Born in Misericordia, Arezzo, Tuscany, on 27 October 1952.
He started his career performing in grotesque one-man shows. In 1976 he began appearing in popular television series; his first screen roles followed - Coffee and Cigarettes (1986), Il piccolo diavolo (1988), La voce della luna (1989), Night on Earth (1991), Johnny Stecchino (1991), Il figlio della pantera rosa (1993), Il mostro (1994), la vita è bella (1997), Asterix e Obelix contro Cesare (1999).
Making his debut as a director in 1982, his breakthrough as a character actor came in 1986 when he appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law. In 1999 he became the first actor
ever to receive an Oscar (also for directing) in a non-English-language role, for his performance in the Holocaust comedy La vita è bella. He is married to actor Nicoletta Braschi.
(Berlin film festival)