Gina Lollobrigida, the Italian actress who was once called “the most beautiful woman in the world,” has died at the age of 95. Corriere della Sera broke the news, saying she had been “in hospital for some time”.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Lollobrigida was one of the most sought-after entertainers in the world and starred in a number of European and American films opposite many of the leading Hollywood men of the day.
Born in 1927 in Subiaco, in the mountains east of Rome, she was the daughter of a furniture maker. In her teenage years, she did some modeling and participated in beauty contests, and in 1947 she finished third in the Miss Italy contest. On her entry form for that competition, she wrote that she has a talent for acting but wants to do something serious with her skills.
After a string of roles in European films, including a Bafta-winning role in Bread, Love and Dreams, it was Lollobrigida’s 1953 performance in Beat the Devil opposite Humphrey Bogart that brought her international fame and millions of fans.
“La Lollo” also caught the attention of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, who spotted publicity photos of her and invited her to Hollywood for a screen test where he repeatedly tried to seduce her, despite the fact that she was married to Milko Šković, a Slovenian. Doctor, a year ago.
“Time and time try to get me!” Lollobrigida recalled in an interview with Vanity Fair. “But it didn’t work out… There was a big difference between us. So I said to him: If you lose all your money, I might marry you. He might have been surprised that there was one person who wasn’t interested in his money.”
Her commercial peak came in the mid-to-late 1950s, when she starred in Solomon and Sheba, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beautiful But Dangerous, originally titled – La donna più bella del mondo He introduced her as “the most beautiful woman in the world”.
On Monday, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani described Lollobrigida as a great actress who made the history of world cinema. “She was an Italian icon in the world,” he added. And you will remain on the Olympus of culture and art. May she rest in peace.”
The Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, said, “She left us a true star of Italian and world cinema… With her films and interpretations she has rightly entered the country’s history and the collective imagination. Rome, the city she loved, will remember her as she deserves.”
With the death of Lollobrigida, Italy has lost its “diva of planetary fame”, said Marinella Soldi, president of the state broadcaster, RAI, and its chief executive officer, Carlo Fortes.
Her fame was also such that she had a new cultivar of curly-leaf lettuce in the 1960s, lollo rosso, named in her honour—although accounts differ as to whether that referred to her tight, curly hair or the skimpy skirts in which she was often seen. to wear.
Lollobrigida and Škofi divorced in 1971 and she largely withdrew from acting and focused on photography, publishing several collections. Its notable subjects included Henry Kissinger, Yuri Gagarin, Grace Kelly, and many more. She also got an exclusive interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
In 1999, Lollobrigida ran unsuccessfully for the European Parliament representing the Democrats under former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, but she was not particularly enthusiastic.
She said at the time: “I’ve never been involved in politics, but when I got the offer I said ‘yes’ right away…and only then did I think why that would be a good thing. I don’t know how many votes I need. I don’t know anything.”
Lollobrigida is survived by a son, Milko, and a grandson, Dimitri.