Gina Lollobrigida

Gina Lollobrigida Headshot

Actress • Photographer • Politician

Birth Date: July 4, 1927

Death Date: January 16, 2023

Birth Place: Subiaco, Rome, Italy

One of several earthy Italian beauties to set the film world on fire during the 1950s and 1960s, Gina Lollobrigida was an actress and director who was equally skilled at both drama and light comedy. She worked steadily in Hollywood and international features for nearly three decades, appearing opposite Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in the circus-themed "Trapeze" (1956) and Victor Hugo's remake of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1956). In 1959, she made quite an impression as the queen in the biblical epic "Solomon and Sheba," and earned a Golden Globe for her starring role opposite Rock Hudson in the romantic comedy "Come September" (1961). Lollobrigida went on to enjoy further success with the Italian-made "Venere Imperiale" (1962), "Strange Bedfellows" (1965) and "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" (1968), only to see her career wind down in the early 1970s. Though she earned praise for a 1984 guest spot on "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-1990), Lollobrigida focused her attention on other artistic endeavors like photojournalism and sculpting, while also being active in promoting Italian-American heritage and even dabbling in politics with a run for Italian office. Lollobrigida remained one of Italy's premiere exports.

Born Luigina Lollobrigida in Subiaco, Italy on July 4, 1927, she was one of four daughters born to her father, a furniture maker. She competed successfully in several beauty pageants as a teenager, and earned a living as a model for magazines and illustrated novels under the name Diana Loris. She relocated to Rome in the mid-1940s and continued to model and compete while studying sculpture and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts at Rome. She was discovered there by talent scouts who convinced her to try her hand at acting. She made her film debut as an extra in the costume adventure "Aquila Nera" in 1946. A year later, she placed third in the Miss Italia pageant, which increased her exposure significantly. More roles in Italian films followed before she came to the attention of American magnate and film producer Howard Hughes, who allegedly signed her to a Hollywood contract. Said document was later the source of a dispute between the actress and Hughes, which held up her Hollywood debut until nearly a decade later.

By the 1950s, Lollobrigida was enjoying considerable popularity from her film career; her face and figure graced covers and layouts in countless international publications, which dubbed her "La Lollo" or "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World," after her 1955 film of the same name. Her signature hairstyle, dubbed "the tossed salad," found favor among fashion-forward types, even serving as the name for a particular type of lettuce. Lovestruck admirers, however, were disheartened to know that she was happily married to Yugoslavian doctor Milko Skofic, with whom she had one son. American audiences finally received their first glimpse of Lollobrigida in John Huston's irreverent adventure parody "Beat the Devil" (1954), which did not pave an immediate path to more Hollywood productions, but did make her a particular favorite among male moviegoers.

She returned to Hollywood features in the mid-1950s. Films like the circus drama "Trapeze" (1956) with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis vying for her hand, or the 1956 remake of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," with Anthony Quinn's Quasimodo pining for her Esmerelda, were popular box office attractions, and she divided her time between making films in America and on the Continent. Her looks ensured that she would rarely be cast in anything but exotic or glamorous roles. She was a sexually charged Queen of Sheba in the controversial "Solomon and Sheba" (1959), but she fared well in comedy-dramas like "Come September" (1961) with Rock Hudson. That same year, she claimed the Henrietta, the Golden Globe's award for World Favorite - Female Actress.

She maintained a steady film career throughout the 1960s, though as the decade progressed, her presence in A-pictures like "Woman of Straw" (1964), a thriller with Sean Connery, or the comedy "Hotel Paradiso" (1966) with Alec Guinness was slowly eclipsed by more obscure period adventures and arthouse-oriented features. Her last significant hit was "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" (1968), an amusing comedy about an Italian woman who had convinced three former GIs that they fathered her child during World War II, and discovered, to her horror, that the trio were returning to Europe to see their long-lost offspring. A popular comedy at the box office, it later served as the basis for the blockbuster musical "Mamma Mia" and earned Lollobrigida a Golden Globe nomination and a David from her native Italy.

Lollobrigida's film career ground to a virtual halt in the Seventies, so she shifted her attention behind the camera to become a successful photojournalist and documentary film maker. A collection of her photographs, which captured subjects as varied as Paul Newman and Salvador Dali, was published in the book Italia Mia in 1973. Two years later, she wrote, directed and produced "Rittrato di Fidel" (1975), a documentary that featured her exclusive interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Lollobrigida also busied herself as an executive for various fashion and cosmetic companies.

After a brief return to American productions in episodes of "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-1990), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, and the TV movie "Deceptions" (1985), she focused her energies on sculpting, and was highly praised for her efforts. French president Francois Mitterand presented her with a Medal of Honor for her artwork, and her creations were shown at museums and galleries around the world. The end of the 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium saw Lollobrigida earn further laurels for her body of film work, including career celebrations from the David di Donatello Awards and countless film festivals. In 2002, a stretch of seafront property in Venice was named in her honor, while the house where she was born was commemorated in 2003.

In 1999, Lollobrigida unsuccessfully campaigned for the Parliamentary seat of her hometown of Subiaco with the center-left party The Democrats. Undaunted, she returned to the acclaim that surrounded her art career, much of which was highlighted in her 2003 book Sculptures. In 2006, she raised eyebrows in Europe for her engagement to Javier Rigau y Rafols, a Spanish businessman several decades her junior even though Lollobrigida had not been married since divorcing Skoifc in 1971. That same year, their engagement was called off and later blamed on media pressure. Meanwhile, she remained a committed activist for Italian and Italian-American causes, most notably working with the National Italian American Foundation. In 2008, Lollobrigida received the nonprofit foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts. Gina Lollobrigida died on January 16, 2023 in Rome, Italy at the age of 95.

Credits

Giovanni Episcopo

Actor
invitata alla festa
Show
2023

Maurizio Costanzo intervista Gina Lollobrigida

Self
Show
2023

Lollo Tivvù

Actor
Show
2021

Lollo Tivvù

Guest
Show
2021

Miss Italia 2019

Guest
Show
2019

Parlo da sola

Self
Show
2017

Storie italiane

Actor
Show
2017

Movie Mag

Actor
Show
2014

Domenica In

Actor
Show
2014

Gian Luigi Rondi: Vita, cinema, passione

Narrator
Movie
2014

Speciale TG5

Self
Show
2013

XXL

Actor
Gaby Berrebi
Movie
1997

A Hundred and One Nights

Actor
L'épouse médium du professeur Bébel
Movie
1995

La romana

Actor
Margherita
Show
1988

DeceptionsStream

Actor
Princess Alessandra
Miniseries
1985

Deceptions

Actor
Princess Alessandra
Movie
1985

Falcon CrestStream

Actor
Francesca Gioberthi
Soap
1981

The Love BoatStream

Guest Star
Series
1977

The Lonely Woman

Actor
Netty/Tani
Movie
1974

Les quatre mercenaires d'El Paso

Actor
Movie
1974

Le avventure di Pinocchio

Actor
Fata
Show
1972

Las Aventuras de Pinocchio II

Voice
Movie
1972

Las Aventuras de Pinocchio III

Voice
Movie
1972

Le avventure di Pinocchio

Actor
Fata dai capelli turchini
Movie
1972

King, Queen, Knave

Actor
Martha Dreyer
Movie
1972

Las Aventuras de Pinocchio

Voice
Movie
1972

Bad Man's River

Actor
Alicia
Movie
1971

Les Aventures de Pinocchio

Actor
Movie
1971

Young Rebel

Actor
Giulia
Movie
1970

The Dick Cavett ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1968

Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell

Actor
Carla Campbell
Movie
1968

Stuntman

Actor
Evelyn Lake
Movie
1968

The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell

Actor
Maria
Movie
1968

Ce Merveilleux Automne

Actor
Cettina
Movie
1968

Plucked

Actor
Anna
Movie
1968

Le piacevoli notti

Actor
Domicilla
Movie
1966

Les Sultans

Actor
Lisa
Movie
1966

L'Hôtel du libre échange

Actor
Movie
1966

Moi, Moi, Moi...et les Autres

Actor
Movie
1966

Hotel Paradiso

Actor
Marcelle Cotte
Movie
1966

Oi Egoistai

Actor
Titta
Movie
1966

Neobični spoj

Actor
Movie
1965

Me, Me, Me... And the Others

Actor
Titta
Movie
1965

Strange Bedfellows

Actor
Toni Vincente
Movie
1965

Bambole!

Actor
Beatrice
Movie
1965

Woman of Straw

Actor
Maria Marcello
Movie
1964

La mer à boire

Actor
Margherita
Movie
1963

Imperial Venus

Actor
Paulette Bonaparte
Movie
1963

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonStream

Guest
Talk
1962

La bellezza di Ippolita

Actor
Ippolita
Movie
1962

La Beauté d'Hippolyte

Actor
Movie
1962

Come September

Actor
Lisa Helena Fellini
Movie
1961
86%

Go Naked in the World

Actor
Guilietta Cameron
Movie
1961

Le Rendez-vous de septembre

Actor
Movie
1961

Fast and Sexy

Actor
Anna
Movie
1960

Solomon y Sheba

Actor
Movie
1959

Solomon and Sheba

Actor
Sheba
Movie
1959

Never So Few

Actor
Carla Vesari
Movie
1959

Where the Hot Wind Blows

Actor
Marietta
Movie
1959

La Loi

Actor
Movie
1958

The Hunchback of Notre DameStream

Actor
Esmeralda
Movie
1957

TrapezeStream

Actor
Lola
Movie
1956
75%

Woman of Rome

Actor
Adriana
Movie
1956

Beautiful but Dangerous

Actor
Lina Cavalieri
Movie
1955

La donna più bella del mondo

Actor
Lina Cavalieri
Movie
1955

The Wayward Wife

Actor
Gemma Vagnuzzi
Movie
1955

Pane, amore e gelosia

Actor
La Bersagliera
Movie
1954

Four Ways Out

Actor
Daniela
Movie
1954

Crossed Swords

Actor
Francesca
Movie
1954

Le Grand Jeu

Actor
Sylvia Sorrego / Helena Ricci
Movie
1953

Beat the DevilStream

Actor
Maria Dannreuther
Movie
1953
68%

Bread, Love and Dreams

Actor
Maria De Ritis, detta "La Bersagliera"
Movie
1953

The Unfaithfuls

Actor
Lulla Possenti
Movie
1953

Le Infedeli

Actor
Lulla Possenti
Movie
1953

Otros tiempos

Actor
Movie
1952

Wife for a Night

Actor
Movie
1952

Soldier in Love

Actor
Adeline La Franchise
Movie
1951

Amor non ho... però... però

Actor
Gina
Movie
1951

Enrico Caruso, leggenda di una voce

Actor
Movie
1951

Fanfan-la-Tulipe

Actor
Adeline La Franchise
Movie
1951

A Tale of Five Women

Actor
Maria Severini
Movie
1951

Attention! Bandits!

Actor
Anna
Movie
1951

The Young Caruso

Actor
Stella
Movie
1951

What's My Line?Stream

Guest
Game Show
1950

Cuori senza frontiere

Actor
Donata Sebastian
Movie
1950

My Beautiful Daughter

Actor
Lisetta Minneci
Movie
1950

Vita da cani

Actor
Margherita "Rita Buton"
Movie
1950

Alina

Actor
Alina
Movie
1950

Campane a martello

Actor
Agostina
Movie
1949

La sposa non può attendere

Actor
Donata Venturi
Movie
1949

Love of a Clown

Actor
Nedda
Movie
1948

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