Farewell in 1999
On 8 June 1999 Corrado Mantoni died in Rome. We know practically everything about his very long television career and the programs he led and led to success, but very little news has always been leaked about his private life: the conductor has always jealously guarded his privacy.
Beginnings in radio
Born in Rome on August 2, 1924, in the early 1940s Corrado landed on the radio after abandoning university studies – he had enrolled in the Faculty of Law – because he was strongly attracted by the world of entertainment (his older brother Riccardo was already an actor and dubber). He took his first steps in an American broadcaster in Italy and then moved on to EIAR – the future Rai – in Milan.
The meeting with Luciana Guerra
It was precisely in the Lombard capital, while the Second World War was still raging, that Corrado met his first wife, Luciana Guerra (originally from Bereguardo, in the province of Pavia, who died in 2005). At the time the conductor was conducting the program “Radio Naja” dedicated to the military and after a few years of engagement the two decided to get married in 1949.
The birth of his son Roberto
The first years of marriage coincided with the beginning of Corrado’s great success: in the fifties he was the only presenter of Radio Rai and, already in the middle of the decade, he began to hang out on television. In 1953 the love between Corrado and Luciana Guerra was crowned by the birth of their only son, Roberto.
Immediately after «Canzonissima» (1970-1971), however, the relationship between the two spouses began to creak, and in 1972, after 23 years together, they divorced. A few years later Corrado met the then 24-year-old Marina Donato, a former editorial secretary of a Catholic periodical. The two began a collaboration in a company that organized traveling shows and, day after day, despite the age difference (the conductor was 48 years old) the spark struck between the two.
The work side by side
During their relationship Corrado and Marina Donato continued to work side by side. Their (fruitful) artistic partnership gave birth to some of the greatest television successes, from «Lunch is served» (1982-1992), for which Donato was executive producer, to «Tira & Molla» (1996-1998) , a program conceived by the couple with Stefano Jurgens and Stefano Santucci, up to «La Corrida» (on TV since 1986).
The second marriage
On 27 June 1996, after 23 years of living together, Corrado and Marina Donato got married. The ceremony, kept top secret until the end, was officiated by the then mayor of Rome Francesco Rutelli on the Campidoglio. Among the 22 guests there was also the leader of Forza Italia Silvio Berlusconi, who in 1982 – when he was the owner of Fininvest – had snatched Corrado from Rai.
The best memory
Corrado’s best memory? Marina once revealed it as a guest on the Maurizio Costanzo Show: «The alarm clock in the morning. For at least ten minutes I don’t speak, I don’t listen and I don’t do anything and Corrado waits for me to get in tune with the rest of the world. At a certain moment he regularly said to me: “Se po ‘parlà?”. And that was where our day began.”