Ms. Carrà was fluent in English, which helped her make the leap to a more serious type of television in 1983 when RAI launched an innovative lunch show, “Pronto, Raffaella? , On which she interviewed international figures such as Mother Teresa and Henry. Kissinger, simultaneously translating their comments.
His fame reached the United States, and in 1986 she appeared in “Late Night With David Letterman”. After Mr. Letterman described her as “the Johnny Carson and Ed Sullivan of Italy”, Ms. Carrà interrupted her questioning to point out that they were both men. She said she was sometimes compared to Ann-Margret and Barbara Walters – but, she added, “I’m just, only, Raffaella Carrà.”
She was even responsible for adding a word to the Italian dictionaries. From 1995 to 2009, she presented “Carramba! Che Sorpresa ”(“ Carramba! What a surprise ”), a blockbuster show in which she reunited people with lost relatives or friends. The term “carrambata” entered the Italian language to mean an unexpected encounter with someone long gone.
Ms. Carrà also had a TV show in 2004 in which she helped with adoptions. A photo of her surrounded by children was placed next to her coffin as she lay down at Rome’s city hall for a public farewell.
Raffaella Carrà was born Raffaella Roberta Pelloni on June 18, 1943 in Bellaria, a town south of Ravenna on the Adriatic coast. Her mother, Iris Dellutri, ran the family ice cream shop and separated from her father when Ms. Carrà was 3 years old.
“I learned very young to do without men,” she once said.
She grew up in Bologna, where she started taking ballet lessons at the age of 8. She moved to Rome at 18 to attend Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Italy’s main film school, and had a few small roles in Italian films before being chosen Ryan’s Express.