Guido Orefice
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Guido Orefice

Life Is Beautiful

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About Him

Grew Up… hardly. Guido is still a child at heart – his enthusiasm for life, his fascination with the world and his magical thinking make him a joy to be around.

Living… through tumultuous times. Though you’d never know that Italy is sliding into fascist rule heading into World War II judging by Guido’s good humor and constant smile. While his country hands itself over to barbarians, Guido continues to smile and revel in life’s little joys. But as a Jew, he will soon be under attack himself.

Profession… hotel waiter. Guido works at his uncle’s hotel – which has come under attack from fascist hooligans – but he wants more for his career. Guido aspires to own his own bookstore one day, but the fascist bureaucracy is making it hard for him.

Relationship Status… courting the beautiful, aristocratic Dora. Guido, a simple country peasant, believes that he can steal Dora away from her pre-ordained husband. To endear himself to her, he calls her “principessa.” He exclaims to her: “You’re even in my dreams!”

Challenge… protecting himself from the vile, anti-Semitic fascists. As the war progresses, Guido receives a daily bombardment from government officials, bureaucrats, and, eventually Nazis. The only weapon that he has is humor, and he deploys it even in the midst of his worst nightmares. And with Jewish familes being dispatched to concentration camps, those nightmares are quite real indeed.

Personality… goofy, eccentric and kind-hearted. Guido has a joke ready for any situation. His smile is ever-present and his outlook is always upbeat. Even in the lowliest, most desperate situations, Guido can find a way to bring a smile to your face.

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