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Franca Rame, 84, Italian actress, senator, wife of Nobel laureate

(FILE PHOTO) FrancRame was one Italy's most admired stage performers playwrights who was also elected Italian senate 2006 but resigned

(FILE PHOTO) Franca Rame was one of Italy's most admired stage performers and playwrights who was also elected to the Italian senate in 2006 but resigned within two years. Rame was best known as the wife and professional partner of the actor-playwright Dario Fo. MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 13: Franca Rame attends the national demonstration to appeal for greater dignity for Italian women on February 13, 2011 in Milan, Italy. Thousands of women gathered this morning in many cities in Italy to demonstrate against the recent sex scandals surrounding Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

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Updated: June 13, 2013 12:37AM

MILAN — Franca Rame, an Italian actress and wife of Nobel laureate Dario Fo, died Wednesday at the age of 84 after a long illness.

Ms. Rame’s death was marked with a moment of silence in Parliament, where she served as a senator from 2006 to 2008, and President Giorgio Napolitano praised her ‘‘passionate civic engagement.”

Born into a theatrical family, Ms. Rame was a stage and film actress who married the actor and playwright Fo in 1954 in Milan’s St. Ambrose Cathedral.

The couple founded theater companies that thrived on political satire, winning acclaim from progressive audiences and critics, but also upsetting the powerful.

In the 1970s she began writing plays herself, including ‘‘The Rape,” about her experience being brutalized in 1973 by far-right extremists.

In 1980, Ms. Rame and Fo were refused entry visas to the United States because of their support for left-wing activities in Italy. Then, in 1984, the U.S. government relented and allowed the couple to visit and see the New York production of ‘‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist.”

The play, Fo’s most internationally known, is a work of fiction based on real-life events involving the suspicious death of an anarchist who fell from the window of the Milan police station.

Fo dedicated his 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature to Ms. Rame.

She is survived by Fo and a son.


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