|Was||Actor Photographer Artist Sculptor Journalist Film actor|
|Field||Arts Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism|
|Birth||4 July 1927, Subiaco, Province of Rome, Lazio, Italy|
|Death||16 January 2023, Rome, Province of Rome, Lazio, Italy (aged 95 years)|
|Politics||The Democrats, Sovereign and Popular Italy|
Luigia "Gina" Lollobrigida, OMRI (4 July 1927 – 16 January 2023) was an Italian actress, photojournalist, and politician. She was one of the highest-profile European actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s, a period in which she was an international sex symbol. At the time of her death, Lollobrigida was among the last living high-profile international actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.
As her film career slowed, Lollobrigida established a second career as a photojournalist. In the 1970s she achieved a scoop by gaining access to Fidel Castro for an exclusive interview.
Lollobrigida continued on as an active supporter of Italian and Italian-American causes, particularly the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). In 2008, she received the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award at the Foundation's Anniversary Gala. In 2013 she sold her jewelry collection and donated the nearly US$5 million from the sale to benefit stem-cell therapy research. She won the Henrietta Award at 18th Golden Globe Awards.
Born Luigia Lollobrigida in Subiaco in Lazio, she was the daughter of a furniture manufacturer and his wife. Her three sisters are Giuliana (born 1924), Maria (born 1929), and Fernanda (1930–2011). In her youth, Lollobrigida did some modelling and participated successfully in several beauty contests. Around this time, she began appearing in Italian films in minor roles.
In 1945, at age 18, Lollobrigida played a part in the comedy Santarellina by Eduardo Scarpetta at the Teatro della Concordia of Monte Castello di Vibio, the smallest theatre all'italiana in the world.
In 1947, Lollobrigida entered the Miss Italia pageant and came in third place, giving her national exposure.
In 1950, Howard Hughes signed Lollobrigida on a preliminary seven-year contract to make three pictures a year. She refused the final terms of the contract, preferring to remain in Europe, and Hughes suspended her. Despite selling RKO Pictures in 1955, Hughes retained Lollobrigida's contract. The dispute prevented her from working in American movies filmed in the U.S. until 1959, but not from working in American productions shot in Europe, although Hughes often threatened legal action against the producers.
Her performance in Bread, Love and Dreams (Pane, amore e fantasia, 1953) led to it becoming a box-office success and her receiving a BAFTA nomination. Further she won a Nastro d'Argento award from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists for her role in the picture. Lollobrigida appeared in The Wayward Wife (1953) and in Woman of Rome (1954). These were three of her most renowned Italian films, but she worked also in the French industry on such films as Fearless Little Soldier (Fanfan la Tulipe, 1952), Beauties of the Night (Les Belles de nuit, also 1952), and Le Grand Jeu (1954).
Her first widely seen English-language film, Beat the Devil (1953), was shot in Italy, directed by John Huston. In this film she played the wife of Humphrey Bogart, with Jennifer Jones and Robert Morley as her costars. She then took part in the Italian-American production Crossed Swords (1954), co-starring with Errol Flynn. Her appearance in The World's Most Beautiful Woman (also known as Beautiful But Dangerous, 1955) led to her receiving the first David di Donatello for Best Actress award. In this film, she interpreted Italian soprano Lina Cavalieri, singing some arias from Tosca with her own voice. She had the principal female lead in the circus drama Trapeze (1956) directed by Carol Reed co-starring with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis and in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956), appeared as Esmeralda with Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo. The film was directed by Jean Delannoy.
She appeared in the French movie The Law (1959), alongside Yves Montand and Marcello Mastroianni; then, she co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (1959) and with Yul Brynner in Solomon and Sheba (also 1959). The latter was the last film directed by King Vidor, and features a dance routine which was supposed to depict an orgy scene. Brynner had been chosen to substitute for Tyrone Power, who died before the shots were completed.
In the romantic comedy Come September (1961), Lollobrigida had a leading role along with Rock Hudson, Sandra Dee, and Bobby Darin. It was a film for which she won a Golden Globe Award. She appeared, also in 1961, with Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Franciosa in the drama Go Naked in the World.
Jean Delannoy then directed her again, this time in Venere Imperiale (1962). She co-starred with Stephen Boyd and received Nastro d'Argento and David di Donatello awards. She co-starred with Sean Connery in the thriller Woman of Straw (1964), with Rock Hudson again in Strange Bedfellows (1965), and appeared with Alec Guinness in Hotel Paradiso (1966).
Lollobrigida starred in Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968) with Shelley Winters, Phil Silvers, Peter Lawford, and Telly Savalas. For this role, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won a third David di Donatello award. Lollobrigida co-starred with Bob Hope in the comedy The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (1968) and also accompanied Hope on his visits to military troops overseas.
During this stage of her career, however, she rejected roles in many films, including Lady L (1965) with Tony Curtis, directed by George Cukor, due to conflicts with Cukor (the leading role then went to Sophia Loren); Five Branded Women (1960), directed by Martin Ritt (the leading role went to Silvana Mangano); and The Lady Without Camelias (1953), directed by Michelangelo Antonioni (the leading role went to Lucia Bosè). She later revealed regret for having refused a supporting role in La Dolce Vita (1960). The film's director, Federico Fellini, wanted to cast her in the film but, she explained, proposed projects were arriving too often at the time and her husband accidentally misplaced the script.
By the 1970s, her film career had slowed down. She appeared in King, Queen, Knave (1972), co-starring with David Niven, and in a few other poorly received productions in the early part of the decade. In 1973, she was a member of the jury at the 8th Moscow International Film Festival.
In the mid-1980s, she starred in the television series Falcon Crest as Francesca Gioberti, a role originally written for Sophia Loren, who had turned it down. For the role, she received a third Golden Globe nomination. She also had a supporting role in the 1985 television miniseries Deceptions, co-starring with Stefanie Powers. The following year, she appeared as guest star in the TV series The Love Boat.
In 1986, she was invited to head the jury at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival, which awarded the Golden Bear to Reinhard Hauff's film Stammheim. She said the majority decision was "prefabricated", and opposed it.
In the 1990s, she made a few minor French film appearances and continued to participate in and attend international film festivals.
By the end of the 1970s, Lollobrigida had embarked on what she developed into a successful second career as a photographic journalist. She photographed, among others, Paul Newman, Salvador Dalí, Henry Kissinger, David Cassidy, Audrey Hepburn, Ella Fitzgerald, and the German national football team. She even managed to obtain an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro, leader of Communist Cuba. In 1973, a collection of her work was published under the title Italia Mia.
In 1999, Lollobrigida unsuccessfully ran for election to the European Parliament as a candidate for The Democrats, a party led by Romano Prodi. In 2020, she publicly endorsed Pope Francis' view on LGBT rights. In the 2022 Italian general election, Lollobrigida, at the age of 95, attempted to win a seat in the Senate of the Republic, by standing for election as candidate for the Sovereign and Popular Italy (ISP), a newly-founded Eurosceptic alliance opposed to Mario Draghi, in Latina, Lazio. She was unsuccessful, as the party garnered only 1% of the constituency vote, below the 3% electoral threshold. In an interview with Corriere della Sera prior to the election, Lollobrigida said she was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's "way of doing things". She also claimed to have been close to Indira Gandhi.
In 1949, Lollobrigida married a Slovenian physician, Milko Škofič. Their only child, Andrea Milko (Milko Škofič, Jr.), was born on 28 July 1957. Škofič gave up the practice of medicine to become her manager. In 1960, Lollobrigida moved from her native Italy to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with Škofič and their son Andrea. The couple meant to solve the legal situation of their son who was considered stateless by the Italian bureaucracy. They divorced in 1971.
She had a one-night extramarital affair with Christiaan Barnard, a South African doctor and pioneer in heart transplant surgery.
In October 2006, at age 79, she announced to Spain's ¡Hola! magazine her engagement to a 45-year-old Spanish businessman, Javier Rigau y Rafols. They had met at a party in Monte Carlo in 1984 and had since become companions. The engagement was called off on 6 December 2006, reportedly because of the strain of intense media interest.
In 2006 Lollobrigida and Rigau signed a prenuptial agreement and married in Spain.
In January 2013, she started legal action against Javier Rigau y Rafols, claiming that her ex-boyfriend had staged a secret ceremony in which he "married" an imposter pretending to be her at a registry office in Barcelona. She said he intended to lay claim to her estate after her death. Lollobrigida accused Rigau of fraud, saying that he had earlier obtained the legal right to act on her behalf with a power of attorney, and carried out the plot to get extra power. "A while ago he convinced me to give him my power of attorney. He needed it for some legal affairs. But instead I fear that he took advantage of the fact that I don't understand Spanish ... Who knows what he had me sign." In March 2017, she lost her court action, but subsequently said that she would appeal.
Lollobrigida had a habit of referring to herself in the third person.
Lollobrigida retired from filming in 1997. She told PARADE in April 2000: "I studied painting and sculpting at school and became an actress by mistake ... I've had many lovers and still have romances. I am very spoiled. All my life, I've had too many admirers." After retirement she divided her time between her house on Via Appia Antica in Rome and a villa in Monte Carlo. After 2009, Lollobrigida did not allow visitors to her home.
In 2013, Lollobrigida sold her jewellery collection through Sotheby's. She donated nearly $5 million to benefit stem-cell therapy.
In 2019, the Roman Rota decreed the declaration of nullity for her marriage with Rigau after two years of process and with the Pope's approval.
At the end of the 2010s, Andrea Piazzolla became Lollobrigida's main collaborator, general director and trustee of some Monegasque real estate and financial societies. In July 2020 he was charged for circumvention of an incapable.
In 2021, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation, at the request of her son, ruled that Lollobrigida should have a legal guardian appointed to manage her affairs so that she was not taken advantage of. Although the court determined she was not mentally incapable, medical evidence had indicated that there was "a weakening in her correct perception of reality" and that she was in a state of "vulnerability".
In 2022, sports media noted that Olympic speed skating silver medalist Francesca Lollobrigida is her grandniece, though the two were not acquainted.
Lollobrigida died at a clinic in Rome on 16 January 2023, at the age of 95. No cause of death has been reported.
Awards and nominations
Lollobrigida won three David di Donatello, two Nastro d'Argento, and six Bambi awards. She was nominated three times for the Golden Globe and won once in 1961 as World Film Favorite – Female. She was nominated once for a BAFTA award.
In 1985, she was nominated as an officer of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Jack Lang, for her achievements in photography and sculpture.
She was awarded the Légion d'honneur by François Mitterrand.
On 16 October 1999, Lollobrigida was nominated as a Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
On 1 February 2018, Lollobrigida received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Italia mia, 1973, a collection of photographs across Italy
- The Philippines, 1976, a collection of photographs across the Philippines
- Wonder of Innocence, 1994, a book of photographs
- Sculptures, 2003
In popular culture
- Appeared in the TV series, The Jetsons, as Gina Lollo Jupiter
- On the 1970-1971 TV series, The Bugaloos, the supporting character, Gina Lolawattage (voiced by Joan Gerber, impersonating Mae West) – a firefly singer and actress who becomes smitten with her #1 fan Sparky (voiced by Billy Barty).
- English rock band Cardiacs included a song titled "Gina Lollobrigida" on their 1984 album The Seaside.
- American rock band Dixie Dregs included an instrumental titled "Gina Lola Breakdown" on their 1978 album What If.
- The ninth season of the Scottish sitcom Still Game contained a bittersweet episode which showed one of the regular characters, Eric, in the throes of Ill health and dementia. It is through his dementia that he believes that he was once in a relationship with Gina during his time in Rome with the Royal Navy, when in fact it was with a local cafe owner with a similar name. The episode ("Grim up North") ended this story arch with Eric's death and funeral and the appearance of the real 'Gina'.
|1946||Lucia di Lammermoor|
|1946||This Wine of Love|
|1946||Black Eagle||Girl at party|
|1947||When Love Calls|
|1947||Flesh Will Surrender||Dancer|
|1947||Vendetta nel sole||Young girl|
|1948||Mad About Opera||Dora|
|1949||The Bride Can't Wait||Donata Venturi|
|1949||The White Line||Donata Sebastian|
|1950||A Dog's Life||Rita Buton|
|1950||Miss Italia||Lisetta Minneci|
|1951||A Tale of Five Cities||Maria Severini|
|1951||The Young Caruso||Stella|
|1951||Four Ways Out||Daniela|
|1951||Love I Haven't... But... But||Gina|
|1952||Wife For a Night (Moglie per una notte)||Ottavia|
|1952||Times Gone By||Mariantonia Desiderio|
|1952||Fanfan la Tulipe||Adeline La Franchise|
|1952||Beauties of the Night||Leila, Cashier|
|1953||The Wayward Wife||Gemma Vagnuzzi|
|1953||Bread, Love and Dreams||Maria De Ritis||Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress|
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
|1953||Le infedeli||Lulla Possenti|
|1953||Beat the Devil||Maria Dannreuther||UK-USA-Italy|
|1954||Woman of Rome||Adriana|
|1954||Bread, Love and Jealousy||Maria De Ritis|
|1954||Le Grand Jeu||Sylvia Sorrego, Helena Ricci|
|1955||The World's Most Beautiful Woman||Lina Cavalieri||David di Donatello for Best Actress|
|1956||The Hunchback of Notre Dame||Esmeralda|
|1958||Anna of Brooklyn||Anna|
|1959||Never So Few||Carla Vesari|
|1959||Solomon and Sheba||Queen of Sheba|
|1961||Go Naked in the World||Giulietta Cameron|
|1961||Come September||Lisa Helena Fellini||Golden Globe Henrietta Award, World Film Favorite – Female|
|1962||Lykke og krone (documentary)|
|1962||La bellezza di Ippolita||Ippolita|
|1963||Venere Imperiale||Paulette Bonaparte||David di Donatello for Best Actress|
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
|1964||Woman of Straw||Maria Marcello|
|1965||Me, Me, Me... and the Others||Titta|
|1965||Le Bambole (The Dolls)||Beatrice|
|1965||Strange Bedfellows||Toni Vincente|
|1965||The Love Goddesses (documentary)|
|1966||The Sultans||Liza Bortoli|
|1966||Hotel Paradiso||Marcelle Cotte|
|1968||Death Laid an Egg||Anna|
|1968||The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell||Maria|
|1968||Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell||Carla Campbell||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
David di Donatello for Best Actress
|1969||That Splendid November||Cettina|
|1971||Bad Man's River||Alicia King|
|1972||King, Queen, Knave||Martha Dreyer|
|1973||No encontre rosas para mi madre|
|1983||Wandering Stars (documentary)|
|1995||Les cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma||L'épouse médium du professeur Bébel|
|2011||Box Office 3D: The Filmest of Films||Herself||Cameo appearance|
|1958||Portrait of Gina (documentary)||Lost from 1958 until 1986, when it turned up in a storage unit of the Ritz Hotel, Paris, where director Orson Welles had left the only copy. Upon rediscovery, it was screened once at the 1986 Venice Film Festival, and once on German television, before Lollobrigida (who had seen the Venice screening) took legal action to have it banned, due to its unflattering portrayal of her as an ambitious young star.|
|1972||The Adventures of Pinocchio||The Fairy with Turquoise Hair|
|1984||Falcon Crest||Francesca Gioberti||5 episodes|
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
|1986||The Love Boat||Carla Lucci||2 episodes|
|1988||Woman of Rome||Adriana's mother||3 episodes, television remake|
|1996||Una donna in fuga||Eleonora Riboldi||TV movie|