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Italian director, 95, leaps to death

Rome -- Italian film director Mario Monicelli has died after leaping from a fifth-story window of the Rome hospital where he was being treated for a terminal illness.

He was 95 when he died Monday night.

ANSA, which reported his death Tuesday, did not say from what illness he suffered at the time.

Known as the father of the Commedia all'Italiana or Italian-style comedy, Monicelli directed 65 films during a career that lasted more than 70 years. His film credits include "The Paul Street Boys," "Summer Rain," "Big Deal on Madonna Street," "The Great War" and "Desert Roses."

"He was someone who wanted to control his own life to the very end. His death was an act of lucidity," director Carlo Lizzani told ANSA.

"I knew him very well and knew his great dignity and his desire to always be independent and autonomous, so I can understand why he did it," producer Aurelio De Laurentiis added. "He recently lost his sight but he remained sharp as a tack and he could not tolerate the idea of having to depend on someone."

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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