Italian screen legend Gina Lollobrigida has died at the age of 95, ANSA news agency reported, citing family members.
Her great-nephew, Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, tweeted the news of her death, calling her “one of the brightest stars of Italian cinematography and culture”.
RAI state media also reported his death.
Along with Sophia Loren, Lollobrigida became the symbol of the down-to-earth sexuality of Italian actresses of the 1950s and 1960s.
After training as a painter and sculptor, Lollobrigida became a beauty queen and a successful model, before making her first film appearance in 1946, with a small role in the swashbuckling adventure “The Black Eagle”.
In the early 1950s, she was a huge star in Europe. She made her film debut in English in 1953, in “Beat the Devil” by John Huston, alongside Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones.
She was Esmerelda for Anthony Quinn’s Quasimodo in the 1956 adaptation of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and Queen of Sheba for Yul Brynner’s King Solomon in King Vidor’s 1959 Technicolor epic “Solomon and Sheba “.
When film roles began to dwindle in the 1970s, Lollobrigida embarked on a new career as a photojournalist. She appeared occasionally in film and television, most notably in a recurring role on the American soap opera “Falcon Crest” in 1984.
Last year, she ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Italy’s Senate, telling the Corriere della Sera newspaper ahead of the country’s elections: “I was just tired of hearing politicians argue without ever coming to the does.