EXPIRED: 01/16/10 – Felice Quinto, 80, as the inspiration for Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita and was often was referred to as the ‘king of the paparazzi’ – a term derived from the character Paparazzo in Fellini’s movie.
Quinto pioneered many of the aggressive tactics that celebrity photographers use today – hiding in bushes, wearing disguises and zipping around Rome on a motorcycle, taking photos that appeared in gossip publications around the world.
Case in point: In 1960, Quinto snapped a photo of actress Anita Ekberg kissing a married movie producer at a cafe in Rome. Ekberg shot arrows, literally, at him as he stood outside her house at 5am. One nicked Quinto’s hand, and another struck a photographer’s car.
The photographer was born in Milan in 1929 and befriended Fellini while living in Rome in the 1950s.
According to his wife, Fellini asked Quinto to play a photographer in La Dolce Vita, but he declined because he was making more money taking pictures. He briefly appeared in the film as a bystander.
By 1963 he moved to the United States to work for The Associated Press. One of his first jobs was to cover John F. Kennedy’s funeral and various civil rights marches.
But he was best known for his celebrity photography. He worked at the famed Studio 54 nightclub in the 1970s, and was Elizabeth Taylor’s personal photographer for a time.
He agreed that he was often a pest to celebrities. But he had few regrets.
“People are human,” he said in 1997. ‘They want to see these pictures, and there is too much money to be made.’