Journalist, writer and pioneering TV talk show host Maurizio Costanzo has died at the age of 84, his press office said Friday.
The Maurizio Costanzo Show on Silvio Berlusoni's Mediaset network was a hit for years and made a star of Costanzo, a penetrating interviewer and caustic and quick-witted commentator.
Costanzo came from the world of print journalism, and was also a film and TV screenwriter.
His campaigns were legion and one against the mafia almost got him killed by a Cosa Nostra bomb in 1993.
He survived the attack and doubled down on his fight against the Mob.
Born in Rome on August 28, 1938, Costanzo scripted dozens of radio and TV shows and wrote many theatrical comedies including The Adoptive Husband and Take Back Your Empties.
He first found fame in 1976 by presenting the Rai state broadcaster show Bontà Loro.
But his name was permanently linked to the Maurizio Costanzo Show, modelled on US chat shows and a staple of Mediaset from 1982 on.
He also wrote for Buona Domenica, Italy's popular Sunday afternoon omnibus entertainment show.
Costanzo wrote several books including Chi mi credo di essere (2004, in collab. with G. Dotto), E che sarà mai? (2006), La strategia della tartaruga (2009), Sipario! 50 anni di teatro.
Storia e testi (2015), Vi racconto l'Isis (2016) and Smemorabilia, Catalogo sentimentale degli oggetti perduti (2022).
He had been married to another top TV host, Maria De Filippi, since 1995.