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Marta Abba

Marta Abba

Marta Abba was the stimulus to the playwright Luigi Pirandello's creativity. She was an aspiring young 25-year-old actress when she met the 58-year-old playwright, whose wife had been confined to a mental asylum in 1919. From their correspondence it comes out how she not only inspired him but she also gave the writer confidence in his work. Their relationship was complex but contributed much to the Italian theatre. 

Marta Abba and Pirandello teamed up in 1925, and she appeared in many of his productions at the Rome Arts Theater. In 1930, Abba founded her own theatrical company and specialized in staging the works of Pirandello and other European playwrights like George Bernard Shaw, Gabriele d'Annunzio and Carlo Goldoni under the direction of prestigious directors like Max Reinhardt and Guido Salvini. Her Broadway theatre debut was in the play Tovarich at the Plymouth Theatre (1936), in the role of Grand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna. Marta Abba's screen début in Broadway was in Loyalty of Love, in 1937. In January 1938 she married a wealthy Cleveland polo player, Severance Allen Millikin and settled down in Cleveland, Ohio until 1952, when she divorced and returned to Italy. The last years of her life she suffered from paresis and had to use a wheelchair. She died, at 87, from a cerebral hemorrhage. She published her autobiography in Italian, La mia vita di attrice.


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Samuel French Titles by Marta Abba