When the news broke that Bud Spencer had passed away, it hit me like one of his patented skull thumps that he perfected on screen. Born Carlo Pedersoli, he picked his stage name by combining his favorite actor, Spencer Tracy, and his favorite beverage, Budweiser.
Spencer was a former Olympian swimmer for his native Italy before he dried off and started acting, landing bit parts, beginning as a Roman centurion in Quo Vadis (1951).
But the burly actor really broke out in series of Spaghetti Westerns, most notably when he teamed up with Terence Hill (Mario Girotti) as a couple of bickering and brawling brothers in the comical spoofs They Call Me Trinity (1970) and Trinity is Still My Name (1971); both director by E.B. Clucher (Enzo Barboni) and, credit where credit is due, dubbed over by Glauco Onorato when Joseph Levine imported them to the States, where they proved to be huge hits, which inspired a decade long run and nearly a dozen films together.
From the very beginning when I first saw a double-feature of the Trinity movies back in the 1970s, I always identified more with Bambino, who always got the short end of the stick, than Trinity, who always wound up with the girl, as they ate, fought and farted through all those pictures.
The two played off each so well. I'm telling ya, Spenser did the best slow burn this side of Oliver Hardy. And when it finally boiled over, he'd start hitting people on the head, dropping them with one blow.
Amazing. A truly wonderful character and character actor. He will be missed.
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