“King of Paparazzi” Dies in Rockville

Photographer Credited With Molding Modern View of Celebrities

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Nikon

    The man credited with launching the era of the paparazzi photographer has died.

    Felice Quinto, 80, succumbed to pneumonia at his Rockville, Md., home on Jan. 16, according to his wife.

    Often called the “king of the paparazzi,” Quinto pioneered aggressive techniques for taking pictures of celebrities.

    Quinto launched his career in his native city of Milan, Italy. He would loiter in cafes and hide in bushes, waiting to get the perfect shot of an unsuspecting famous person eating dinner. He went to great lengths, including disguising himself and racing his motorcycle alongside cars carrying celebrities.

    Quinto is believed to be the basis for the character Paparazzo in the 1960 film, “La Dolce Vita.” The term “paparazzi” was coined from the film.

    The director of “La Dolce Vita,” Frederico Fellini, asked Quinto to play a photographer in the movie. Quinto turned it down. He said he made more money in his real-life role.

    Quinto met Geraldine Del Gioma, an American schoolteacher, at an art gallery in Venice in 1958. They married five years later.

    After moving to the United States in 1963, Quinto began working for the Associated Press. He work turned more serious, with assignments including the funeral of President Kennedy and civil rights marches.

    In the 1970’s, Quinto covered celebrity nightlife at the famed Studio 54. In 1997, he published a book about club.

    He was also Elizabeth Taylor’s personal photographer.

    Quinto retired from professional photography in 1993.