Renzo Cesana was an actor, writer, composer, and songwriter most famed for his title role on the American television show The Continental. He was also known as Renato Cesana.
Cesana was the grandson of Gian Cesana, publisher of one of Rome's largest daily newspapers. He emigrated to America as a screenwriter in 1929, to adapt Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer "talkies" for Italian audiences. After a failed attempt at becoming a film star, he appeared on radio in San Francisco, then became the U.S. advertising director for a prominent Italian wine, eventually opening his own advertising agency. He returned to Italy to co-write and appear in childhood friend Roberto Rossellini's film Stromboli, then returned to America in 1949 to begin a film and television acting career in Hollywood.
In an era when advertisers and advertising agencies played major roles in program creation and sponsorship, Cesana created The Continental as a radio program that he produced, wrote, and starred in for a Los Angeles station in 1951, where it directly followed The Lonesome Gal, in which a female disk jockey talked soothingly to male listeners. After a brief and unsuccessful run, Cesana convinced a local television station to broadcast a video version of The Continental, which was picked up by the CBS television network in 1952.