Monday, June 29, 2015
Monthly Muse - Gina Lollobrigida
Gina Lollobrigida was born Luigina Lollobrigida in Subiaco, Italy, on 4th July 1927. She was one of four daughters of a furniture manufacturer and his wife. She grew up in a picturesque mountain village. In her youth, Gina did some modelling, and from that, she participated successfully in several beauty contests. At around this time, she began appearing in Italian films in minor roles.
In 1945, at age 18, she played a part in the comedy Santarellina by Eduardo Scarpetta at the Teatro della Concordia of Monte Castello di Vibio, the smallest theatre all'italiana in the world.
In 1947, Lollobrigida entered the Miss Italia pageant and came in third place. It gave her national exposure.
In 1950, Howard Hughes invited Gina to work in Hollywood, but she refused, preferring to remain in Europe; this decision prevented her from working in American movies filmed in the USA until 1959, though not from working in American productions shot in Europe. Her performance in Bread, Love and Dreams (Pane, amore e fantasia, 1953) led to her receiving a BAFTA nomination and won a Nastro d'Argento award. Gina also appeared in The Wayward Wife (1953) and in Woman of Rome (1954). These were three of her most renowned Italian films, but she worked also in the French industry on such films as Fearless Little Soldier (Fanfan la Tulipe, 1952), Beauties of the Night (Les Belles de nuit, also 1952) and Le Grand Jeu (1954).
Her first widely seen English language film was Beat the Devil (1953), a film which was shot in Italy. In this film, directed by John Huston, she played the wife of Humphrey Bogart, with Jennifer Jones as her rival. She then took part in the Italian-American production Crossed Swords (1954), co-starring with Errol Flynn. Her appearance in The World's Most Beautiful Woman (also known as Beautiful But Dangerous, 1955) led to her receiving the first David di Donatello for Best Actress award; in this film she interpreted the Italian soprano Lina Cavalieri, singing some arias from Tosca with her own voice. She had the principal female lead in the circus drama Trapeze (1956) directed by Carol Reed co-starring with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis and in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956), appeared as Esmeralda with Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo. The film was directed by Jean Delannoy.
In 1959, she appeared in the French movie The Law, alongside Yves Montand and Marcello Mastroianni; then, she co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (1959) and with Yul Brynner in Solomon and Sheba (also 1959). The latter was the last film directed by King Vidor, and features an almost unique orgy scene in Hollywood motion pictures of that era; furthermore, Brynner was chosen to substitute Tyrone Power, who died before the shots were completed.
Jean Delannoy then directed her again, this time in Venere Imperiale (1962). She co-starred with Stephen Boyd and she received Nastro d'Argento and David di Donatello awards. She co-starred with Sean Connery in the thriller Woman of Straw (1964), with Rock Hudson again in Strange Bedfellows (1965) and appeared with Alec Guinness in Hotel Paradiso (1966).
She starred in Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968) with Shelley Winters, Phil Silvers and Telly Savalas. For this role, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won a third David di Donatello award. Gina 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 slowed down. She appeared in King, Queen, Knave, co-starring with David Niven, and in a few other poorly received productions in the early part of the decade. In 1973, she was a member of the jury at the 8th Moscow International Film Festival.
In the mid-1980s, she starred in the television series Falcon Crest as Francesca Gioberti, a role originally written for Sophia Loren, who had turned it down. For that role she received a third Golden Globe nomination. She also had a supporting role in the 1985 television miniseries Deceptions, co-starring with Stefanie Powers. The following year, she appeared as guest star in the TV series The Love Boat.
In 1986, she was invited to head the jury at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival, which awarded the Golden Bear to Reinhard Hauff's film Stammheim. She said the decision was made for political reasons.
In the 1990s, she made a few minor French film appearances and continued to participate and attend international film festivals.
By the end of the 1970s, Lollobrigida had embarked on what she developed as a successful second career as a photographic journalist. She photographed, among others, Paul Newman, Salvador Dalí, Henry Kissinger, David Cassidy, Audrey Hepburn, Ella Fitzgerald and the German national football team. She scooped the world's press by obtaining an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro, leader of Communist Cuba. In 1973, a collection of her work was published under the title Italia Mia.
She has focused on other interests such as sculpting. She has shown her sculptures in Italy, France, Spain, Russia, the United States, Qatar, and China.
Lollobrigida became a corporate executive for fashion and cosmetics companies.
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.
♥A woman at 20 is like ice, at 30 she is warm and at 40 she is hot.
♥I do what I like now. I just don't have time for it all.
♥I've had many lovers and still have romances. I am very spoiled. All my life, I've had too many admirers.
♥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.
♥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.
♥My cinema -- the '50s, '60s -- is different from the cinema today so I thought that it would not be bad to show that kind of cinema where we could dream.
♥We are all born to die—the difference is the intensity with which we choose to live.
♥Glamour is when a man knows a woman is a woman.
♥Happiness is a journey that depends solely on ourselves. We should be grateful to life because so much that it has in store for us will be marvelous and we have the good fortune to live it.