The San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego’s Italian Community Mourns the Loss of Arts Leader Victor Laruccia
Those who knew Victor Laruccia describe him as larger than life.
“Everything was big about him,” said his stepdaughter Jennifer Davies. “He had a big heart, he was generous with his time and his thoughts, he had big hugs — everyone knows the big Victor bear hug — he had a big laugh, a big smile, and most of all, he had a big brain.”
The 80-year-old San Diego resident died on March 17 after losing his battle with stage-4 stomach cancer. Friends and family agree his legacy will live on through the San Diego Italian Film Festival, which he founded nearly 17 years ago.
Laruccia was born on Sept. 28, 1941, in Santiago, Chile, to an Italian-Argentian father and mother from a small, working-class Italian town in western Pennsylvania. His passion for Italian culture was ingrained in him from birth.
Laruccia moved back to the U.S. at a young age and learned reading and writing “as an Italian Catholic” in Pennsylvania.
Davies said Laruccia would often point out that he failed out of Yale twice. But after joining the Marines for a stint he attended UC San Diego and was part of the first graduating class in 1966. He went on to receive his Master’s and a doctorate in comparative literature.