Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida died at the age of 95, BBC News and Reuters confirmed on Monday, January 16. Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano confirmed Gina’s death on Twitter, writing, “Farewell to a big screen diva, protagonist of over half a century of Italian cinema history. Her charm will remain eternal.”
Gina, nicknamed Lo Lollo, was a beloved post-World War II actress in Europe. She started acting in her youth and eventually landed a major film contract with producer Howard Hughe that changed her life forever. Here’s everything you need to know about Gina Lollobrigida.
Gina was an iconic Italian actress.
After starring in dozens of Italian films, Gina’s first major English-language movie was 1953’s Beat the Devil, where she played Humphrey Bogart‘s on-screen wife. She followed that up with more American films including Trapeze, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Come September, and Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell. She worked with Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson and more well-known actors in movies. On television, Gina notably starred in the ’80s sitcom Falcon Crest, which earned her one of three Golden Globe nominations in her career.
She was also a photojournalist.
Gina’s acting career slowed during the ’70s and ’80s so she became a photojournalist. Her first photography book, Italia Mia, was published in 1973. She took photos of major stars like Aubrey Hepburn and Paul Newman as a photojournalist. She even successfully got an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro.
She was considered an international sex symbol.
Gina was known as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” a title that normally went to Elizabeth Taylor. She told The New York Times in 1995 that she didn’t mind being seen as a sex symbol. “Why should I be offended? It’s not an insult,” she said.
She was married once.
Gina married Slovenian physician Milko Skofic in 1949. Milko gave up his career to become Gina’s manager. They welcomed their only child, son Milko Jr., on July 28, 1957. The family of three moved from Italy to Toronto, Canada in the early 1960s. Gina and Milko got divorced in 1971, after she reportedly had a one-night affair with South African doctor Christiaan Barnard. Gina’s son is now 65 years old and has a son of his own named Dimitri.
She entered politics before she died.
At the age of 95, Gina ran for a seat in the Senate of the Republic in the 2022 Italian general election. She was a candidate for the leftist party but only received 1% of the constituency vote, according to local Italian reports. “I was just tired of hearing politicians arguing with each other without ever getting to the point,” Gina said in an interview when she announced her election bid. “I will fight for the people to decide, from health to justice. Italy is in bad shape, I want to do something good and positive,” she added.
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