Best known for his long collaboration with Federico Fellini, Italian screenwriter Bernardino Zapponi enjoyed an extensive and fruitful career, highlights of which included scripts for a number of Fellini's most celebrated films and an equally prolific association with director Dino Risi.
A native of Rome, where he was born in 1927, Zapponi got his start writing for radio, television, humor magazines, vaudeville, and revue theater. He began his screenwriting career with the 1966 Dino de Laurentiis production Le Streghe, which featured segments directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Vittorio De Sica, and Luchino Visconti. Zapponi first collaborated with Fellini on the director's orgiastic Fellini Satyricon (1969), and he went on to provide scripts for Fellini's I Clowns (1970), Fellini's Roma (1972), Il Casanova di Fellini (1976), and La Città delle donne (1980). He also wrote the script for "Toby Dammit," the segment Fellini directed for 1968's Tre Passi nel Delirio, and worked with the director on the long-planned but never executed project "Il Viaggio di Mastorna."
In addition to his work with Fellini, Zapponi also earned wide recognition for his longtime collaboration with director Dino Risi. Their association produced a number of hits from the late '60s through the commedia all'italiana heyday of the 1970s, including La Moglie del Prete (1971), Mordi e Fuggi (1973), and I Nuovi Mostri (1978).
Zapponi co-scripted a number of screenplays with other directors, including Polvere Di Stelle (1973) with Alberto Sordi; he also provided the script for Dario Argento's classic 1975 thriller Profondo Rosso. Prior to his death from cardiac arrest in Rome on February 11, 2000, Zapponi published a book about his experiences with Fellini titled My Fellini.