Starace was born in Apulia in 1889. He attended the Lecce Technical Institute, and joined the Italian Royal Army in 1909. Due to his jingoistic attitudes, Starace became known after he violently attacked a group of pacifist protestors. He fought in World War I, and joined the National Fascist Party in 1922. He was responsible for promoting Anti-Semetic laws and racial segregation after being promoted to Party Secretary, as well as expanding Benito Mussolini's cult of personality. However, he failed to organise an Italian counterpart to the Hitler Youth and to replicate the Nazi Party's popularity.
In 1935, Starace took a leave of absence from the party to participate in the invasion of Ethiopia. He managed to take Gondar, Lake Tana and the border with Sudan before returning to his post when Ethiopia was annexed, and later argued for the annexation of Tunisia.
He was dismissed from his position in 1939, and arrested in Rome after the government's overthrow in 1943. He was released soon after, and was arrested once again for treason after he participated in an attempt to put Mussolini back in power. He was released yet again, but was recognised and captured in Milan by Italian partisans. While in their custody, he was taken to be summarily executed. Starace was shown the corpse of Mussolini, who had been summarily executed shortly before, and delivered his last words ("He is a god") and saluted the corpse before being shot and killed by the partisans. His body was hung up alongside those of Mussolini, his mistress Clara Petacci and several other fascists who were executed by the partisans.