Ernesto Crisà was born in the town of Bizerte in Tunisia on March 10, 1924. His parents Francesco and Maria Antonietta Tornabene , they had five other children Vincenzo, Antonino, Alfredo Armando, Eduardo, Rosalia and Giovanna. They lived in an area where cultural life was not very valued at that period. At a time he was playing in a theatre play and he was impressed by this kind of art and he decided then that it would be his future career.. He then decided to move to Paris France and registered at the dancing school of the famous teacher and dancer Preobrajenska. In 1938 he competed in a Mister Muscle competition and won the Europeen title for that year. In 1939 he participated in his first tour as a dancer. Then one day he presented himself at an audition for a role in the Theatre show "Pleasure of France" as Apollo with romans. It is then that he has decided to take the name of Erno Crisa for his artistic career. The fascination he had for the theatre and for the stage took him to the school of Bellachova and of Marchat. This period allowed him to follow those courses to permit him to get into the showbusiness. To survive he worked as a salesman in a perfum company, then he had a few appearances at the Tabarin in "Folies Bergeres" in Paris then in a playhouse stage play called "God is innocent" from Fabre. He also had a part in the play "Crowds for love" by Séguin and then in "The war of Troy will not happen" from Giraudoux and finaly he toured around the world. His perseverance got him noticed by the movie industry and his first appearance was in 1941 in the movie " Saint-Val's mystery" with the actor already known in France Fernandel then other french films before arriving in Italy and to join the theatre troup Wanda Osiris from whom he obtained a role in the "Grand Hotel" then he was presented to different film-makers of the Italian movie who gave him his first chance, Luigi Zampa took him in his film "Heart without border" in 1949 with Raf Vallone and also a new actrice Gina Lollobridgida. Erno with his versatility in dancing, the theatre and the movie acting
was a complet artist and the expression in his face often brought him to play the mean guys roles until the beginning of the western films made in Italy. The years 50 to 60 were rich in his participations in many films of this kind and was appreciated by the public as well as the critics and this opened the doors to the big film-makers such as De Sica, Germi, Zampa and also Felippo and then with well known movie stars such as Alain Delon in the film "Blazing sun" in 1960, Mastroianni, Raf Vallone, Fernandel again in the movie "Don Juan" in 1956. He also worked with Rascel, Gemma, Girotti, Franchi and Lupo but also beautiful women such as S. Mangano, V. Lisi, Gina Lollobridgida, Scala, Michelle Mercier in the film "Angelic and the sultan" in 1968 as well as Spina and Danielle Darieux in the film "Lover of Lady Chatterley" in 1955. Then in 1962-63 in the film "Jasmine" in Iran. In 1966 he played in "Kommisar X". Also a film for television was shot when the Pope Paul VI made his trip to Palestine, Erno played the role of Saint Peter done by Sandro Bochi. He also did a narration of poetry of Leopardiane done by Vittorio Buraffini in different cities. Erno was living in Rome with the wife Giusepina Ferri on the via Buozzi in the area of Parioli near the residence of Rossellini and he moved around the jet set and the different events in the show business at the time but lived in a quiet ambience and serenity. But on the evening of the 5th April 1968 while doing a movie at the Cinecitta studios he was having pains at his head - it was a cerebral homorrhage which lead to his death. He made 90 films in his career with ups and downs but also television appearences and different theatre roles as well, it is at 54 years that he left the showbusiness!!
Translated from Italian by Michel Ponomareff