Actress Gina Lollobrigida, muse of Italian cinema, dies at 95

italian actress Gina Lollobrigida He died this Monday at the age of 95, according to the Italian news agency Ansa. the interpreter of Bread, love and fantasy, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba either Notre-Dame de Paris rose to fame in the middle of the last century and participated in more than 60 films, under the direction of De Sica, René Clair, John Huston or King Vidor; with writers like Truman Capote and stars like Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra or Marcello Mastroianni.

Luigia Lollobrigida was born in Subiaco (in central Italy) on July 4, 1927. Her father owned a furniture factory that was destroyed in a bombing raid during World War II. In 1947, at the age of 20, she moved to nearby Rome, where she began to study Fine Arts. As she explains in the biography of her official website, she was the “privileged” one, since while she was studying art and poetry thanks to a scholarship, her family of “refugees” lived in a single, small room and “ate what little they could.” I was able to pick up.”

The springboard into show business came upon his arrival in the Italian capital. She first posed as a model thanks to her beauty and her body: she was one of the best examples of the wave of Italian actresses with exuberant busts. She participated in the Miss Rome contest, in which she came second, and later she was invited to the Miss Italy final, in which Lucía Bosé finally triumphed, and Lollobrigida achieved third place. Enough for several directors to notice her, she will begin to play small roles in the mythical Cinecittà studios, in films like the elixir of love either Il delitto di Giovanni Episcopo. The eccentric millionaire, aviation pioneer and producer Howard Hughes offered him a job in Hollywood; Lollobrigida rejected him professionally and personally: she married a Yugoslav doctor, Milko Škofič, with whom she would have a son and from whom she would divorce in 1971. Three years later Howard Hughes returned to the fray and the actress flew to Hollywood.

It didn’t even last two months. She spoke little English, she felt constantly watched (something that any actress under Hughes suffered) and she returned to Rome. Her career focused on Italian cinema and the big American productions that were shot in Europe. And she had a spectacular 20 years, until the producers stopped calling her by her age. Of course, during his career, he acted in more than 60 films, in addition to several plays and television series, becoming one of the icons of Italian actresses and winning five David di Donatello awards (three for different works, two honorary ), the Italian Oscars.

The actress in 1955.Getty

If Luigi Zampa knows how to take advantage of it in Renunciation (1949) and makes all his compatriots know it, it is fanfán the invincible, Christian-Jaque, the period film she made together with Gérard Philipe (myth who died at just 37 years old, at the height of her career), the title that popularizes her throughout Europe. It’s her time: with Luigi Comencini directing and Vittorio de Sica as a wheel partner bread, love and fantasy (1953) and bread, love and jealousy (1954), quality popular cinema; with Zampa repeats in The Roman (1954); and earns a nickname by honoring the romantic musical The most beautiful woman in the world (1954), by Robert Z. Leonard, in which she plays Lina Cavalieri, queen of music hall Italian at the beginning of the 20th century.

At the same time, he participates in the great American shootings in Europe. What The devil’s taunt (1953), by John Huston, with which he shares the bill with Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones. EITHER Trapeze (1956), by Carol Reed, along with Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster, who had just started in show business in circuses. EITHER Notre-Dame de Paris (1956), a new version of the novel by Victor Hugo in which Lollobrigida plays Esmeralda and Anthony Quinn plays Quasimodo, the hunchback who lived in the tower of the Paris cathedral. or the wretch Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, by King Vidor, filmed in Madrid, whose filming was stopped when its protagonist, Tyrone Power, died. Within a few weeks it started again with Yul Brynner as a replacement.

In a few years, from 1959 to 1965, he linked shoot after shoot: that’s how they arrived when the blood boils (World War II war drama set in the jungle of Burma), with Frank Sinatra and Steve McQueen; The law, by Jules Dassin, with Yves Montand and Marcello Mastroianni; the drama Naked in front of the world with Anthony Franciosa and Ernest Borgnine; and with Rock Hudson he co-starred in the comedies when september comes Y Room for two. Furthermore, in the imperial venus (1962) gave life to Pauline Bonaparte, the sister of Emperor Napoleon; in it thriller The Straw Woman he had Sean Connery as a partner; in Italian pension Jean-Paul Belmondo; and in Good luck, Mrs. Campbell, her character is visited by three soldiers (Terry Savalas, Peter Lawford and Phil Silvers) who believe they are the father of her daughter, Gia. That is the argument that decades later was repeated in Mommy Mia!

And a little more. In 1971 she filmed, directed by the mythical Eugenio Martín El bad river manalong with James Mason and Lee van Cleef; the next year Tiger jump, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, with David Niven; and in 1973 I did not find roses for my motherby Francesc Rovira-Beleta, together with Danielle Darrieux, as well as a television miniseries in which Luigi Comencini adapted Pinocchio. From that moment he decided to dedicate himself to photography, to carry out some journalistic reports and to sculpture. She only returned to the screen in a highly publicized and bizarrely short (just five episodes) appearance in Falcon Crest (1984). I would return to television with Holidays at sea, and Agnès Varda recruited her for a brief appearance in one hundred and one nights (nineteen ninety five).

sentimental and political life

In parallel, his private life has always been news. Lollobrigida had a relationship with the Spanish businessman Javier Rigau, 34 years younger than her. The actress ended up denouncing him for fraud and documentary falsification for the marriage “by proxy” that they contracted in 2010, although Rigau was acquitted in March 2017.

On the other hand, the family of Lollobrigida He tried for years to disqualify her for ceding a large part of her assets to her inseparable secretary, Andrea Piazzolla, 34 years old. The young man, as requested by the artist’s relatives and the Rome prosecutor’s office, is pending trial, accused of squandering the diva’s assets “taking advantage of her advanced age and mental state.”

In 2022, the muse of Italian cinema tried her luck in politics and appeared as a candidate for the Senate in the general elections that were held in the transalpine country on September 25. The diva assured when making her candidacy official that she threw herself into this electoral adventure because she was tired of seeing how “politicians argue among themselves without ever getting anywhere.” “As long as I have power, I use it for important things, especially for my country,” she explained then.

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Actress Gina Lollobrigida, muse of Italian cinema, dies at 95

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