Italian film legend Gina Lollobrigida dies at 95


Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida
| Photo Credit: Lionel Cironneau

Italian actor Gina Lollobrigida, one of the last icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood, has died aged 95, culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said on Twitter on Monday.

“Farewell to a diva of the silver screen, the protagonist of more than half a century of Italian cinema history. Her charm will remain eternal,” Sangiuliano wrote after Italy’s ANSA news agency reported her death.

Lollobrigida, famed when younger for her biting wit and sensual beauty, underwent an operation in a Rome clinic in September after breaking her femur, the agency said.

Best known for Luigi Comencini’s 1953 classic Bread, Love and Dreams, and Jean Delannoy’s 1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Lollobrigida starred with many of the leading men of the time, including Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster and Humphrey Bogart.

Luigia “Gina” Lollobrigida was born on July 4, 1927, in Subiaco, a mountain village 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Rome.

Her big breakthrough came in 1953 starring alongside Bogart in John Huston’s romp Beat the Devil. Bogart said at the time Lollobrigida made “Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple.”

Lollobrigida won seven David di Donatello awards during her career, Italy’s Oscar equivalent. But by the 1970s she had turned from acting to sculpture and photojournalism, including getting a scoop interview and photo shoot with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

She was back in the spotlight in 2021, amid a bitter legal battle with her son over her fortune. Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that she needed a legal guardian to stop people from preying on her wealth, because of a “weakening” in her perception of reality.

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