Nationality: Italian. Born: Subiaco, 4 July 1928 (some sources give 1927). Education: Studied sculpture and painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Rome, 1944–47. Family: Married Drago Milko Skofic, 1950 (divorced), one son. Career: Singer and model for photographed comic strips (as Diana Loris) in mid-1940s; 1946—film debut in Aquila Nera; 1949—contract with Howard Hughes, who did not use her services for the next ten years; 1970s—devoted herself to photography and work for a fashion and cosmetics firm; 1975—directed the documentary film Portrait of Fidel Castro; 1984—appeared in TV series Falcon Crest; on Broadway in The Rose Tattoo. Awards: Silver Ribbon, Italy, for Pane, amore, e fantasia, 1953. Address: Via Appia Antica 223, 11078 Rome, Italy.
Films as Actress:
Aquila Nera (The Black Eagle) (Freda); Lucia di Lammermoor (Ballerini)
Il segreto di Don Giovanni (Mastrocinque); Il delitto di Giovanni Episcopo (Lattuada); Vendetta nel sole (A Man about the House) (Arliss and Amato); L'elisir d'amore (Costa)
Follie per l'opera (Costa) (as Dora); I pagliacci (Costa) (as Nedda)
Campane a martello (Children of Chance) (Zampa) (as Agostina Bortolizzi); La sposa non può attender (Franciolini) (as Donata)
Miss Italy (Coletti) (as Lisetta Minneci); Cuori senza fontiere (The White Line) (Zampa) (as Donata Sebastian); Vita da cani (Steno and Monicelli) (as Margherita); Aline (Pastina) (title role)
Passaporto per l'Oriente (A Tale of Five Cities; A Tale of Five Women) (Tully and others) (as Maria Severini); La città si difende (Four Ways Out) (Germi) (as Daniela); Enrico Caruso, leggenda di una voce (Gentilomo) (as Stella); Achtung! Bandit! (Lizzani) (as Anna); Fanfan la Tulipe (Fanfan the Tulip; Soldier in Love) (Christian-Jaque) (as Adeline); Amor non ho . . . pero . . . pero (Bianchi) (as Gina)
"The Trial of Frine" ep. of Altri tempi (Times Gone By) (Blasetti) (as Frine); Les Belles de nuit (La belle della notte; Beauties of the Night) (Clair) (as Leila); Moglie per una notte (Camerini) (as Ottavia)
Le infedeli (The Unfaithfuls) (Steno and Monicelli) (as Lulla Possenti); La provinciale (Soldati) (as Gemma Foresi); Il maestro di Don Giovanni (Crossed Swords) (Krims) (as Francesca); Pane, amore, e fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams) (Comencini) (as the girl, "Frisky"); Beat the Devil (Huston) (as Maria Dannreuther)
Le Grand Jeu (Flesh and the Woman; Il grande giuoco; The Big Game) (Siodmak) (as Elena/Silvia); La romana (Woman of Rome) (Zampa) (as Adriana); Pane, amore, e gelosia (Comencini) (as Carotenuto)
La donna più bella del mundo (Leonard) (as Lina Cavalieri); Frisky (Comencini) (title role)
Trapeze (Reed) (as Lola); Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) (Delannoy) (as Esmeralda)
Anna di Brooklyn (Anna of Brooklyn; Fast and Sexy) (Lastricati and Denham) (as Anna)
La Loi (Where the Hot Wind Blows; Le legge; The Law) (Dassin) (as Marietta); Never So Few (John Sturges) (as Carla Vesari); Solomon and Sheba (King Vidor) (as Sheba)
Go Naked in the World (MacDougall) (as Giulietta Cameron); Come September (Mulligan) (as Lisa Fellini)
Venere imperiale (Imperial Venus; Vénus impériale) (Delannoy) (as Paolina Borghese)
Mare matto (Castellani) (as Margherita)
Woman of Straw (Dearden) (as Maria Marcello); "Monsignor Cupido" ep. of Le bambole (Four Kinds of Love; The Dolls) (Bolognini) (as Beatrice)
Strange Bedfellows (Frank) (as Toni Vincente)
Io, io, io . . . e gli altri (Blasetti) (as Titta); Les Sultans (L'amante italiana) (Delannoy) (as Lisa); Hotel Paradiso (Glenville) (as Marcelle Cot); Le piacevoli notti (Crispino and Lucignani) (as Domicilla)
La morte la fatto, l'uovo (Plucked; A Curious Way to Love) (Questi) (as Anna)
The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (Tashlin) (as Maria); Un bellissimo novembre (That Splendid November) (Bolognini) (as Cettina); Le Avventure e gli amori di Miguel Cervantes (The Young Rebel; Cervantes; Les Aventures extraordinaires de Cervantes) (Sherman) (as Giulia Toffolo)
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (Frank) (as Carla Campbell); Stuntman (Baldi) (as Evelyn Lake)
. . . e eontinuavano a fregarsi il milione di dollari (Martin) (as Alicia)
Le avventure di Pinocchio (Comencini) (as la fata turchina)
Herzbube (King, Queen, Knave) (Skolimowski) (as Martha Dreyer); Peccato mortale (Rovira-Beleta) (as Netty); Bad Man's River (Matalo) (Gene Martin) (as Alicia)
Roses rouges et piments verts (The Lonely Woman) (Rovira-Beleta)
Nido de viudas (Widow's Nest) (Navarro)
Stella emigranti (Masenza) (as herself)
Deceptions (Shavelson and Chenault—for TV) (as Princess Alexandra)
The Love Boat: The Christmas Cruise (for TV) (as Carla Lucci)
Les Cent et une Nuits (A Hundred and One Nights) (Varda) (as Actor for a Day)
Film as Director:
Portrait of Fidel Castro (doc)
By LOLLOBRIGIDA: books—
Italia mia (photographs), Florence, 1972.
Manila (photographs), 1972.
The Philippines (photographs), Liechtenstein, 1976.
Il segreto della rose, Milan, 1984.
Magica innocenza (photographs), Sao Paulo, 1993; as The Wonder of Innocence, New York, 1994.
By LOLLOBRIGIDA: article—
Interview in Ciné Revue (Paris), 6 May 1982.
Interview in Kino (Sofia), February 1994.
On LOLLOBRIGIDA: books—
Ponzi, Mauricio, Gina Lollobrigida, Rome, 1982; as The Films of Gina Lollobrigida, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1982.
Canales, Luis, Imperial Gina: The Strictly Unauthorized Biography of Gina Lollobrigida, Boston, 1990.
On LOLLOBRIGIDA: articles—
Current Biography 1960, New York, 1960.
Ecran (Paris), July 1978.
Stars (Mariembourg, Belgium), December 1990 and March 1992.
Canales, L., "Letters: Bread, Love and Dreams of Gina," in Movieline (Escondido, California), September 1993.
Cahiers du Cinema (Paris), March 1996.
* * *
Gina Lollobrigida will always be remembered as the first sex symbol to emerge from the rubble of postwar Europe. Her rise in Italy coincided with the decline of the neorealist movement. Italian filmmakers had been concentrating on making films that showed the depressing reality of Italy after the war, and although these films were critically acclaimed in other countries, they were unpopular in their home market, where audiences wanted escapist Hollywood-style glamour rather than confrontation with the day-to-day reality of their drab lives. Lollobrigida became the embodiment of their escapist fantasies after Italian producers realized her potential and cast her in films providing Italian cinemagoers with "rosy realism." As a result she played a role in boosting Italy to a major position on the world's film market.
From the outset of her career, she was typecast as a seductress, whether in costume dramas, romantic comedies, or thrillers; her acting ability was clearly limited, and her range varied little from film to film. Nonetheless, she received numerous awards for her acting, including the Italian equivalent of the Oscar, the Silver Ribbon, for her performance in Pane, amore, e fantasia. The Italian film critics awarded her the Grolla d'Oro for her performance in La provinciale, the French public and film industry voted her Best Foreign Actress for three successive years, and the International Cinema Club awarded her a prestigious David trophy. All these awards demonstrate that, within the confines in which she worked, Lollobrigida was unbeatable.
It was only natural that this buxom beauty should come to the attention of Hollywood. Howard Hughes gave her a contract but was not forthcoming in giving her a film, so after waiting around in Hollywood for three months she decided to pack her bags and return to Italy. The legal battles that followed kept her out of Hollywood for several years, possibly doing irreparable damage to her career. She did, however, appear in a number of successful American productions shot in Europe, including Trapeze, Solomon and Sheba, and Come September, which helped to maintain her popularity in America. As Europe's most sought-after actress, Lollobrigida was fortunate to work under the direction of Vittorio De Sica, René Clair, and John Huston, and opposite actors as diverse as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Alec Guinness, and Errol Flynn.