Legendary Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida who was one of the biggest stars of European cinema in the 1950s and ’60s, died at the age of 95 yesterday.
Commonly known as “the most beautiful woman in the world”, her films included Beat the Devil, the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Crossed Swords.
The Associated Press reports that Howard Hughes brought Lollobrigida to the United States, where she performed with some of Hollywood’s leading men of the 1950s and 60s, including Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis and Yul Brynner.
After her career faded in the 1960s, Lollobrigida moved into photography and politics.
Two of her more popular films at home were Comencini’s “Pane Amore e Fantasia” (“Bread, Love and Dreams”) in 1953, and the sequel a year later, “Pane Amore e Gelosia” (“Bread, Love and Jealousy”).
Her male foil was Vittorio Gassman, one of Italy’s leading men on the screen.
Lollobrigida also was an accomplished sculptor, painter and photographer, and eventually essentially dropped film for the other arts.
With her camera, she roamed the world from what was then the Soviet Union to Australia.
In 1974, Fidel Castro hosted her as a guest in Cuba for 12 days as she worked on photo reportage.
Lollobrigida was born on July 4, 1927 in Subiaco, a picturesque hill town near Rome, where her father was a furniture maker.
She began her career in beauty contests, posing for the covers of magazines and making brief appearances in minor films.
Producer Mario Costa plucked her from the streets of Rome to appear on the big screen.
After more than 20 years of dating, in 2006, the then-79-year-old Lollobrigida announced that she would marry Javier Rigau, from Barcelona in Spain but the wedding never happened.
Her first marriage, to Milko Skofic, a Yugoslavia-born doctor, ended in divorce in 1971.