Raffaella Carrà, one of the greatest Italian showgirls, died at the age of 78 on Monday, July 5th, after an illness that - said her former partner Sergio Japino - "for some time had attacked her body each minute, but yet she was full of energy". Making the announcement, in a statement given to news agencies, was Sergio Japino, director of all her shows and, for many years, her partner. He continued:
"Raffaella has left us. She has gone to a better world, where her humanity, her unmistakable laughter and her extraordinary talent will always shine through," he said, "joining the pain of her adored grandchildren Federica and Matteo, of Barbara, Paola and Claudia Boncompagni, of her lifelong friends and closest collaborators.
Raffaella Carrà - whose real name was Raffaella Maria Roberta Pelloni - was born in Bologna on June 18, 1943. She had begun her endless career in show business (singer, dancer, presenter, actress, author) at the age of 9, in 1952: and despite her enormous success, she managed to avoid worldliness, hosting, gossip. An unstoppable strength, which imposed her to the top of the world star system, an iron will that until the last moment never abandoned her, made sure that nothing leaked of her deep suffering. The umpteenth gesture of love towards her public and towards those who shared her affection, so that her personal ordeal would not disturb the bright memory of her.”
"Thousands of children"
In the note, Japino describes Raffaella Carrà as an "uncommon woman, yet endowed with a disarming simplicity; she had no children, yet she had thousands of children - she used to say - like the 150,000 children she had adopted at a distance thanks to "Amore", the program that remained in her heart the most".
It is not yet known when, nor where, the funeral will take place. It is known instead - and it is always Japino to communicate it - that "in her last dispositions, Raffaella has asked for a simple coffin of rough wood and an urn to contain her ashes. In the saddest hour, always unique and inimitable, like her overwhelming laughter. And this is how we all want to remember her.”
The terror of the pandemic and the arrival of the disease
Raffaella was a strong, witty, kind, modern woman. And she was like that until the end. She had suffered so much from the closures, the lack of sociability. She had admitted to being afraid, to being shut in. And even at the beginning of this year, she was out of sight, partly because of Covid, which had not yet left us, and partly because of her illness, which she wanted to keep hidden from everyone. In her great humanity, she wanted to be remembered for her laugh, her perfect blond bob, her optimism, her contagious cheerfulness. She detested compassion and never wanted to appear tired, sad, or sick. Her last gesture of generosity towards her audience.
The celebration by the Guardian
Carrà - very famous not only in Italy, but also in Spain, "a gay icon for my songs and my cheerfulness" - was celebrated last November by a long article in the British newspaper "Guardian", which put in a row some of the most famous passages of her artistic career - from the navel shown during Canzonissima to "A far l'amore comincia tu", from "Tanti auguri" to "Tuca Tuca" with Enzo Paolo Turchi, saved from RAI censorship by Alberto Sordi - and crowned her the "Italian pop star who taught Europe the joy of sex.”
"Certainly Italian women have great sympathy for me because I'm not a man-eater: you can have sex appeal along with sweetness and irony, you don't have to be Rita Hayworth."
She had been unable to have children and had suffered greatly when her doctor told her at age 40 that she had no hope. But she did not lose heart. She adopted many children from a distance and lived her motherhood-paternity dedicating herself to her two grandchildren, Federica and Matteo, children of her beloved brother who died prematurely: for them she was a mother and a constant point of reference. And she continued to live a profound bond with Boncompagni's three daughters, Claudia, Paola and Barbara, to whom she was a mother from the time of her love affair with Gianni. And so Raffaella, even without natural children, was a woman capable of living motherhood and even fatherhood. She was always there for her children.
Raffaella was a strong woman, free, against the tide. A woman who had made freedom and happiness her flag. Raffaella Maria Roberta Pelloni was born in Bologna on June 18, 1943 and spent the first years of her life in Bellaria: her father ran a bar and her grandmother an ice cream parlour. She lived there until she was 10 years old. Then she returned to Bologna. She once recounted, "My parents separated, it was my mom, my brother, my grandmother and me. And mom always found a way to make us happy". A peaceful childhood that always remained in her heart, even when she moved to Rome for work.