Italian film legend Gina Lollobrigida, who achieved international stardom during the 1950s has died in Rome. She was 95.
She was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world” after the title of one her movies.
A drawn portrait of the diva graced a 1954 cover of Time magazine, likened her to a “goddess” in an article about Italian movie-making.
“Lollo,” as she was lovingly nicknamed by Italians, began making movies in Italy just after the end of World War II.
Besides “The World’s Most Beautiful Woman” in 1955, career highlights included Golden Globe-winner “Come September,” with Rock Hudson; “Trapeze;” “Beat the Devil,” and “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell,” which won Lollobrigida Italy’s top movie award, a David di Donatello, as best actress in 1969.
Lollobrigida was born on July 4, 1927 in Subiaco, a 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 brief appearances in minor films.
Eccentric mogul Howard Hughes eventually brought Lollobrigida to the US, 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.
Lollobrigida’s sex symbol image defined her career, and her most popular characters were in light-hearted comedies such as the “Bread, Love” trilogy.
With lush eyelashes and thick, brown curls framing her face, Lollobrigida started a hairstyle rage in the 1950s known as the “poodle cut.”
Gossip columnists commented on alleged rivalries between her and Sophia Loren, another Italian film star celebrated for her physical beauty,
In her latter years Lollobrigida’s name more frequently appeared in articles by journalists covering Rome’s courts, as legal battles were waged over whether she had the mental competence to tend to her finances.
On her website, Lollobrigida recalled how her family lost its house during the bombings of World War II and went to live in Rome.