From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Anna Magnani (pronounced: mahn-YANEE; 7 March 1908 – 26 September 1973) was an Italian stage and film actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress, along with four other international awards, for her portrayal of a Sicilian widow in The Rose Tattoo. Born in Rome to an Egyptian father and an Italian mother, she worked her way through Romes Academy of Dramatic Art by singing at night clubs. During her career, her only child was stricken by polio when he was 18 months old and remained crippled. She was referred to as La Lupa, the perennial toast of Rome and a living she-wolf symbol of the cinema. Time magazine described her personality as fiery, and drama critic Harold Clurman said her acting was volcanic. In the realm of Italian cinema, she was passionate, fearless, and exciting, an actress that film historian Barry Monush calls the volcanic earth mother of all Italian cinema. Director Roberto Rossellini called her the greatest acting genius since Eleonora Duse. Playwright Tennessee Williams became an admirer of her acting and wrote The Rose Tattoo specifically for her to star in, a role for which she received her first Oscar in 1955. After meeting director Goffredo Alessandrini she received her first screen role in La cieca di Sorrento (The Blind Woman of Sorrento) (1934) and later achieved international fame in Rossellinis Rome, Open City (1945), considered the first significant movie to launch the Italian neorealism movement in cinema. As an actress she became recognized for her dynamic and forceful portrayals of earthy lower-class women in such films as The Miracle (1948), Bellissima (1951), The Rose Tattoo (1955), The Fugitive Kind (1960), with Marlon Brando and directed by Sidney Lumet, and Mamma Roma (1962).