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Famed Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida dies

by FRANCES D’EMILIO The Associated Press | January 17, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
FILE - German actor Horst Buchholz kisses the hand of Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, during the International Film Festival (Berlinale) in Berlin, Germany, July 5, 1958. (AP Photo/Werner Kreusch, File) Lollobrigida has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (AP Photo/Werner Kreusch, File)

ROME -- Gina Lollobrigida, an Italian actress who was dubbed "the most beautiful woman in the world" after the title of one her movies, died Monday in Rome, her agent, Paola Comin, said. She was 95.

Comin didn't provide details. But Lollobrigida had surgery in September to repair a thigh bone broken in a fall. She returned home and said she had quickly resumed walking.

A drawing of the actress graced a 1954 cover of Time magazine, which 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, as the country began to promote on the big screen a stereotypical concept of Mediterranean beauty as buxom and brunette.

Besides "The World's Most Beautiful Woman" in 1955, career highlights included Golden Globe-winner "Come September," with Rock Hudson; "Trapeze;" "Beat the Devil," a 1953 John Huston film starring Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones; and "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell," which won Lollobrigida Italy's top movie award, a David di Donatello, as best actress in 1969.

In Italy, she worked with some of the country's top directors following the war, including Mario Monicelli, Luigi Comencini, Pietro Germi and Vittorio De Sica.

Lollobrigida also was an accomplished sculptor, painter and photographer, and eventually essentially dropped film for the fine 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 a photo report.

Lollobrigida was born on July 4, 1927 in Subiaco, 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. Producer Mario Costa plucked her from the streets of Rome to appear on the big screen.

Mogul Howard Hughes eventually 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.

With lush eyelashes and thick, brown curls framing her face, Lollobrigida started a hairstyle rage in the 1950s known as the "poodle cut."

In middle age, Lollobrigida's romance with a man 34 years her junior, Javier Rigau, from Barcelona, Spain, kept gossip pages buzzing for years.

After more than 20 years of dating, Lollabrigida announced in 2006 that she would marry Rigau, but the wedding never happened.

Her first marriage, to Milko Skofic, a Yugoslavia-born doctor, ended in divorce in 1971.

On her website, Lollobrigida recalled how her family lost its house during the bombings of World War II and went to live in Rome. She studied sculpture and painting at a high school dedicated to the arts, while her two sisters worked as movie threater ushers to allow her to continue her studies.

  photo  FILE - Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida speaks at the media viewing of the first exhibition of her sculptures at Moscow's Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, on June 23, 2003. Gina Lollobrigida, the Italian actress, photographer and sculptor who was dubbed "the most beautiful woman in the world" after the title of one her movies, has died in Rome. (AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
 
 
  photo  FILE - Actress Gina Lollobrigida poses for photographers as she arrives for the screening of a documentary on Miss Italy during the 7th edition of the Rome International Film Festival in Rome, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. Lollobrigida, who embodied the Italian stereotype of Mediterranean beauty and was dubbed "the most beautiful woman in the world" after the title of one her movies, has died in Rome at age 95. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)
 
 
  photo  FILE - A photo taken in the 50s of Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. Lollobrigida, who embodied the Italian stereotype of Mediterranean beauty and was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world” after the title of one her movies, has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (LaPresse via AP)
 
 
  photo  FILE - A photo taken in the 90s in Paris of Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida with Claudia Cardinale. Lollobrigida, who embodied the Italian stereotype of Mediterranean beauty and was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world” after the title of one her movies, has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (Girella/LaPresse via AP)
 
 
  photo  FILE - A photo taken in the 50s of Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. Lollobrigida, who embodied the Italian stereotype of Mediterranean beauty and was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world” after the title of one her movies, has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (LaPresse via AP)
 
 
  photo  FILE - A photo taken in the 50s of Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. Lollobrigida, who embodied the Italian stereotype of Mediterranean beauty and was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world” after the title of one her movies, has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (LaPresse via AP)
 
 
  photo  FILE - Actress Gina Lollobrigida reads a magazine as she sits by the pool during her stay at the Beverly Hills hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. on May 10, 1959. Lollobrigida has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (AP Photo, File)
 
 
  photo  FILE - U.S. pop superstar Michael Jackson poses with Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida and fashion designer Valentino at a party to honor him at the American Embassy in Rome, Thursday, May 19, 1988.Lollobrigida has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (AP Photo/Gianni Foggia, FIle)
 
 
  photo  FILE - Italian sculptor Giacomo Manzu looks at the book "Italia Mia" held by Gina Lollobrigida in her villa in Rome, Dec. 1, 1972 when the star presented it to the press and some art personalities her book - a selection of pictures of Italy which took her two years to complete and edit. Lollobrigida has died in Rome at age 95. Italian news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023 quoting Tuscany Gov. Eugenio Giani. (AP Photo/Giulio Broglio, File)
 
 

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