Actress. Raised in poverty by her maternal grandmother in Rome, Italy after her mother left her, she worked her way through Rome's Academy of Dramatic Art by singing in cabarets and nightclubs. She then began touring the countryside with small repertory companies. Although she had a small role in a silent film in the late 1920s, she was not known as a film actress until 1941's "Teresa Venerdi," directed by Vittorio DiSica. Her breakthrough film was Roberto Rossellini's "Open City" in 1945, generally regarded as the first commercially successful Italian "neorealist" film of the postwar years. It was the film that gained her an international reputation. From then on, she never stopped working in films and in television, winning an A cademy Award for her performance in the screen version of Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo" (she and Williams were close friends), and working all of Italy's leading directors of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. She was famous for her earthy, passionate, woman-of-the-soil" roles. She and Rossellini were lovers for some years after "Open City," until he began his infamous affair with Ingrid Bergman. Anna had one child out of wedlock by Italian actor Massimo Serato, the boy later stricken with polio and Anna dedicating her life to caring for him. Her one marriage, to Italian director Goffredo Alessandrini in the mid 1930s, lasted only a short while and ended in an annulment. Her last film was Fellini's "Roma," in 1972. She died in Rome of a pancreatic tumor the next year.
Bio by: Tanya Jackson