Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty Images
March 21, 2012 at 09:54 PM EDT

Tonino Guerra, the screenwriter who collaborated with Italian neorealist greats Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, and Michelangelo Antonioni, has died at the age of 92, reports the AFP. He had been battling illness for several months at his home in the central Italian city of Rimini.

Guerra’s start as a writer was as dramatic as his films themselves: He began working on his earliest screenplays while imprisoned in a German concentration camp during World War II. After getting his start on Giuseppe De Santis’ 1956 release Men and Wolves, Guerra became a staple of the Italian film industry, co-writing more than 100 screenplays in his 52-year career.

Guerra was nominated for three Oscars — in 1966 for Mario Monicelli’s Casanova 70, the next year for Antonioni’s Blow-Up, and finally for Fellini’s Amarcord (which was released in Italy in 1973 and won the 1976 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film). Guerra also won the Best Screenplay award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival for The Voyage To Cythera

During Guerra’s long career, he was a poet and painter in addition to working in film and television. “Tonino was an extraordinary person who lived through practically a whole century of Italian culture,” said Walter Veltroni, former culture minister of Italy. “We have lost a poet, a genius and marvellous person.”

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