Ettore Petrolini (January 13, 1884 – June 29, 1936) was an Italian stage and film actor, playwright, screenwriter and novelist. He is considered one of the most important figures of avanspettacolo, vaudeville and revue. He was noted for his numerous caricature sketches, and was the "inventor of a revolutionary and anticonformist way of performing". Petrolini is also remembered for having created the Dadaist character Fortunello. His contribution to the history of Italian theater is now widely acknowledged, especially with regard to his influence on 20th century comedy. His iconic character Gastone became a byword in Italian for a certain type of stagey snob. While his satirical caricature of the Roman Emperor Nero (created in 1917 and later the subject of a 1930 film) was widely perceived as a parody of Benito Mussolini, it may itself have influenced the mannerisms of the Fascist dictator.