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Gina Lollobrigida died at 95


Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, who rose to international stardom during the 1950s and was dubbed ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ after the title of one of her films, died in Rome on Monday, her agent announced . She was 95 years old.

The agent, Paola Comin, did not provide details. But Lollobrigida underwent surgery in September to repair a femur fractured in a fall. She went home and said she quickly resumed walking.

A drawn portrait of the diva adorned a 1954 cover of Time magazine, which in an article on Italian cinema compared her to a “goddess”. More than half a century later, Lollobrigida was still turning heads with a full head of curly auburn hair and her statuesque figure.

“Lollo”, as she was affectionately nicknamed by Italians, started making films in Italy just after the end of World War II, as the country began to promote on the big screen a stereotypical concept of Mediterranean beauty as that busty and brunette.

Besides “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World” in 1955, career highlights included Golden Globe-winning “Come September” with Rock Hudson; “Trapeze;” “Beat the Devil,” a 1953 John Huston film starring Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones; and “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell,” which won Lollobrigida Italy’s Best Film Award, a David di Donatello, as Best Actress in 1969.

In Italy, she worked with some of the country’s best directors after the war, including Mario Monicelli, Luigi Comencini, Pietro Germi and Vittorio De Sica.

Two of his most popular home movies were Comencini’s “Pane Amore Fantasia” (Bread Love Fantasy) in 1953, and the sequel a year later, “Pane Amore Gelosia” (Bread Love Jealousy). In all of them, his male foil was Vittorio Gassman, one of Italy’s most prominent men on screen.

Lollobrigida began her career in beauty pageants, posing for magazine covers and cameo appearances in minor films. But her sexy image quickly propelled her to roles in major Italian and international films.

While Lollobrigida played dramatic roles, her characters were most popular in light comedies, such as the “Bread Love” films.

Lollobrigida was also an accomplished sculptor, painter, and photographer, and eventually essentially gave up film for fine art. With her camera, she traveled the world from what was then the Soviet Union to Australia.

In 1974, Fidel Castro hosted her as a guest in Cuba for 12 days while she was working on a photo essay.

She was born on July 4, 1927, in Subiaco, a picturesque town on a hill near Rome, where her father was a furniture maker.

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