Willy Rizzo is best known as a photographer. He began his illustrious 20 year career with Paris Match in 1948 which lead to him photographing some of the greatest names of the period.
Rizzo was married to italian actress Elsa Martinelli,which gave him unparalleled access to the star names of the period and his cornucopia of sitters would include among others Brigitte Bardot, Sofia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jane Fonda, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Salvador Dali,Pablo Picasso and Le Corbusier. His colour portrait of Winston Churchill made the cover of Paris Match. Herge even based the character of Paris-Flash photographer Walter Rizotto in Tintin’s adventure "The Castafiore Emerald" on Rizzo.
In the late 60s, Rizzo focused instead on furniture design, opening the Studio Willy Rizzo in Rome . His design's quickly enjoyed considerable success. His imagination and severe neoclassical style defines the Italian design style between 1965 and 1980
In the last few years there have been several major Willy Rizzo retrospective exhibitions held in New York,London, Monte Carlo and recently an exhibition in Paris on Rizzo's work on Le Corbusier.