1951 he played a member of the Praetorian Guard in Quo Vadis, an epic film shot in Italy made by MGM and directed by Mervyn LeRoy.[3] During the 1950s and part of the 1960s, Spencer appeared playing minor parts in Italian including Mario Monicelli's movie A Hero of Our Times, with Alberto Sordi and the 1954 war film Human Torpedoes with Raf Vallone.

In 1960, after the Summer Olympic games, Pedersoli married Maria Amato, daughter of Italian film producer Giuseppe Amato.[14] He signed a contract with RCA Records to write lyrics for singers such as Ornella Vanoni and Nico Fidenco and soundtracks. In the following years, his son Giuseppe was born (1961), followed by Cristiana (1962), his contract with RCA expired and his father-in-law died (1964). Pedersoli became a producer of documentaries for the national public broadcasting company RAI.[15]

In 1967 film director Giuseppe Colizzi offered him a role in God Forgives... I Don't!. On the set Pedersoli met Mario Girotti (Terence Hill). Although Spencer had met Girotti before on the set of Hannibal in 1959, this was the moment they went on to become a film duo. The film director asked the two actors to change their names, deeming them to be too Italian-sounding for a Western movie: Pedersoli chose Bud Spencer, with Bud inspired by Budweiser beer and Spencer by the actor Spencer Tracy.[16]

While Hill's characters were agile and youthful, Spencer always played the "phlegmatic, grumpy strong-arm man with a blessed, naive child's laughter and a golden heart".[17] Overall, Hill and Spencer worked together on over 20 films, including (named using their most common U.S. titles):

  1. God Forgives... I Don't! (1967), first time as Bud Spencer together with Terence Hill
  2. Ace High (1968)
  3. Boot Hill (1969)
  4. They Call Me Trinity (1970)
  5. Trinity Is Still My Name (1971)
  6. All the Way, Boys (1972)
  7. Watch Out, We're Mad (1974)
  8. Two Missionaries (1974)
  9. Crime Busters (1977)
  10. Odds and Evens (1978)
  11. I'm For the Hippopotamus (1979)
  12. Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure (1981)
  13. Go For It! (1983)
  14. Double Trouble (1984)
  15. Miami Supercops (1985)
  16. Troublemakers (1994)

Films with Spencer alone include:

  1. The Five Man Army (1969)
  2. Even Angels Eat Beans (1969)
  3. The Fifth Day of Peace (1969)
  4. It Can Be Done Amigo (1972)
  5. Flatfoot (1973)
  6. They Call Him Bulldozer (1978)
  7. The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid (1979)
  8. Everything Happens to Me (1980)
  9. Banana Joe (1982)
  10. Bomber (1982)
  11. Superfantagenio (1986)

Many of these have alternative titles, depending upon the country and distributor. Some have longer Italian versions that were edited for their release abroad. These films gathered popularity for both actors, especially in Europe.[3] Because of the duo's huge popularity, many producers wanted to exploit their likeness with visually similar duos. Most notable were Paul L. Smith (adopted name Adam Eden in later years, sometimes credited Anam Eden) and Michael Coby (real name Antonio Cantafora) with at least 6 movies in Bud & Terence-fashion from 1973 to 1977, and István Bujtor with 6 movies in Piedone-fashion from 1981 to 2008.

In the Italian versions of his films, Spencer was usually dubbed by actor Glauco Onorato due to his thick Naples accent,[18] although he was voiced by Sergio Fiorentini in Troublemakers, To the Limit (1997) and the series of Detective Extralarge, (1991–93).[19][20] In English dubs, Spencer was usually voiced by Richard McNamara or Edward Mannix.[21]

Spencer wrote the complete or partial screenplay for some of his movies. His feature film career slowed down after 1983, shifting more toward television. In the 1990s, he acted in the television action-drama Extralarge. His autobiography was published in 2011. In addition, Spencer also published a recipe book including his favorite dishes.[22]

Political career

In 2005, he entered politics, unsuccessfully standing as regional councillor in Lazio for the Forza Italia party. Spencer stated: "In my life, I've done everything. There are only three things I haven't been – a ballet dancer, a jockey and a politician. Given that the first two jobs are out of the question, I'll throw myself into politics."[3] The opposition criticised him for engaging in "politica spettacolo" ("showbiz politics").[3]

Personal life

Spencer married Maria Amato in 1960, with whom he had three children: Giuseppe (1961), Cristiana (1962) and Diamante (1972). After appearing in Più forte, ragazzi!, Spencer became a jet airplane and helicopter pilot.[3] He founded Mistral Air in 1984, an air-mail company that also transports pilgrims, but later sold it to Poste Italiane.[23] Spencer's grandson, Carlo Pedersoli, Jr., is a mixed martial arts fighter currently signed the Ultimate Fighting Championship.[24]


Spencer died aged 86 on 27 June 2016 in Rome. As son Giuseppe Pedersoli stated, his father "died without pain in presence of his family and his last word was 'grazie'".[25][26] He was survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.[16][27]

In Hungary, where his films were hugely popular during the communist regime, a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of Spencer created by sculptor Szandra Tasnádi was unveiled on November 11, 2017 in downtown Budapest, with Spencer's daughter Cristiana in attendance. The statue's pedestal bears the inscription "Mi sohasem veszekedtünk" ("We Never Fought"), a quote from Terence Hill's eulogy referring to their long-lasting friend- and partnership.[28]


Title Date Role
Quel fantasma di mio marito1950Swimmer
Quo Vadis (as Carlo Pedersoli)1951Imperial Guard
Siluri umani (English title: Human Torpedoes) (as Carlo Pederzoli)1954Magrini
Un Eroe dei nostri tempi (English title: A Hero of Our Times) (as Carlo Pedersoli)1955Fernando
Il Cocco di Mamma (English title: Mamma's Boy) (as Carlo Pedersoli)1957Oscar
A Farewell to Arms (as Carlo Pedersoli)1957Carabiniere
Annibale (English title: Hannibal) (as Carlo Pedersoli)1960
Dio perdona... io no! (English title: God Forgives... I Don't!)1967Hutch Bessy
Oggi a me... domani a te (English title: Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die)1968O'Bannion
Al di là della legge (English title: Beyond the Law)1968James Cooper
Ace High (Italian title: I quattro dell'Ave Maria)1968Hutch Bessy
Gott mit uns (Dio è con noi) (English title: The Fifth Day of Peace)1969Cpl. Jelinek
Un esercito di 5 uomini (English title: The Five Man Army)1969Mesito
La collina degli stivali (English title: Boot Hill)1969Hutch Bessy
Lo chiamavano Trinità... (English title: They Call Me Trinity)1970Bambino
Il corsaro nero (English title: Blackie the Pirate)1971Skull
...continuavano a chiamarlo Trinità (English title: Trinity Is Still My Name)1971Bambino
4 mosche di velluto grigio (English title: Four Flies on Grey Velvet)1971Godfrey "God"
Torino nera (English title: Black Turin)1972Rosario Rao
...più forte ragazzi! (English title: All the Way Boys)1972Salud
Si può fare... amigo (English title: It Can Be Done Amigo)1972Hiram Coburn
Una ragione per vivere e una per morire (English title: A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die)1972Eli Sampson
Anche gli angeli mangiano fagioli (English title: Even Angels Eat Beans)1973Charlie Smith
Piedone lo sbirro (English title: Flatfoot)1973Inspector "Flatfoot" Rizzo
Porgi l'altra guancia (English title: Two Missionaries)1974Father/Padre Pedro
...altrimenti ci arrabbiamo! (English title: Watch Out, We're Mad)1974Ben
Piedone a Hong Kong (English title: Flatfoot in Hong Kong)1975Inspector "Flatfoot" Rizzo
Il soldato di ventura (English title: Soldier of Fortune)1976Hector Fieramosca
I due superpiedi quasi piatti (English title: Crime Busters)1977Wilbur Walsh
Piedone l'africano (English title: Flatfoot in Africa aka The Knock-Out Cop)1978Inspector "Flatfoot" Rizzo
Lo chiamavano Bulldozer (English title: They Called Him Bulldozer)1978Bulldozer
Pari e dispari (English title: Odds and Evens)1978Charlie Firpo
Uno sceriffo extraterrestre... poco extra e molto terrestre (English title: The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid)1979Sceriffo Scott (Sheriff Hall)
Piedone d'Egitto (English title: Flatfoot in Egypt)1979Inspector 'Flatfoot' Rizzo
Io sto con gli ippopotami (English title: I'm for the Hippopotamus)1979Tom
Chissà perché... capitano tutte a me (English title: Everything Happens to Me)1980Sheriff Hall
Occhio alla penna (English title: Buddy Goes West)1981Buddy
Chi trova un amico trova un tesoro (English title: Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure)1981Charlie O'Brien
Cane e gatto (English title: Cat and Dog)1982Sergeant Parker
Banana Joe1982Banana Joe
Bomber1982Bud Graziano
Nati con la camicia (English title: Go for It)1983Doug O'Riordan alias Mason
Double Trouble (Italian title: Non c'è due senza quattro)1984Greg Wonder/Antonio Coimbra de la Coronilla y Azevedo
Miami Supercops (Italian title: Miami Supercops (I poliziotti dell'8ª strada))1985Steve Forest
Superfantagenio (USA title: Aladdin)1986Genie
Big Man (TV Series)1988–1989Jack Clementi
Detective Extralarge (TV Series)1990–1993Jack "Extralarge" Costello
Un piede in paradiso (English title: Standing in Paradise aka Speaking of the Devil)1991John "Bull" Webster
Botte di Natale (English title: The Fight Before Christmas aka Troublemakers)1994Moses
Noi siamo angeli (English title: We Are Angels) (Mini TV Series)1997Orso
Fuochi d'artificio (English title: Fireworks)1997The blind singer
Al limite (English title: To the Limit)1997Elorza
Hijos del viento (English title: Sons of the Wind)1999Quintero
Tre per sempre (English title: 3–4 Ever)2002Bops
Cantando dietro i paraventi (English title: Singing Behind Screens)2003Il vecchio capitano
Padre Speranza (English title: Father Hope) (TV)2005Padre Speranza
Mord ist mein Geschäft, Liebling (English title: Murder Is My Business, Honey)2009Pepe
I delitti del cuoco (TV Series)2010Carlo Banci


  • Banana Joe (1982, credited as Carlo Pedersoli)[29]
  • Big Man (credited as Carlo Pedersoli)
    • La Fanciulla che ride (1988) (TV)
    • Diva (1989) (TV)
    • Boomerang (1989) (TV)
  • Extralarge (credited as Carlo Pedersoli)
    • Ninja Shadow (1993) (TV)
    • Diamonds (1993) (TV)


  1. 1 2 3 4 Carlo Pedersoli. 1980 Passport
  2. "Bud Spencer, Italian Spaghetti Western Star, Dies at 86". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bud Spencer on imdb.com
  4. Ilaria Galateria (2015-04-16). "Pronto, parlo con Bud Spencer?" (in Italian).
  5. "Carlo Pedersoli: Cartão de imigração". familysearch.org (in Portuguese).
  6. Edgar Welzel (2012-06-21). "Meu encontro com Bud Spencer". revistabula.com (in Portuguese). Bula Revista.
  7. "Italian swimming records". agendadiana.com. Archived from the original on 18 March 2007.
  8. Mediterranean Games, 1951. agendadiana.com
  9. Helsinki 1952 official report Archived 11 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. la84foundation.org.
  10. Melbourne 1956 official report Archived 12 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. la84foundation.org.
  11. Bud Spencer: Biography, citation: "Ein Jahr nach seinen zweiten olympischen Spielen beendet Carlo plötzlich seine Schwimmerkarriere (...)"
  12. Fomiconi e Pedersoli Caimano d'Oro. federnuoto.it (17 January 2005) (in Italian)
  13. Coach Spencer Le foto più belle. federnuoto.it (30 January 2007) (in Italian)
  14. "Bud Spencer :" Totò è diventato uno scenziato di tutto ciò"". libero.it (in Italian).
  15. "Fear of dying ? So Bud Spencer thought about death". budterence. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  16. 1 2 "Italian actor Bud Spencer dies at 86". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  17. Translated from German: pflegmatischen, bärbeißigen Haudrauf mit dem selig-naiven Kinderlächeln und dem goldenen Herzen Tagesspiegel
  18. Andrea Francesco Berni (31 December 2009). "E' morto Glauco Onorato, voce di Bud Spencer". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  19. "IL MONDO DEI DOPPIATORI - La pagina di SERGIO FIORENTINI". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  20. "IL MONDO DEI DOPPIATORI - La pagina di FERRUCCIO AMENDOLA". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  21. "Full text of "Video.Watchdog.159.November.December.2010"". Archive.org. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  22. "BUD SPENCER". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  23. "Mistral Air - ERA". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  24. "UFC Signs Italian Welterweight Carlo Pedersoli Jr to Face Bradley Scott at UFC Liverpool". Sherdog.com. May 17, 2018. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  25. "Angst vor dem Sterben? So dachte Bud Spencer über den Tod" (in German). www.budterence.de. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  26. "Cinema, è morto Bud Spencer, il grande buono del cinema italiano". La Repubblica. June 27, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  27. "Actor Bud Spencer Dies at 86". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  28. "Statue of Actor Bud Spencer Unveiled in Budapest". Hungary Today. November 13, 2017. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  29. "Banana Joe (1982)". IMDb. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
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