Cameo in American TV-Westerns

Just curious nothing more, but how come you never heard of Italian actors working in American films or cameo in American TV-westerns?
Example: Anthony Steffen, and John Garko, or perhaps Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. I personally would have loved to have seen Terence Hill guest-star on “Gunsmoke” as a relative to Festus.


My guess would be that with the language barrier and the fact that there were American actors lined up out their doors just waiting for any part they could get that they didn’t see the value of it. After all, jobs over here were so hard to come by that American actors where going to Europe just to find work. Probably arrogance as well…they probably didn’t want to waste their time with what they considered to be second-tier talent who made trashy Italian films to be in their productions.

Just an uneducated guess on my part.


On the other hand, Italians did go to the States, e.g. Leone to make a movie, or later Corbucci and Hill/Spencer also making movies there.


The language barrier is the big part of why it wasn’t done. Although Terence Hill attempted a Hollywood career that pretty much started and ended with Mr. Billion, the only Italian-native spaghetti western actor to have much of a career in English-language movies was Franco Nero, who speaks pretty good English. (He probably had to in order to live with Vanessa Redgrave, who I don’t think speaks Italian.) Cinecittà during the 1960s was probably the leader in dubbing voices post-production, as few of the films to come out of there were shot with synchronized sound back then. Furthermore, trans-Atlantic telephone communication before the mid-1970s was pretty difficult; international calls needed to be booked in advance through an operator. Similarly, long-distance air travel was more difficult, as the number of flights was much lower than it is today. Also the heyday of American westerns production peaked in the 1950s; by 1963, once popular weekly western TV shows like The Rifleman, Maverick and Have Gun, Will Travel were off the air, and Hollywood really cut back on the number of western feature films that it produced. So at the time spaghetti westerns were becoming popular, production of westerns in the United States had been sharply curtailed, thus there really wasn’t any call for one-shot appearance by a European actor. And really, although I think it would have been a hoot to see, I cannot imagine how Gianni Garko or Anthony Steffan would fit in an episode of Bonanza or Gunsmoke. But I would find Garko gunning down the entire Cartwright clan to be eminently watchable.


Also March or Die (1977) foreign legion movie with Gene Hackman. Big flop also I think which I saw many years ago on ITV in UK.