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De Niro is a no-show to pick up award in Italy

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Actor Robert De Niro

Actor Robert De Niro

Chris Polk, Associated Press

Actor Robert De Niro said "serious communications problems" led him to miss two appearances in Italy.

"It was a complicated situation and I'm not sure how it was handled at their end, but it certainly wasn't handled properly at mine," De Niro said in a statement issued Friday by his publicist.

"I was a guest in their country, and the last thing I would want to do is to offend anyone," the statement said.

The Italian-American actor was to receive the Golden Ambrosius award, which takes its name from Milan's patron saint Ambrose, on Thursday from the mayor of Milan. De Niro's publicist said the actor arrived late and the officials did not wait for him.

"It got complicated," publicist Stan Rosenfield said Saturday. "Bob was 45 minutes late getting there or 40 minutes late and they didn't wait."

Milan Mayor Gabriele Albertini, who said he waited 40 minutes, said the actor's failure to pick up the award was "an incredible display of bad manners."

On Friday, De Niro did not attend a scheduled Rome appearance where he was to promote an Italian showcase at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York that he co-founded in 2002. Italian officials suggested the controversy in Milan led him to cancel his Rome event.