Noted as much for his collaborations with legendary filmmakers Franko Zeffirelli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Frederico Fellini as for his flamboyant visual style, two-time Oscar-winning costume/production designer Danilo Donati contributed to some of the most colorful and controversial films of his time.
Born in Suzzara, Italy, in 1926, Donati got his start in the film industry as costume designer for Mario Monicelli's The Great War (1959). Though his work with Zeffirelli and Pasolini brought him both an Oscar (Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet ) and a fruitful longtime collaboration (Donati worked on virtually all of Pasolini's films from 1964 to 1975), the heir to Luchino Visconti's tradition received his greatest praise for his work on such Fellini classics as Satyricon (1969), Roma (1972), and Amacord (1972). His work on Fellini's Il Casanova di Frederico Fellini also netted an Oscar, and Donati worked with mentor Visconti in both theater and opera. With international work including costume design for such fantasy films as Flash Gordon (1980) and Red Sonja (1985), Donati was nominated for numerous BAFTA awards, David di Donatello awards, and Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists awards for both his costume and production designs. Donati was also recognized as an author with the publication of Coprifuoco, when he was honored as a finalist for one of Italy's most prestigious literary awards, the Strega prize.
On December 1, 2001, Donati died in Rome of heart failure. His recent work had included elaborate designs for director Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio. He was 75.