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- The Mona Lisa of the Twentieth Century La Lo
- Gina Lollobrigida
- Subiaco Italy
Born Luigina Lollobrigida, she was one of four daughters of a furniture manufacturer (her sisters are Giuliana, Maria and Fernanda). She spent her youth in a picturesque mountain village. In her youth, Gina did some modelling, and from there she went to participate successfully in several beauty contests. At around this time, she began appearing in Italian language films. In 1947, Gina entered the Miss Italia pageant and came in 3rd place. The contest was won by Lucia Bosé and second place was Gianna Maria Canale - they would both go on to be actresses, though neither would come near Lollobrigida's success.
Gina Lollobrigida Career
Her appearance in Italian films brought her to the attention of Hollywood and she made her first American film, Beat the Devil, in 1953. As her popularity increased, Lollobrigida earned the nickname The World's Most Beautiful Woman after her signature 1955 movie.
She made another notable appearance in Trapeze with Burt Lancaster in 1956 and starred in The Hunchback of Notre Dame the same year. In 1959 she co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Never So Few and with Yul Brynner in Solomon and Sheba. The latter was notable for having Brynner replace Tyrone Power (who died during filming), for being the last film directed by King Vidor, and for an orgy scene extremely licentious for Hollywood motion pictures of that era.
In 1961 she made one of her most popular films, Come September, with Rock Hudson, for which she won the Golden Globe as "World Film Favorite." She co-starred with him again in 1965's Strange Bedfellows and appeared alongside Alec Guinness in 1966's Hotel Paradiso. In 1968 she starred in the enjoyable Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell with Shelley Winters, Phil Silvers, and Telly Savalas, the plot of which is the basis for the stage musical Mamma Mia!. For this role she was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Lollobrigida co-starred with Bob Hope in the comedy The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell and also accompanied Hope on his visits to military troops overseas.
By the 1970s her film career had wound down. She appeared in only a few poorly received productions in the early part of the decade. In the mid 80's, she starred in "Falcon Crest" as Francesca Gioberthi, a role originally written for Sophia Loren who turned it down.She also had a supporting role in the tv mini series Deceptions in 1985 with Stephanie Powers.
In 1986, she was the head of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival which awarded the Golden Bear to Reinhard Hauff's film Stammheim, although she herself, infringing the Festival rules, distanced herself publicly from the decision, claiming the decision had been made for political reasons. She made a few minor film appearances in the 1990s.
Gina Lollobrigida Photojournalism
By the end of the 1970s she had embarked on what turned out to be a successful career as a photographic journalist. She photographed, among others, Paul Newman, Salvador Dalí and the German national football team and scooped the world's press by obtaining an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro. In 1973 a collection of her work was published, Italia Mia.
Gina Lollobrigida Other interests
She has focused on other interests such as sculpting and it was 1984 before she returned to American television screens with a part in Falcon Crest. She was also a corporate executive for fashion and cosmetics companies.
Gina Lollobrigida Political activism
In 1999 she ran unsuccessfully for one of Italy's 87 seats in the elections for European Parliament with the center-left party The Democrats.