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King of the Paparazzi

Matt Schudel

Felice Quinto died Jan. 17 at the age of 80. His name may not be familiar to many people, but try this word instead: paparazzi.

Mr. Quinto, who spent the last 17 years of his life in the quiet Maryland suburb of Montgomery Village, was one of the orginal paparazzi in Rome in the 1950s. He was a friend of director Federico Fellini, who used Mr. Quinto as a model for the character of a tabloid photographer in the 1960 film "La Dolce Vita." The character's name was Paprazzo, which gave rise to the term "paparazzi" and, in no small, the celebrity journalism we have come to know and loathe today.

Mr. Quinto was a serious news photographer, as well, but when it came to staking out celebrities and flashing his camera in their surprised faces, he had few peers.

The following scene from Fellini's wonderful "La Dolce Vita" is more than nine minutes long, but the first minute or so portrays the Roman world of the paparazzi that Mr. Quinto helped create.

By Matt Schudel  |  February 7, 2010; 4:38 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Schudel  
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