Legendary Italian actor Alberto Sordi, a figurehead of the Commedia all'Italiana, has died in Rome at the age of 82.

With his instantly recognisable thick Roman accent and deep voice, Sordi began his 60-year acting career at the age of 16.

He was a symbol of national pride for several generations of Italians, who identified with his screen portrayals of the "quintessential Italian" complete with sharp comic edge and endearing foibles.

Among Sordi's most famous credits are Federico Fellini's I Vitelloni (1953), Steno's Un Americano a Roma (1954), Mario Monicelli's The Great War (1959), Dino Risi's Una Vita Difficile (1961) and a string of films directed by Luigi Comencini.

Sordi also wrote and directed a number of movies, including most recently 1998's Forbidden Encounters.

In 1999, the city of Rome nominated him honorary Mayor for a day to celebrate his 80th birthday.