She waves from the backseat of a convertible on the eve of the Cannes Film Festival. And here she once again stepped from a Parisian jet onto the tarmac, her scarf swinging perfectly in the evening breeze. dressed in
Yes, an actor, but somehow Gina Lollobrigida was always so much more than that.
As Italy was recovering from the rubble of World War II and the bitter oppression of fascism, Lollobrigida La Dolce Vitaa siren beckoning to the Romans again to pamper, celebrate and embrace.
“She represented something much more symbolic than the actual talent she often displayed in her work as an actress,” wrote the late Peter Bondanella in his book Italian Cinema.
Long out of the headlines, with a life captured on film and an endless explosion of celebrity photos huddled next to Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol and David Bowie, Lollobrigida It remained firmly planted in public until his death on Monday.
Lollobrigida, forever loved in his hometown, died in Rome, Italian news agency Lapresse reported, citing Tuscan Governor Eugenio Giani. Lollobrigida was an honorary citizen of the Tuscan town.
Her agent, Paola Comin, also confirmed her death but did not provide further details, the Associated Press reported.
Lollobrigida underwent surgery after breaking his femur in a fall in September. She went home to her house and she immediately started walking, she said.
Lollobrigida’s rise to stardom was rapid. She has made films in Europe and America, signed a long-term Hollywood deal with Howard Hughes, starred with Yul Brynner, Frank Sinatra and Rock Hudson, and worked with Salvador Dalí, Fidel Castro and Heart Surgeon Pioneer. I became friends with Christian Bernard. At Dramafest with her countryman Sophia Loren, her rivalry was so intense it made us wonder if Italy would have enough oxygen for the two.
“I am fire. I am a volcano. Everything I do I do with passion, fire and strength,” she said in a 1994 Times interview.
Born in Subiaco, Italy in 1927, Lollobrigida was the second of four daughters of Giovanni Lollobrigida and Giuseppina Lollobrigida. When her home was destroyed in Allied air raids early in World War II, her family fled to the inner city of Rome.
Lollobrigida said her childhood memories were of hunger, hardship and upheaval.
“I know what it’s like to be hungry. I know what it’s like to lose your home,” she told the Associated Press in 1994.
While studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, a talent agent spotted her and offered her a modeling and acting contract. When she was summoned to her studio in Cinecitta, the Italian film capital, she was asked to sign her 1,000 lira.
Lollobrigida told Vanity Fair in 2015.
Lollobrigida starred in several films shot in Italy before filming the soap opera Alina, in which Lollobrigida uses her beauty as the main weapon in a dangerous smuggling operation. Among other things, it caught the attention of Hughes, an eccentric businessman, aviator, and maverick movie magnate.
Hughes immediately invited Lollobrigida to Hollywood for a screen test. She requested two of her plane tickets so that her husband could accompany her, but when her travel packet arrived in Rome there was only one ticket for her.
Her husband, a doctor named Mirko Skoffic, was less than pleased, but ultimately relented. “He said, ‘Go. I don’t want you to say one day I didn’t let you have a career. So I went alone.'”
Hughes parked the 24-year-old boy in a suite at the Town House Hotel. At the time, Wilshire He was a gorgeous brick and terracotta retreat on Boulevard. She was given a script and had sessions with a voice coach and an English instructor.
The two went out to dinner so that Hughes could avoid the media he feared. On several occasions, she said, they dined in the car.
“At the time, I knew very little English,” he told Vanity Fair.
After dodging his offer and enduring two and a half months of his insane behavior, Lollobrigida said he signed a seven-year deal just to get home. The deal made it difficult and very expensive for American film studios other than Hughes’ RKO Pictures to hire Lollobrigida.
She has never made a single film for Hughes and said she was happy to wait for a contract in Europe where there was no shortage of work.
Lollobrigida quickly became a star in Europe, appearing in about a dozen films before winning a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress for her role in ‘Bread, Love, Dreams’. Considered by some critics to be her best and most natural role.
“I succeeded despite Howard Hughes,” she said in a 1999 interview with the Australian newspaper Age.
In 1953, she returned to Hollywood, teaming up with Humphrey Bogart to co-star in Beat the Devil, an adventure/comedy directed by John Huston and written by Truman Capote every day while filming in Italy. It marked her first English-speaking film of Lollobrigida and, as would be her destiny, asked her to play the role of her seducer, a film that helped introduce Lollobrigida to America. However, it was a box office failure.
She appeared three years later in “Trapeze,” a tale of crippled acrobats trying to extract greatness from brash and distracted protégés, in roles played by Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, in a manipulative She did well when she was cast as the scheming Laura in . Filmed in Paris, the film was a financial success.
Lollobrigida teamed up with Yul Brynner in the sexed-up biblical tale ‘Solomon and Sheba’ and with Rock Hudson in ‘Come September’. Every year they gather and transform into a youth hostel. Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin are among the young tourists staying at the hostel. Despite the pancake-thin plot, the movie did well.
And the 60s became the second romantic comedy with stars like Ernest Borgnine, Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, Peter Lawford and Bob Hope in Lollobrigida. If the movies were sometimes forgotten, and Lollobrigida later admitted many were, they only seemed to hone her star power. We may not be able to name one, but everyone knew her La Lolla.
When Hollywood’s box office slowed, Lollobrigida returned to Italian cinema, but in 1984 she starred in the primetime soap opera Falcon Crest and was a constant in Love Boat.
Despite all of her courtships and friendships, and all the tabloid fodder that drifted in her wake, the person who became known as “the most beautiful woman in the world” had only one marriage, which ended in 1971. Did. .
However, according to a man who is more than 30 years younger than her, the two married in secret in Barcelona, Spain in 2010, with a surrogate standing in for Lollobrigida.
The man, Javier Rigau y Laforz, claimed that Lollobrigida signed the marriage documents and that witnesses could confirm the union. rice field.
However, she denied the marriage and dismissed the license and other documents as “horribly vulgar fraud”. The truth, wherever it could have been discovered, was quickly embroiled in legal controversy that was ongoing at the time of her death.
Men seemed to flow through Lollobrigida’s life like a fast-flowing stream. They tracked her down, and — she claimed — she kept them all at bay.
In 1995 she told The New York Times: I have many interests and that may be enough. “
One of her interests was jewelry, which she collected like a museum curator. She toured a diamond mine in Africa and brought home a handful of diamonds. She purchased a gold bracelet encrusted with galaxies of rubies, sapphires and emeralds. She went to India to buy a necklace. And she openly thought that pursuing such luxuries might be the flip side of an underprivileged childhood—she eventually sold much of her collection and put her proceeds into stem cell research. donated.
She dabbled in sculpture and pursued a second career as a photographer, producing five photo books. In 1973, she flew to Cuba with 8 cameras, 200 rolls of film and 10 pairs of blue jeans, leading to an interview with Fidel Castro.
“I was sunbathing naked in the mansion’s garden when a man appeared and announced Fidel’s presence. He pretended not to notice my poor clothes and smiled at me,” she said. wrote. “He shook my hand and welcomed me to Cuba.”
In 1999, Lollobrigida ran for a seat in the European Parliament, admitting that he had little interest in politics and only started campaigning because he was invited. She shrugged it all off when voters voted for the more serious candidate. In 2022, she announced she would run for Senate over political upheaval in Italy, but she lost.
During her career, she has won more than a dozen awards. She was nominated three times for her Golden Globe Awards, and in 1961 she won once. In 1985, she was nominated for the Order of Arts and Letters, normally awarded to French citizens who have made significant contributions to her art. French President François Mitterrand awarded her the Legion d’honneur for her achievements, and in 2008 she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Italian-American Foundation.
When she turned 90, the city of Rome celebrated in the historic Plaza de España, and Lollobrigida unveiled a commissioned sculpture in her honor. For decades she lived in a villa near the ancient Appian Way (not to mention a ranch in Sicily and a house in Monte Carlo). The people of Rome saw her as the lifelong ambassador of all that is good and glorious in Italy.
“Just 30 plus 30 plus 30,” she told reporters when asked about her longevity.
And La Lola is La Lola, rekindling her feud with Loren.
“I wasn’t looking to compete with anyone,” she said. “But again, I was always number one.”
Lollobrigida was survived by his son, Mirko Skofich Jr.