Vittorio Mussolini, son of dictator

Published June 15, 1997|Updated Oct. 1, 2005

Vittorio Mussolini, a filmmaker and the second child of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, has died at age 80.

Mr. Mussolini, who made a documentary about his father in 1983, died of kidney failure on Thursday at a Rome clinic, said Carlo Alvino, spokesman for his niece, Alessandra Mussolini.

In the 1930s and early 1940s, Vittorio Mussolini was devoted to film. He edited the journal Cinema and produced movies with early screenplays by Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni.

But he faithfully obeyed his father's wishes and joined the Fascist cause. He served with the Italian air force in 1936 during the campaign in Ethiopia.

After Italy's armistice with the allies in 1943, Mr. Mussolini joined other Fascist officials in Germany and made radio appeals for support for Benito Mussolini's rump Fascist state in northern Italy.

After the war, Vittorio Mussolini went to South America, traveling and operating a series of small restaurants, Alvino said. He returned to Italy in the mid-1960s and lived on a pension, venturing occasionally into the film world.

In recent years, he lived in Villa Carpena, the Mussolini family residence in Predappio. He organized family gatherings and tours, collected historical materials and was writing a book about the dictator, Alvino said.

In 1990, he protested the use of the word "Fascist" on two plaques recalling a 1980 bombing at the Bologna train station. The blast was attributed to right-wing terrorists.

Vittorio Mussolini's death leaves Romano Mussolini as the only surviving child of Il Duce.