Gina Lollobrigida, 1950s Italian film succubus, dies at 95

After World War II, the Italian film industry became even more powerful, keeping pace with Hollywood and becoming one of the world’s leading film exporters. Rome, Open City by Roberto Rossellini and Bicycle Thieves by Vittorio De Sica Such gritty poetic works are masterpieces of neorealism, turning themes of poverty and hopelessness into high art.

But when Time magazine looked at the prowess of Italian filmmaking in 1954, it didn’t put Rossellini or De Sica on its cover. In its place was Gina Lollobrigida, a red-lipped bombshell wrapped in body-hugging gowns, whose appearances in comedies, romances and adventures fueled a revival of neorealism. Rebellious.

Mrs. Lollobrigida, died in January. At 95 and 16 in Rome, he was an international sensation almost unmatched.

Her charisma made “Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple,” said actor Humphrey Bogart. Life magazine called “La Lollo” — as she was nicknamed — “the most compelling argument ever made for liberal immigration policy.” For New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther, she “The original Italian buxom star”, the forerunner of Sophia Loren, who would soon become the quintessential Italian sex goddess in the public imagination.

Mrs. Lollobrigida (pronounced lo-lo-BRIDGE-eeh-dah) joins Brigitte Bardot and Anita Ekberg as the beauties of the European screen, whose charm has captured the fantasies of a generation of cinephiles.

In its heyday spanning 25 years and more than 50 films, Ms. Lollobrigida’s reputation as an actress is clearly mixed. “She was hampered by a lack of intensity and presence,” noted film historian David Shipman, who likened her sexiness to a one-dimensional billboard.

She started her career in 1946 when a film director saw the former art student on the streets of Rome and was captivated. And it’s a picture of Ms. Zhang. In 1950, Lollobrigida in a bikini was enough to entice billionaire industrialist and film producer Howard Hughes to fly her to Hollywood. She later said he held her captive in a luxury hotel for weeks before she agreed to a contract. She said she rejected his sexual advances, and in return he made her prohibitively expensive for other American filmmakers.

As a result, the young Roland took the lead in conquering Hollywood. Mrs. Lollobrigida, who often stoked their rivalry, later made a scathing comment on Life: “We’re as different as a good racehorse is from a goat.”

Her ascent continued, but in European films or European-American co-productions, such as “Beat the Devil” (1953) and “The Trapeze” (1956). The former is a furry spoof about con men, in which Bogart and Ms. Lollobrigida was chosen as the couple. The latter portrays her as a circus performer whose tricks and ambitions threaten to derail Burt Lancaster’s partnership with Tony Curtis’ trapeze artist.

Even after she escaped Hughes, Ms. Lollobrigida has long been influenced by film studies. In “Solomon and Sheba” (1959), she performed an unforgettable colorful pagan dance as Sheba, delighting co-star Yul Brynner as Solomon. Her bathtub scene is the highlight of “Never So Little” (1959), a lackluster World War II film starring Frank Sinatra. She was a call girl wooed by the son of a construction tycoon (Anthony Franciosa) in Naked (1961) and recruited for a murderous scheme in The Scarecrow (1964) nurse. – Starring Sean Connery.

Her career dwindled with farces such as “Strange Bedfellow” (1965), opposite Rock Hudson, “Sergeant’s Private Navy. O’Farrell” (1968), with Bob Hope and ” “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell” (1968), the story of an Italian woman who becomes entangled with three former American soldiers (Terry Savalas, Peter Lawford, and Phil Silvers).

Over the years, Ms. Known to be quarrelsome and demanding, Lollobrigida is an insatiable performer with an unbridled desire to control the stage. She is also litigious, filing as many as 10 lawsuits at a time.

She is suing producers for what she calls a broken promise, and suing her attorneys over advertisers and publications she claims are using her image without permission. She won over an Italian film critic over his disparaging description of her “breasts,” according to Time magazine.

In interviews, Ms. Lollobrigida portrays herself as one of life’s indomitable survivors: an Italian country girl who endured wartime misery, sexual assault, deceitful producers and a vicious entertainment press.

When her screen career looked bleak, she moved on with vigor. She became a sculptor and published her photography books. “I may not be Cartier-Bresson, but I can do something good,” she later told the New York Times. In 1972, she made a documentary short about Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

She was also a fundraiser for UN humanitarian missions, work that led to her unsuccessful attempt to win Italy a seat in the European Parliament in 1999. Through it all, she remains “La Lollo,” managing to spice up scandal coverage and celebrity magazines with the private pain of what she calls her “vulnerability of youth.”

An octogenarian, she sued a boyfriend 25 years her junior who she alleges orchestrated an unauthorized marriage to steal her considerable fortune, estimated at tens of millions of dollars. Her son tried unsuccessfully to get her to declare her mentally unfit to handle her business affairs. She emphasized her independence by likening herself to the Colosseum, declaring that “I will never break down and I will never break down”.

Luigia Lollobrigida, the second of four daughters, was born on July 4, 1927 in the town of Subiaco in the Sabine Mountains. Her father lost his furniture factory in an Allied air raid during World War II, and the family moved 50 miles west to Rome, where he began selling black-market cigarettes and army blankets.

“We were so poor that I made shoes out of stable straw,” she later told Weekly World News. After Italy surrendered, she sang and sold skits to American GIs. She used the money she earned to pay for singing lessons and was awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

A chance encounter with a studio official landed her a role as an extra on the film, and then gradually into bigger roles. She also worked as a model and won the title of Miss Rome before finishing third in the Miss Italy competition.

In 1949 she married Milko Skofic, a Yugoslav doctor, who became her agent. He took lewd promotional photos of the 23-year-old woman. Lollobrigida piqued the interest of Hughes, who immediately offered her a one-way ticket to Los Angeles.

Hughes chauffeured her to a luxury hotel with guards outside the door so she couldn’t receive mail or make phone calls. He tells her to leave her husband, and to emphasize that, assigns her divorce scene to her audition.

Exhausted after six weeks in gilded captivity, ma’am. Lollobrigida said she broke down during a 2 a.m. meeting with Hughes and signed the contract. Only then was she allowed to fly home.

Mrs. Lollobrigida rose to prominence in European cinema. She made a corset-busting impression in the swashbuckling film Fanfan la Tulipe (1952), starring French star GĂ©rard Philipe. The following year, she had her breakthrough, playing a brisk, barefoot farmer in the brisk comedy Bread, Love and Dreams, opposite De Sica, also a well-known actor, as the prim but intimidating A gendarmerie officer fascinated by people.

She charged $48,000 for the film, twice as much as the equally popular sequel, “Bread, Love and Jealousy” (1954). When she insisted on getting half of the profits from the second sequel, A Scandal in Sorrento (1955), Loren was hired and made her way to Hollywood.

Meanwhile, ma’am. Lollobrigida made headlines more because of her love story than her movie roles. In the 1960s, she was briefly engaged to New York real estate heir George S. Kaufman and had an acrimonious affair with South African heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard She later called him a “cheap propagandist” after she revealed she once drove him to a Jaguar hotel where he was staying in nothing but a mink coat. She said she tried to seduce Hudson, who was gay, and she later told CNN host Larry King that Hudson was “asleep” in bed.

In 2006, Ms. Lollobrigida said she called off her planned marriage to Spanish businessman Javier Rigau y Rafols. But in 2010, Rigau held the wedding in Barcelona and hired an agent to “stand in” for the bride. She called the incident a “terrible and vulgar fraud” by a fortune hunter.

Ligao produced a witness to prove that she had signed the power of attorney. After a court in Rome handed down the sentence against Ms. Lollobrigida In 2017, she continued to seek repeal. Meanwhile, when her son Andrea Milko Scofici challenges her abilities, she often spends time with her new manager, Andrea Piazzolla, who is younger than her. At 60, she calls him “the best guy I’ve ever met in my life” so far. “

Italian Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano announced his death but gave no further details. A full list of survivors is not yet available.

Mrs. Lollobrigida once told Vanity Fair that, regardless of her public persona, she sees herself as essentially a lonely soul who wants nothing more than art. She said in 2015: “I have never made any compromises and have always remained independent and alone. My strength is my free spirit, and my rich imagination gives me strength and vitality.”

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