This Italian surname of LANDINO was originally a Norman name among whom it was a popular name with the ruling classes, perhaps as a result of the association with the Old French LANCE, a name for an armourer or for a soldier who wielded the lance. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. The name has numerous variant spellings which include LANTZ, LANDI, LANZI, LANZO, LANZINI, LANZONE and LANDUZZI, to name but a few. A notable member of this name is Walter LANTZ (l900-) American cartoonist and film animator, born in New Rochelle, New York, the creator of the 'Woody Woodpecker' character. An office boy on the' New York American' (l9l4) he studied cartooning by correspondence course and got his start with William Randolph Hearst's animation studio in l9l6. He rose to be writer/director/'star' of his own 'Dinky Doodle' cartoons, then went to Hollywood where he took over 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit' (l928) after Walt Disney left Universal Pictures, and remained with that studio for over 50 years. Of the many characters he created the most popular is 'Woody Woodpecker' who first burst on the screen in 'Knock Knock' (l940) and whose characteristic laugh is supplied by Mrs. Lantz (actress Grace Stafford). The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy.
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