Terence Hill (born Mario Girotti; 29 March 1939) is an Italianactor. He is best known for starring in multiple action and western films (so-called spaghetti westerns) together with his longtime film partner and friend Bud Spencer.
His mother, Hildegard (Thieme), was German, from Dresden, and his father, Girolamo Girotti, was an Italian chemist.
As a child, he lived in the small town of Lommatzsch, Germany from 1943 to 1945 during World War II, surviving the Dresden Bombing. After being discovered by Italian filmmaker Dino Risi for Vacanze col Gangster (Holiday with the Gangster, 1951) at the early age of 12, he had, after 27 movies in Italy (including Gli sbandati), a major film role in Luchino Visconti's The Leopard (Il Gattopardo, 1963). In 1964, he returned to Germany and there appeared in a series of Heimatfilmen, adventure and western films, made after novels by German author Karl May. In 1967, he returned to Italy to act in God Forgives... I Don't! (Dio perdona... Io no!, 1968). He changed his name to Terence Hill the same year. The name was made up as a publicity stunt by the film producers; he had to choose from a list of twenty names and picked the one with his mother's initials. In a Q&A, he dismissed as a journalist's invention the rumour that it might have been taken from the Roman playwright Terence and his wife's surname (his wife was Lori Zwicklbauer; she later took her husband's surname).
In the following years, he starred in many action and Spaghetti Westerns together with his longtime colleague and friend Bud Spencer. The pair were notable for their comedy films, successful not only in Italy, but also abroad. They made a large number of Italian Westerns and other films together. Many of these have alternate titles, depending upon the country and distributor. Possibly their most famous film is the 1971 western Lo chiamavano Trinità (They Call Me Trinity) and the 1972 sequel Continuavano a chiamarlo Trinità (Trinity Is STILL My Name!). He has stated in interviews that Il mio nome è Nessuno (My Name Is Nobody, 1973), in which he co-starred with Henry Fonda, is his personal favorite of all his films.
His first American films were Mr. Billion and March or Die (both 1977), after which he divided his time between Italy and the US.
Hill's adopted son Ross was killed in an accident in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1990 while the actor was preparing to film Lucky Luke on the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. Hill later went on to a successful television career in Italy.
In 2000, he landed the leading role in the Italian television series Don Matteo, as a crimefighting parishpriest.