Classic Entertainment Autographs

Cat. #0005242: FORTUNIO BONANOVA

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Extremely uncommon vintage 7x8-inch black and white chest-up portrait, signed and inscribed in black fountain pen with his customary abbreviation "F. Bonanova" and dated 1939.  In fairly good condition for its age, with trimming to all four borders, small diagonal chips to the upper and lower right-hand corners, and a few dings and flecks of soiling.  The handsome, fiery Spanish-born operatic baritone was a pupil of the great Feodor Chaliapin and enjoyed a promising career, until the outbreak of his country's Civil War in 1936.  Fleeing to America, he found new work as a character actor in Hollywood films, uniformly cast as excitable, pompous aristocrats, musicians, store managers, or police chiefs of varying Hispanic, Spanish or Italian descent.  He was unforgettable as the exasperated opera coach Signor Matiste, desperately trying not to lose patience with his talentless pupil, Dorothy Comingore, in Citizen Kane (1941); down-on-his-luck Sam Galopis, clumsily attempting insurance fraud in Double Indemnity (1944); and Carmen Trivago, a sad aspiring opera star, who sees his priceless collection of Caruso recordings smashed to pieces by a brutish Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly (1955).  Bonanova also popped up in small roles in Bulldog Drummond in Africa (1938), The Mark of Zorro (1940), Blood and Sand (1941), Four Jacks and a Jill (1942), Girl Trouble (1942), The Black Swan (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), The Song of Bernadette (1943), Five Graves to Cairo (1943), The Sultan's Daughter (1944), Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), Going My Way (1944), Mrs. Parkington (1944), Where Do We Go from Here? (1945), A Bell for Adano (1945), Charlie Chan in The Red Dragon (1945), The Adventures of Don Juan (1948), The Moon Is Blue (1953), and An Affair to Remember (1957).  This is just the first signed portrait of the actor we've ever encountered.