Legendary Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, best known for her role in The World’s Most Beautiful Woman, has passed away at the age of 95, according to Fox News Digital.
The former Time Magazine cover-woman was likened to a “goddess” in the world of Italian cinema. No news has yet been released regarded the cause of death, although she had surgery as recently as September to repair an injured leg.
Her popularity in America grew rapidly once she began starring in movies stateside, according to AP News, who said:
“Eccentric 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.
Over the years, her co-stars also included Europe’s most dashing male stars of the era, among them Louis Jourdan, Fernando Rey, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Alec Guinness.
While Lollobrigida played some dramatic roles, her sex symbol image defined her career, and her most popular characters were in lighthearted comedies such as the “Bread, Love” trilogy.”
Her story was one of perseverance and fortitude and served as inspiration for many women in Italy throughout the 20th century. During the bombings of World War II, her family lost everything, including their home. In order to allow Gina to follow her passion for fine arts, her sisters took up working at a movie theater to support the family while Gina attended a high school specializing in performance arts.
In 1956 she players her most iconic role as Esmerelda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, a film which has firmly withstood the test of time. In 1959 she took an equally seismic role as Sheba in “Solomon and Sheba”, a film that she believes to be the pinnacle of her career:
“There is only one trouble with having played the most famous courtesan of all times and that is, after Sheba, all other roles will certainly seem tame and anticlimactic.”
Later in life, she even proved to share a plight that many in the western world today seem plagued by; the ineptitude of politicians. In what would later become an unsuccessful attempt, Gina ran for a seat in the Italian senate, which she explained by saying:
“I was just tired of hearing politicians arguing with each other without ever getting to the point.”
Even though she loved the fame and the life that it afforded to her, Gina never fully adjusted to the scrutiny of public life. She said as much, detailing the demise of her private life:
“Popularity has a bright side, it unlocks many doors. But the truth is that I don’t like it very much because it changes the private life into a very small thing.”
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