Bud Spencer – The Man Whose Faith Gave Meaning To His Life

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At home, in the family, Bud Spencer was called “the alien”. Namely because he always behaved in the opposite way to what most people would do in a given situation. If they spoke rudely to him, he never spoke back, if he had to worry about something, he never got upset, they couldn’t get him out of his way. He didn’t care about unimportant things that poison everyday life, he could always let them go.

In the film “Following Piedone”, in addition to his wife, son and two daughters, fellow athletes and actor friends tell stories about the legendary actor, who only a few people know was also a recognized athlete. What’s more, he never wanted to be an actor, and he chose his stage name so as not to jeopardize the merits he gained as an athlete under his real name. He swam and played water polo, participated in two Olympics, and played several times on Margitsziget, which was especially close to his heart. He considered the Hungarians to be a special, cohesive people, and György Kárpáti to be the best athlete in the world.

“You Hungarians can be proud of yourselves. The Hungarian people are indeed a real people, which cannot be said about us Italians. We pull apart, you stick together. Even their language shows how special they are. Hungarian is perhaps the most difficult language in the world. Not to mention their athletes. As a water polo player, I experienced how difficult it is to play against the Hungarians”

he says in the film “Following Piedone” to the director Levente Király, who visited the then 84-year-old actor at his home in Rome. He traveled to see her at his own expense, on a private road, he didn’t know at the time that the conversation would become a movie. He contacted Bud Spencer through his son, who then welcomed him with great love (with coffee and homemade cake) and devoted his whole day to him: he could stay with him until midnight. Levente Király has been a fan of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill’s films since childhood, and as he told about it in an interview, Bud Spencer brought so many smiles and joy to his face that as an adult he felt obliged to give something back. As a sign of his gratitude and thanks, he filmed the film, in which he shows the human side of the actor to the viewers.

What was Carlo Pedersoli, aka Bud Spencer, like? He’s really the way we’ve come to love him in his movies. He loved to live. He loved his family, children, music, Naples (his hometown), delicious food. Even as a child, he stood out from the others, not only with his stature, but also with his outstanding knowledge and enthusiasm. Skipping one class, he went from the fourth to the sixth grade high school, and then at the age of 16 he already went to university. He graduated from university three times, studying law, chemistry and psychology, but he was also interested in history and philosophy. After finishing his sports career, he started acting after his producer father-in-law asked him to participate in a film where they were looking for a character similar to him.

That’s when he took the name Bud Spencer, which he put together from the names of his favorite actor (Spencer Tracy) and his favorite beer brand (Budweiser). He also grew a beard at that time. He never considered himself a real actor, he said he was just acting. He always rehearsed the scenes in glasses, because his eyesight was very bad, his eyes were worn out by the salt and chlorine during the years spent in the water. During filming, however, he took off his glasses, at which time his co-stars were very nervous, so that he wouldn’t miss a slap or two, but he never hit anyone, he had a great memory. Although his films are famous for slapstick, he did not like violence (he dreamed of ending all wars) and was always on the good side. Once, according to the script, he was supposed to fight with a knife, but they rewrote the scene because of it and ended up swording him with a cane.

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He was creative, always full of ideas, which he implemented. He patented several of his inventions. For example, he invented an electric toothbrush that can be used on airplanes, from which toothpaste comes out by pressing a button. He had his own airline, pilot’s license and helicopter. During the Irpinia disaster, he himself delivered and threw the aid packages to the earthquake victims from the plane. Because he always paid attention to the downtrodden and the needy, his philosophy of life was charity. As a UNICEF ambassador, he helped his peers, the visually impaired. He campaigned against the use of drugs and all kinds of medicine, he did not like anything unnatural. After the above, it is perhaps not surprising that Bud Spencer was a deeply religious, Christian person and lived his life in this deep faith.

“My religion is Catholic, which I got from my parents. Faith is a necessity for me. I need it every day, and not only because my parents said, son, be a believer, but because it gives meaning to my life. Without him, I would only have animal instincts and would not be who I am. Not an athlete, not an actor, not a person. God is difficult to put into words. But I know it exists. I want to know what it will be like to live near him. To my soul. Because our body will no longer be there with us. Until then, faith remains, which gives me a lot of strength. When a person goes out into life, he has to decide which religion he belongs to. I am Catholic, and this gives me the certainty that something happens to us even after death.”

On one occasion, while filming, he received the news: he had been diagnosed with cancer. He was immediately treated, received injections, and then went back to work. He didn’t tell anyone about his illness, he didn’t deal with it, he was the same as before: he ate big, played the guitar, sang during filming breaks. By the time filming was over, the doctors were shocked to discover at the follow-up examination that the tumor had miraculously disappeared.

He passed away at the age of 86. On his deathbed, he encouraged the family members gathered around him, saying that he had received so much in life. He considered life on earth to be only a temporary period, and he taught this to his children as well. He already wanted to go to the afterlife, to meet the Good Lord. He wanted to experience the warmth and directness of God. His last words were: “Thank you!” His co-star and friend Mario Girotti, i.e. Terence Hill, said goodbye to him like this:
Nothing happens by accident. Life is eternal and Bud is already in the joy of eternal existence”.

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