Screenwriter Age dies at age 86

The Oscar-nominated screenwriter Age, who co-wrote some of Italy's finest comedies and worked with such directors as Mario Monicelli and Sergio Leone, has died, officials said Wednesday. He was 86. Age, whose real name was Agenore Incrocci, died Tuesday in the Rome hospital where he was being treated, according to the ANSA news agency.

Age and longtime collaborator Furio Scarpelli wrote dozens of Italian comedies starting in the late 1950s, including "I Soliti Ignoti" ("Big Deal on Madonna Street"), the 1958 classic directed by Monicelli, and a year later "La Grande Guerra" ("The Great War") by the same director.

Age, (pronounced AH'-jaye), and Scarpelli won praise for their ability to observe the vices and qualities of the Italian people and distill them in a few catching lines. The 1971 movie "In Nome del Popolo Italiano," ("In the Name of the Italian People") by Dino Risi, pitted an upright magistrate investigating a murder case against a rich vulgar Italian businessman, played masterfully by Vittorio Gassman, the AP reports.

Two other movies by Monicelli, "I Compagni" ("The Organizer") and "Casanova 70," earned Age and Scarpelli back-to-back Oscar nominations for best screenplay in 1965 and 1966, respectively. Condolences have poured in.

Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni, a movie buff, said in a statement that Age wrote "some of the most beautiful pages of our cinema." He said the duo's style "made the heart of Italian comedy beat." Age's career spanned half a century.

A native of Brescia, in northern Italy, he dropped out of law school and started contributing to humorist publications in the 1930s. After World War II, he began writing for the big screen, his first important script a 1949 movie starring Toto. A decade later he and Scarpelli established themselves as leading screenwriters.

In 1966 they ventured into the spaghetti-western genre, co-writing Leone's acclaimed "Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo" ("The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"), starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef. A.M.

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