ROME (AP) – Raffaella Carra ‘, for decades one of the most beloved artists on Italian television, a woman affectionately known as the “queen of Italian television”, died on Monday at the age of 78, her family told Italian state television.
State TV Rai read a statement from the star’s family announcing that she had died in Rome after a long illness. No further details were disclosed.
With her energetic presence and strong, almost hoarse singing voice, the Carra ‘trim was a staple in the early decades of Rai’s heyday, especially when she was the only nationwide TV broadcaster.
With often sexy costumes – daring by state television standards in a country where the Vatican wields considerable influence – Carra ‘has also been credited with helping Italian women gain more confidence in their bodies and sexuality. , once even baring her navel during a television show.
But she could also be terribly chic in her dress and her manners.
La Repubblica newspaper wrote that she had managed to be provocative but still familiar and reassuring to millions of viewers. She was also considered an icon for gay fans due to her cheerful performances.
Her bouncy blonde haircut and bangs, dubbed the helmet look, have been emulated by many fans.
TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister, mourned Carra’s passing, calling her “one of the symbols of Italian television, perhaps the most beloved personality”. In a post on Facebook, Berlusconi said with her television programs, “she knew how to speak to different generations, having the capacity to always stay in tune with the times and without ever falling into vulgarity”.
“She was the lady of Italian television,” Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said. President Sergio Mattarella recalled Carra ‘as the “face of television par excellence – she conveyed, with her talent and sympathy, a message of elegance, kindness and optimism”.
In one of her last interviews, Carra ‘told an Italian magazine that “Italian women found me very likable because I’m not a man eater – you can have sex appeal with sweetness and irony. “
She outraged conservative viewers with a 1971 hit song, “Tuca, Tuca,” a playful corruption of the Italian words “touch, touch,” which she sang by moving her hands up and down over various bodies. men. She performed the number several times with different stars, including a classic version with comedian Alberto Sordi.
A 1980s TV show she starred in, “Fantastico,” drew 25 million viewers, nearly half of Italy’s population at the time.
But it was the 1970s TV variety show “Canzonissima” – basically full of songs – that sealed his reputation as a star. Italians would be glued to their black and white televisions every Saturday night to enjoy the musical variety show, which has kicked off hit songs year after year.
Affectionately known as Raffa, Carra ‘was born Raffaella Maria Roberta Pelloni in Bologna on June 18, 1943. She began her career as a singer, dancer, TV presenter and actress when she was still a child.
Subsequent shows included a noon talk show called “Pronto Raffaella” (“Hello, Raffaella”). Some shows were tailor-made for her exuberant performing style, most notably “Carramba! Che Sorpresa,” (“Carramba! What a surprise ”) who made her debut in 1995 and whose title played her name and her years as a presenter in Spain.
Carrà became popular in Spain and Latin America in the mid-1970s, especially thanks to translations of some of her catchy hits – “Fiesta” and “Caliente, Caliente”, among others – which she recorded in Spanish.
With a penchant for bodycon dresses and jumpsuits, the singer brought a breath of fresh air to Spanish televisions with new choreography to disco beats at a time when the strongly Catholic country was just emerging from four decades of dictatorship. strict conservative.
It was then that Carrà made her Spanish debut with a 10 minute performance in a musical program called “Ladies and Gentlemen!” “(” Señoras y señores! “), What the Italian singer seduces many Spaniards by her spontaneity.
Carra ‘was not married. She had no children, but a former companion, director and television choreographer Sergio Japino, quoted her as often saying: “I have not had children but I have had thousands” , according to the newspaper Corriere della Sera. This referred to the 150,000 needy children over the years for whom she helped generate financial sponsors through one of her TV shows called “Amore” (“Love”).
PA correspondent Aritz Parra contributed from Madrid.