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Greta Scacchi

Greta Scacchi (born 18 February 1960) is an Italian-Australian actor.

Early life[]

Scacchi was born Greta Gracco in Milan, Italy, on 18 February 1960, the daughter of Luca Scacchi Gracco, an Italian art dealer and painter, and Pamela Carsaniga, an English dancer and antiques dealer.[1][2] 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.[3] In 1975 after her mother's remarriage to Giovanni Carsaniga,[4] the family settled in Perth, Australia, where she attended Hollywood Senior High School and the University of Western Australia (UWA).[5] She made her theatrical debut at UWA's New Dolphin Theatre in Edward Bond's play Early Morning.[6]


Greta as Isabel in Fires Within.

In 1977 Scacchi left UWA to return to England to pursue an acting career, studying at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, with Miranda Richardson and Amanda Redman. In 1982 she made her film debut in the German movie, Das Zweite Gesicht (The Second Face), and gave versatile performances in films, such as Heat and Dust (1983), The Ebony Tower (1984), The Coca Cola Kid (1985), White Mischief (1987), Presumed Innocent (1990), Fires Within (1991), The Player (1992) and Country Life (1994). She turned down the role of Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct (1992).[7]

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 2007 she received an Emmy Award nomination for 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 and has been an asset when working for European directors and producers.

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.[8]

Personal life[]

Greta Scacchi 05.jpg

Between 1983 and 1989, she dated New Zealand singer Tim Finn. Then, later in 1989, she married American actor Vincent D'Onofrio.[9] In march 1992, Greta gave birth to a daughter with D'Onofrio, Leila George D'Onofrio. However, Scacchi and D'Onifrio divorced in 1993 when their daughter was just six months old. Scacchi also has a son, Matteo Mantegazza (born September 1997), by her Italian first cousin, Carlo Mantegazza.[10]

Scacchi applied for British citizenship after turning 18, but was turned down because her father was not a British citizen. After appealing unsuccessfully, she decided not to apply for it again, and retained her Italian citizenship.[11] In January 1995, she became an Australian citizen and has since had dual nationality.

She lived for many years in Hurstpierpoint until moving in early 2011 to a rented property in East Grinstead because of a dispute with her neighbour.[12]


  • Bergerac, Series 1, Episode 10, The Hood and the Harlequin BBC Television (1981)
  • Das Zweite Gesicht (1982)
  • Dead on Time (1983)
  • Heat and Dust (1983)
  • The Ebony Tower (1984)
  • Camille (1984) TV
  • Waterfront (1984) TV
  • Defence of the Realm (1985)
  • Burke & Wills (1985)
  • Dr. Fischer of Geneva (1985) TV
  • The Coca-Cola Kid (1985)
  • Carve You In Marble (August 1986)
  • White Mischief (1987)
  • Good Morning, Babylon (1987)
  • A Man in Love (Un homme amoureux) (1987)
  • The Moon Woman (1988)
  • Love and Fear (1988)
  • Three Sisters (1988)
  • Presumed Innocent (1990)
  • Shattered (1991)
  • Fires Within (1991)
  • Salt on Our Skin (1992)
  • The Player (1992)
  • Turtle Beach (1992)
  • Country Life (1994)
  • The Browning Version (1994)
  • Jefferson in Paris (1995)
  • Emma (1996)
  • Cosi (1996)
  • Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996) TV
  • The Odyssey (1997) TV
  • The Serpent's Kiss (1997)
  • Love and Rage (1998)
  • The Red Violin (1998)
  • Macbeth (1998) TV
  • Ladies Room (1999)
  • Cotton Mary (1999)
  • Tom's Midnight Garden (1999)
  • The Manor (1999)
  • Looking for Alibrandi (1999)
  • Christmas Glory 2000 (2000) TV
  • One of the Hollywood Ten (2000)
  • The Farm (2001) TV
  • Festival in Cannes (2001)
  • Jeffrey Archer: The Truth (2002) TV
  • Daniel Deronda (2002) TV
  • The Buzz of the Flies (2003)
  • Baltic Storm (2003)
  • Beyond the Sea (2004)
  • Under False Name (2004)
  • Flightplan (2005)
  • Broken Trail (2006)
  • Marple: By the Pricking of my Thumbs (2006)
  • The Book of Revelation (2006)
  • Hidden Love (2007)
  • Brideshead Revisited (2008)
  • Shoot on Sight (2008)
  • Miss Austen Regrets (2008)
  • The Trojan Horse (2008) TV
  • Ways to Live Forever (2010)
  • Hindenburg (2011) TV


Greta as Isabel in Fires Within.

  • She is known for being a perfectionist in her performances, and often spends a long time preparing for each role in order to make her performance as authentic as possible.
  • In 1988, she shared an apartment in Los Angeles with her friend and fellow actress Valeria Golino.
  • She learned to speak German especially for her role in Das Zweite Gesicht (The Second Face).
  • She turned down the role later taken by Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
  • Because she'd never had them done previously, she had to have her ears pierced especially for her role as Isabel in the movie Fires Within. She had them pierced as part of her usual meticulous preparations for the role so that she would be able to wear the large gold hoop earrings favoured by many Cuban women, which she felt would help make her performance more authentic.
  • She started smoking especially for her role in White Mischief.
  • Her last name is pronounced "Skacky" and is Italian for "chess".
  • She was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996.


  1. Greta Scacchi Biography (1960–)
  2. "Greta Scacchi". The Guardian (London). http://film.guardian.co.uk/Player/Player_Page/0,,45425,00.html. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  3. Law, Cally; Greta Scacchi (17 August 2008). "Slight mischief". The Sunday Times: p. 2. 
  4. Greta Scacchi Biography – Yahoo! Movies
  5. Bosworth, Michael (2000). "Hollywood Senior High School – A History" (PDF). http://shenton.wa.edu.au/dreamgirl/filesend/225/Hollywood%20History.pdf. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  6. "The Octagon Takes a Bow". Uniview 29 (1): 16–19. Summer, 2010. http://uniview.publishing.uwa.edu.au/?f=273786. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  7. Bryce Hallett, Her world's a stage, Sydney Morning Herald, Metropolitan, 10 February 2001, p.3
  8. "BETTE & JOAN" at londontheatre.co.uk
  9. Macdonald, Marianne (2008-09-28). "Greta Scacchi: glad to be back". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/3561370/Greta-Scacchi-glad-to-be-back.html. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  10. Maher, Kevin (2008-04-26). "Greta Scacchi takes on Miss Austen Regrets". The Times. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article3807296.ece. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  11. Urban, Andrew L.. "Scacchi, Greta – Looking for Alibrandi". http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=3540. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  12. Walker, Emily (2011-02-05). "Greta Scacchi's "driven out" of Sussex dream home". The Argus. http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/8833906.Greta_Scacchi_s__driven_out__of_Sussex_dream_home/. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 

External links[]