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Greta Scacchi

Greta Scacchi.jpg
Scacchi in January 2008
Born (1960-02-18) 18 February 1960 (age 61)
Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Years active1981–present
Partner(s)Tim Finn
Vincent D'Onofrio
Carlo Mantegazza
Children2, including Leila George

Greta Scacchi, OMRI (Italian: [ˈɡrɛːta ˈskakki]; born 18 February 1960) is an Italian-Australian actress. She holds dual Italian and Australian citizenship. She is best known for her roles in the films White Mischief (1987), Presumed Innocent (1990), The Player (1992), Emma (1996), and Looking for Alibrandi (2000).

Her first leading role, in Heat and Dust (1983), earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Newcomer to Film. For her portrayal of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the television film, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996), she won a Primetime Emmy Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 2006, Scacchi received a second Emmy nomination for her role in the television film Broken Trail, and earned her first Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.

Early life

Scacchi was born on 18 February 1960 in Milan, Italy, the daughter of Luca Scacchi, an Italian art dealer and painter, and Pamela Risbey, an English dancer and antiques dealer.[1] Scacchi's parents divorced when she was four, and her mother returned to her native England with Greta and her two older brothers, first to London, then to Haywards Heath, West Sussex.[2] In 1975, after her mother's remarriage, the family moved to Perth, Western Australia, where her stepfather was a visiting professor at the University of Western Australia (UWA).[3][4][5] While in Perth, Scacchi attended Hollywood Senior High School[6] and joined UWA's University Dramatic Society,[5] where she made her theatrical debut at the New Dolphin Theatre in Edward Bond's play Early Morning under director Arne Neeme.[7]


In 1977, Scacchi returned to England to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where her contemporaries included Miranda Richardson and Amanda Redman. Her first on-screen role was in the first season finale of Bergerac, in 1981, when she played a model who was the girlfriend of an international criminal being pursued by the eponymous detective.[8] The following year, she made her film debut in the German movie Das Zweite Gesicht (The Second Face). Her first leading role was in the British film Heat and Dust (1983), opposite Shashi Kapoor and Julie Christie; Scacchi's performance earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Newcomer to Film. She went on to give versatile performances in films such as The Ebony Tower (1984), The Coca-Cola Kid (1985), White Mischief (1987), Presumed Innocent (1990), The Player (1992) and Country Life (1994). She turned down the role of Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct (1992).[9]

In 1996, she won an Emmy Award for her work as Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the television film, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and numerous other awards. In 1999, she had a role as an Italian-Australian single mother in the Australian film Looking for Alibrandi,[10] a performance for which she won the 2000 AFI award for Best Supporting Actress.[11]

In 2007, she received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Broken Trail.

Scacchi is fluent in English, French, German, and Italian, which has made her a popular choice for European casting directors.

She has performed in a wide range of parts in theatre. She appeared In Times Like These (Bristol Old Vic) and Cider with Rosie (Phoenix Arts Theatre, Leicester) as her film career was taking off. After making four films in 15 months, in 1985 she appeared with Mark Rylance and Kevin McNally in Airbase (Oxford Playhouse and Arts Theatre). In Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, in 1987, she played opposite Michael Gambon and Jonathan Pryce. In 1991, she played Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House in the Festival of Perth. A year later, she played the lead role in Strindberg's Miss Julie for the Sydney Theatre Company. She returned to Sydney in 1996 to play Cecilia in Sam Shepard's Simpatico. In 1999, she took the lead in Easy Virtue in Chichester, directed by actress Maria Aitken.

In 2001, she returned to Sydney for Harold Pinter's Old Times, directed by Aarne Neeme, playing Kate. In 2004 she toured Italy with an Italian production Vecchi Tempi of the same play, but this time playing Anne. In 2005, she performed at the Theatre Royal, Bath, in Thea Sharrock's production of Noël Coward's Private Lives. Back in Australia in 2008, she was nominated for a Sydney Theatre Best Actress Award for playing Queen Elizabeth in Schiller's Mary Stuart in Sydney.

In that year, she also performed in Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea at the Theatre Royal, Bath, on tour and then in the West End back at the Vaudeville Theatre.[12]

In 2010, she replaced an injured Kristin Scott Thomas in the Chatelet Theatre, Paris in the French premiere (37 years after it was written) of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. As Desiree she sang "Send In The Clowns".[13]

In May 2011, she appeared alongside Anita Dobson in the play Bette and Joan at London's Arts Theatre, directed by Bill Alexander, about the personal and professional relationship between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.[14] At the end of that year she appeared at the Ensemble Theatre, Sydney in David Williamson's new play, Nothing Personal.[15]

In September 2013, Sir Jonathan Miller directed a gala performance of William Shakespeare's King Lear at The Old Vic in London. Scacchi played Regan.[16]

In 2014, she played Arkadina in Chekhov's The Seagull in Perth.[17] In 2015 she joined the Headlong theatre company to star on a UK tour in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie as Amanda.[18]

Between 20 August and 12 November 2016, she played Phoebe Rice opposite Kenneth Branagh's Archie Rice in a revival of John Osborne's The Entertainer at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End. The play received mixed reviews but hers were uniformly positive.[19][20]

Personal life

Scacchi is an Italian citizen by birth. She applied for British citizenship after turning 18, but was refused and refused again on appeal.[21] She is a dual citizen of Italy and Australia.[22]

From 1983 to 1989, Scacchi was in a relationship with New Zealand musician Tim Finn. She had a four-year relationship with American actor Vincent D'Onofrio, with whom she has a daughter, actress Leila George.[23][24] In 1997, Scacchi began a relationship with her first cousin, Carlo Mantegazza. They have a son, Matteo.[25][26][27]

Scacchi is an active supporter of campaigns and organisations that promote environmental causes. She has supported Greenpeace and Christian Aid's climate change campaign.[28] In 2009, she posed nude with a codfish to promote the documentary The End of the Line, a film exposing the effects of overfishing. She continues to lead the linked Fishlove campaign, which has seen a host of well known actors pose for photographs with a variety of fish.[29]

In October 2013, for her services to the arts she was awarded Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Knight in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic).[30]


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Bergerac Annie Series 1, episode 10: "The Hood and the Harlequin"
1982 Das Zweite Gesicht Anna
1983 Heat and Dust Olivia Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer to Film
1983 Dead on Time Pretty girl
1984 The Ebony Tower Diana/'The Mouse' TV film
1984 Camille Marguerite TV film
1984 Waterfront Anna Cheri TV mini-series
1985 Defence of the Realm Nina Beckman
1985 Burke & Wills Julia Matthews
1985 Doctor Fischer of Geneva Anna-Luise Fischer TV film
1985 The Coca-Cola Kid Terri
1987 White Mischief Diana Lady Broughton
1987 Good Morning, Babylon Edna Bonnano
1987 A Man in Love Jane Steiner
1988 Young Distance (La Donna della Luna) Angela
1988 Love and Fear Maria Also known as Three Sisters, the original title is Paura e amore
1989 The Skull Beneath Her Skin Cordelia Grey A 2-part BBC Radio Play of P D James novel. Scacchi's radio debut.
1990 Presumed Innocent Carolyn Polhemus
1991 Shattered Judith Merrick
1992 Fires Within Isabel
1992 Salt on Our Skin George
1992 The Player June
1992 Turtle Beach Judith
1994 Country Life Deborah Voysey
1994 The Browning Version Laura Crocker-Harris
1995 Jefferson in Paris Maria Cosway
1996 Emma Anne Taylor Weston
1996 Così Mental patient Uncredited
1996 Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny Tsarina Alexandra TV film
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1997 The Odyssey Penelope TV film
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1997 The Serpent's Kiss Juliana
1998 Love and Rage Agnes MacDonnell
1998 The Red Violin Victoria Byrd
1998 Macbeth Lady Macbeth TV film
1999 Ladies Room Lucia
1999 Cotton Mary Lily MacIntosh
1999 Tom's Midnight Garden Aunt Gwen Kitson
1999 The Manor Mrs. Ravenscroft
1999 Looking for Alibrandi Christina Alibrandi Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Supporting Actress
2000 One of the Hollywood Ten Gale Sondergaard
2001 The Farm Liz Cooper TV film
2001 Festival in Cannes Alice Palmer
2002 Jeffrey Archer: The Truth Margaret Thatcher TV film
2002 Daniel Deronda Lydia Glasher TV serial
2003 Baltic Storm Julia Reuter
2004 Strange Crime Nicoletta
2004 Beyond the Sea Mary Duvan
2005 Flightplan Therapist
2005 Il Commissario Maigret Italian TV Production
2005 Heart Attack Dr Adele Partridge Episode of Australian Two Twisted TV series
2006 Broken Trail Nola Johns 2 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2006 Agatha Christie’s Marple Tuppence Beresford Episode: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
2006 The Book of Revelation Isabel
2006 Icicle Melt Short Film
2006 The Handyman Julia Parchant Short Film
2006 Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the stories of Stephen King Dr. Katie Arlen TV miniseries. Episode: "Autopsy Room Four"
2007 Hidden Love Dr. Dubois
2008 Brideshead Revisited Cara
2008 Shoot on Sight Susan Ali
2008 Miss Austen Regrets Cassandra Austen TV film
2008 The Trojan Horse Helen Madigan 2 episodes
2010 Un altro mondo Cristina
2010 Way to Live Forever Private instructor
2011 Hindenburg Helen Van Zandt TV film
2013 Agatha Christie's Poirot Mrs Burton-Cox Episode: "Elephants Can Remember"
2013 Masterpieces Unveiled Herself (Presenter) TV Documentary Series- 8 episodes
2014 The Falling Miss Mantel
2015 A.D. The Bible Continues Mother Mary 4 episodes
2016 War & Peace Countess Rostova 6 episodes
2017 La Tenerezza Aurora Film directed by Gianni Amelio
2017 Versailles Madeleine de Foix TV Series Season 2
2017 The Terror Lady Jane Franklin TV Series based on the Dan Simmons novel of the same name
2017 The Girl in the Fog Beatrice Lehman Italian: La Ragazza Nella Nebbia
2018 Operation Finale Vera Eichmann
2018 Amanda Alison
2019 Palm Beach Charlotte 2019 film directed by Rachel Ward
2019 Waiting for the Barbarians Mai 2019 film directed by Ciro Guerra
2021 Shepherd


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Early Morning Florence Nightingale Edward Bond's play at Dolphin Theatre, Perth
1981 Cider With Rosie Rosie & other parts Phoenix, leicester
1985 In Times Like These Vivien Mercer New Vic Theatre, Stoke
1985 Airbase Lt. Madeline Kohler Oxford Playhouse and Arts Theatre, London
1987 Uncle Vanya Yelena Vaudeville Theatre, London
1991 A Doll's House Nora The Hole in the Wall Theatre Company, Perth
1992 Miss Julie Miss Julie Sydney Theatre Company
1996 Simpatico Cecilia Sydney Theatre Company
1999 Easy Virtue Larita Chichester, England
2001 Old Times Kate Sydney Theatre Company
2004 Vecchi Tempi Anne Italian tour of Harold Pinter play
2005 Private Lives Amanda Theatre Royal, Bath
2008 Mary Stuart Queen Elizabeth Sydney Theatre
2008 The Deep Blue Sea Hester Theatre Royal, Bath; Vaudeville, London
2010 A Little Night Music Desiree Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. French premiere
2011 Bette and Joan Bette Davis Arts Theatre, London and tour
2013 King Lear Regan The Old Vic, London
2014 The Seagull Madame Arkadina Black Swan Theatre, Perth
2015 The Glass Menagerie Amanda Headlong/West Yorkshire Playhouse/Liverpool Playhouse co-production
2016 The Entertainer Phoebe Rice The Garrick Theatre, London


  1. ^ "Greta Scacchi profile". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  2. ^ Law, Cally; Scacchi, Greta (17 August 2008). "Slight mischief". The Sunday Times. p. 2.
  3. ^ Newbigin, Nerida (4 April 2016). "Giovanni Carsaniga (1934–2016)". Australasian Centre for Italian Studies. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  4. ^ Cornwell, Jane (22 June 2014). "Greta Scacchi: acting royalty". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b "In Conversation… with Greta Scacchi". University of Western Australia. 9 November 2014.
  6. ^ Bosworth, Michael (2000). "Hollywood Senior High School – A History" (PDF). Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  7. ^ "The Octagon Takes a Bow". Uniview. 29 (1): 16–19. Summer 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Greta Scacchi".
  9. ^ Bryce Hallett, Her world's a stage, The Sydney Morning Herald, Metropolitan, 10 February 2001, p.3
  10. ^ "Urban Cinefile Scacchi, Greta - Looking For Alibrandi". 29 May 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  11. ^ George, Sandy (19 November 2000). "Looking For Alibrandi finds five AFI Awards | News | Screen". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  12. ^ Spencer, Charles (10 March 2008). "The Deep Blue Sea: Swept away on an ocean of bitter tears". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  13. ^ Christiansen, Rupert (18 February 2010). "Bittersweet soufflé is a delight". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  14. ^ Brown, Peter (10 May 2011). "Bette & Joan". Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  15. ^ Sydney Morning Herald 18 December 2011
  16. ^ "The Old Vic | King Lear". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  17. ^ Laurie, Victoria (13 August 2014). "Daughter joins Greta Scacchi on stage for Chekhov in Perth". The Australian. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  18. ^ Brennan, Clare (20 September 2015). "The Glass Menagerie review – 3D actors trapped in a 2D production". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  19. ^ Evans, Lloyd (10 September 2016). "John Osborne's The Entertainer is a big, fat, boring slice of prime-time chitchat". The Spectator. London. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  20. ^ Clapp, Susannah (4 September 2016). "The Entertainer review – Kenneth Branagh's off-key swan song". The Observer. London. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  21. ^ Urban, Andrew L. "Scacchi, Greta – Looking for Alibrandi". Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  22. ^ Cornwell, Jane (22 June 2014). "Greta Scacchi: acting royalty". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 October 2018. ...flak she got for her perfectly legal marriage to Carlo Mantegazza, her first cousin and the father of her son Matteo
  23. ^ Macdonald, Marianne (28 September 2008). "Greta Scacchi: glad to be back". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  24. ^ Macdonald, Marianne (28 November 1999). "'Trainspotting, I'd love to do that...'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2015. Her daughter's father is the actor Vincent D'Onofrio, with whom Scacchi had a four-year relationship that ended acrimoniously not long after the baby, Leila, was born
  25. ^ "Greta Scacchi: glad to be back". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  26. ^ "Greta Scacchi: acting royalty". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  27. ^ "Greta Scacchi on having a child with her cousin Carlo Mantegazza". NewsComAu. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  28. ^ "Greta Scacchi". Christian Aid. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  29. ^ Vanessa Thorpe, arts and media correspondent (19 June 2010). "Greta Scacchi revels in her happiest role yet: environmental campaigner | Environment | The Observer". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  30. ^ "Cinema: conferito a Greta Scacchi Ordine a Merito".

External links

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