(JTA) – Roberto Benigni, the non-Jewish Italian actor who won Academy Awards for his Holocaust film “Life Is Beautiful,” will be part of the delegation accompanying Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to Washington.
Benign, according to Italian media, will attend a dinner at the White House for the delegation, hosted by President Obama, on Tuesday, following official talks between Obama and Renzi.
Benigni is one of Italy’s most noted actors and comedians, but he is best known in the United States for the 1997 comedy-drama “Life Is Beautiful,” which he co-wrote, directed, and starred in. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language film, best musical score, and, for Benigni, best actor in a leading role. The film tells the story of a Jewish father and son deported from Italy to a Nazi death camp, where the father, played by Benigni, uses humor to protect his son from the horrors of the Holocaust.