December 4, 1932 (Corleone, Sicily, Italy)- June 27, 1989 (Rome)
While he excelled primarily as a director of comedies, the five Spaghetti Westerns of Michele Lupo are an eclectic and memorable mix, spanning the early days of the genre all the way up to the post twilight years. Lupo started his career in the 1950s, working often as an assistant director. In 1961, Lupo got his first big break, working as Sergio Leone’s assistant director in Colossus of Rhodes. Lupo went on to be main director in 23 more films. His first western was the Franco and Ciccio comedy, For a Fist in the Eye aka Fistful of Knuckles (1965). The next year he made Arizona Colt (1966), which proved to be very successful, starring Italian box office King Giuliano Gemma. He worked with Gemma again in the western comedy, Ben and Charlie (1972). In 1977, Lupo made arguably his finest western, California, once again starring Gemma. The film’s sentimentality and bleakness was a surprising departure from his earlier lighthearted fare. He returned to comedy for his final western, Buddy Goes West (1981), starring Bud Spencer. Outside of the genre, Lupo’s best known films were collaborations with Spencer, including Bulldozer (1978), E.T. and the Sheriff (1979), and Bomber (1982).
Year of Induction: 2016