Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Arrivederci, Teodoro

This morning, I received sad confirmation of the passing of actor/writer/dubbing legend Ted Rusoff, the subject of John Charles' feature interview in VIDEO WATCHDOG 159, at the admitted age of 74. This from Ted's sister-in-law, by way of Harvey Chartrand: ""I just got official word from Rome that Ted died on September 28, 2013. He was hit by a car in August and hospitalized near Rome for more than a month. He died in the hospital."

You can look up some of Ted's many (mostly uncharted) accomplishments on the IMDb or on his Wikipedia page. Even he couldn't recollect all the voice work he'd done, in everything from Italian pepla to porno, but his voice befriended all of us who loved European cinema - particularly European genre cinema - since the 1960s. For me, this is a fond farewell to a man I was proud to call my friend.

Ted loved language like no one else I've ever known. According to his daughter Giulia, "He has written poetry, lyrics to songs, music for songs and an opera, 500-plus dubbing scripts, a textbook on the Finnish language, short stories, and screenplays - all of them damn good, but I honestly think this [limerick] ranks near the top of his entire life's literary output...

A certain young dubber from Venice
Was greatly addicted to tenice
He practiced the serve
With both vim and with verve:
Said it lengthened the shaft of his penice.

That was Ted. (And to be perfectly candid, for all I know, Giulia may have been Ted also - she shared his sly way with words, and I've never been completely sure that he wasn't just pulling my leg by adopting the occasional guise of an adoring, erotica-writing, lingerie model daughter. Giulia hasn't responded to any of my queries about her dad's rumored death, so I really can't be sure whether or not I'm saying goodbye to her, as well. I wouldn't put such a prank past him. Pranks ran in his family.) Ted and I became pen pals as the VW piece was heading into print, especially after he received a gift copy of the Bava book, which he admired and respected so much that it replaced the dictionary he considered the best in the world on the lectern in his home. He was a smart, wily, impish devil of a man, and I wish I'd known him a lot longer.

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