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Thread: Actress Anita Ekberg, star of La Dolce Vita, dies at 83

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    Gold Member lucianodel's Avatar
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    Default Actress Anita Ekberg, star of La Dolce Vita, dies at 83

    By Alvise Armellini, dpa Rome (dpa) - Anita Ekberg, who starred in the Italian film classic La Dolce Vita, died Sunday aged 83, Italian media reported.

    The Swedish-born actress had for years been living in Genzano, a small town about 30 kilometers south-east of Rome.

    According to the Il Messaggero newspaper, Ekberg passed away in a clinic on the outskirts of the Italian capital, where she had been hospitalized for some time.

    Source: dpa news - Actress Anita Ekberg, star of La Dolce Vita, dies at 83




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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    Aw, that is a shame. She was a bombshell.

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    She was a beautiful woman. RIP.

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    she was so beautiful. RIP
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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    Elite Member MmeVertigina's Avatar
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    Rip

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    RIP Anita Ekberg.

    The La Dolce Vita pic of her in the waterfall (Pic 3), is just so iconic.

    Anita was a perfect example of a Blonde Bombshell.

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    Elite Member effie2's Avatar
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    First time i visited Rome and went to Fontana di Trevi,it was late in the evening and i almost saw her in the fountain..RIP...

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    Gold Member lucianodel's Avatar
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    A very interesting article:

    GENZANO, Italy— WITH Anita Ekberg, talk usually revolves around the Fountain of Trevi, a monument forever associated with the scene in ''La Dolce Vita'' in which she dances in its waters so alluringly.
    Nearly 40 years later, conversation wandered a few hundred yards away, to the Spanish Steps.
    ''On the Piazza di Spagna, in the 50's, I was completely mashed by paparazzi. And the public. My blond hair,'' the Swedish-born Miss Ekberg explained matter-of-factly. She added, more dismissively: ''Now everybody is blond here. Have you seen a news presenter on television that is not blond? I mean, there are more blondes here, especially on Italian television, than in the whole of Scandinavia. Really. And they are all dark Mediterranean. But they all want to bleach their hair. Blond, blond, blond.''
    Miss Ekberg, 68, is still blond, and she still wears her hair long, falling in soft waves below her shoulders. During a recent interview over a hearty restaurant lunch of sparkling Italian prosecco, smoked salmon and assorted fresh seafood, her slanting blue eyes were masked behind a pair of huge black-framed designer sunglasses, but they were artfully evoked by a rock-size aquamarine pendant and matching ring. Her figure, for which she was far more famous, was concealed under a black tunic, black leggings and black boots.
    It has been many decades since she looked like the dewy sex goddess who entranced Marcello Mastroianni in Fellini's 1960 classic. Or sounded like one. Her once satiny, babyish whisper (''Marcello, come, join me'') has become harsher with time and tobacco. But with her deep, authoritative voice, imperious manner and carefully tended face, she still looks and acts very much the diva. Even more than her Arctic blondness and improbably full figure, it was that quality that inspired Federico Fellini to weave his satirical look at Roman decadence around her persona.
    And that is the quality that drove the Belgian director Yvan Le Moine to cast her as a mercurial retired opera star in his feature film debut, a Fellini-esque art film called ''The Red Dwarf,'' which opens in New York on Friday.
    ''It was an easy choice. I needed someone famous, someone strong and capricious who fit the part, a kind of retired diva,'' Mr. Le Moine explained.
    It is less obvious why Miss Ekberg, who lives alone in quiet semiretirement in her villa here, outside Rome, accepted the part of a spoiled, overweight opera singer who has a sexual affair with a dwarf.
    The decision, she said, took some time. ''I got the script in Italian and English, and I thought it was so scabroso,'' Miss Ekberg explained, her gravelly voice dropping an octave over the Italian word for salacious. ''And I said no, no and no. I am not going to do that kind of role, and they begged me and the director came to Rome two or three times to try and convince me. 'Ah, I need you, I want you.' '' She returned to her own voice. ''Actually, he's not really a dwarf, you know; he just, he never really grew,'' she said of her co-star, Jean-Yves Thual.
    In the black-and-white film, Mr. Thual plays a poetically minded law clerk who becomes sexually obsessed with Countess Paola Bendoni, a famous opera star, who, while seeking his services in a divorce case, playfully allows him to seduce her. They make ill-paired love, but she soon tires of him, and he strangles her in a jealous passion. The camera lingers sometimes unkindly over Miss Ekberg's heavily made up face and vast, flowing caftans, but the rollicking bed scenes, she explained with a giggle, were actually performed beneath the sheets by Mr. Thual and the actor (Arno Chevrier) who plays her hulking gigolo husband.
    The fact that Miss Ekberg had not made a film since 1996, when she took a small part in a small Italian, R-rated film, ''Bambola,'' as a 70-year-old trattoria owner who dies in a gas explosion early in the story, goes unmentioned.
    Instead, Miss Ekberg unfurled another motive. ''Lollobrigida wanted to do it,'' she explained. ''Well, it's the kind of role that would suit her,'' she said with a throaty laugh. ''I can't stand her.''
    Miss Ekberg has lived in Italy for the better part of three decades, but her feud with the Italian sex symbol Gina Lollobrigida, is only a few years old. They met for the first time, she said, at a black-tie party given by a neighbor.
    ''I remember it so well. I had on an emerald green chiffon long evening gown,'' she said. ''In comes Lollobrigida, in August, with a copy Chanel suit. Black. Wool. And boots. In August. And lots of jewels. I always call her a Christmas tree.'' When Miss Ekberg went up to introduce herself, she said, Ms. Lollobrigida cut her off and walked away. She did it again at another party.
    Miss Ekberg got her revenge a month later, when both actresses were booked on the same flight to Latin America. In the V.I.P. lounge, Miss Ekberg said, she instructed her secretary to buy some sandwiches -- and to offer to buy Miss Lollobrigida some as well. ''She stood up and took my magazines without even asking, 'May I?' '' Miss Ekberg recalled indignantly. ''They were sealed; she just broke the seals and started to read just like that. And then, when the sandwiches came she didn't even to say to my secretary, 'Grazie,' much less offer to pay for hers.''


    On the flight, Miss Ekberg said that she carefully asked her fellow first-class passengers if they minded if she smoked, and recalled that they all eagerly told her to go ahead. As she lighted her cigarette, from three rows away, she said, Miss Lollobrigida bellowed: ''Anita, will you put out that cigarette? It smells like hell!'' Miss Ekberg smiled wickedly and switched to Italian to finish her tale.
    ''So I just looked at her and I said very loud, 'Oh, Gina, why don't you stop being such a pain.' '' The audience, she said, laughed appreciatively.
    Miss Lollobrigida, who is currently campaigning for a seat in the European Parliament, said she had no interest in the opera star role. ''I remember receiving an awful, vulgar script,'' she said. ''Obviously, I sent them to hell.'' She had more innocuous memories of the airplane incident. ''Anita was smoking in a no-smoking area and I cannot bear cigarette smoke,'' she recalled. ''I asked her to put it out but she continued. That was it.''
    Miss Ekberg quit smoking more than a year ago, cold turkey, to prove a point to a friend who quit smoking and ''never stopped whining about it.'' She said she had not missed cigarettes at all. ''I am strong and determined,'' she explained.
    It is sometimes hard to recall that this Anita Ekberg, who speaks in a Bette Davis staccato, and recoiled when a waiter tried to give her a water glass as if she had been slapped in the face (''I never drink water at a meal,'' she said, waving for more wine), was once the ripe blond goddess who drove men, and especially Italian men, wild. ''Oh my God, her splendor was incredible, her outsized, totally exaggerated beauty,'' Tullio Kezich, a well-known Italian film critic and Fellini biographer, recalled.
    He interviewed her first on the set of ''La Dolce Vita'' and kept up with her in the other Fellini films she made, a cameo in ''Boccaccio 70,'' a small part in the film ''Clowns'' in 1971. Then there was the 1987 film ''Intervista,'' a mock documentary about filmmaking, in which the director takes Mastroianni to Ms. Ekberg's villa, and the two stars, both aged and bloated, look at their younger, lither selves in scenes from ''La Dolce Vita.'' That film was well received, but most critics dwelled on the contrast between what she looked like then and 27 years later.
    ''Anita is very simpatica, but not at all intelligent. Fellini adored her, but he treated her like a big doll,'' Mr. Kezich recalled. ''I told him that people kept asking me to ask him if he had ever slept with her, and Fellini laughed and replied, 'By all means, tell them yes.' '' But Mr. Kezich gave credit to her spirit. ''She was a horse. She plunged into that cold fountain in 'La Dolce Vita' without hesitation or a fuss. She was so Swedish and healthy; she never caught cold. Marcello was terrorized at the idea of getting wet.''
    Miss Ekberg, who said she did not have any rapport with Mastroianni -- ''He was always very closed up'' -- has fonder memories of Fellini, who remained a friend until his death in 1993. ''I didn't speak Italian and he didn't speak English at that time. We communicated by looking at each other. It was most amazing. We didn't need dialogue very often. With the little Italian I knew, and the little English he knew, we communicated very very well.'' He called her ''Anitona,'' an endearment that underscores size and that was quickly adopted by all Italians. ''I hated the name,'' she said. ''But he gave nicknames to everybody.''
    Miss Ekberg is not sentimental, however. She still fumes recalling how Fellini insisted on filming ''Intervista'' at her villa and allowed his crews to track mud onto her wall-to-wall carpeting. ''They underpaid me a lot. That is for sure,'' she said of the film. ''But I didn't know what to ask.'' These days, she is more careful about money and charges $10,000 for a public appearance -- and some interviews (though not this one). Such requests, her agent said, are frequent and almost always linked to ''La Dolce Vita.''
    She grows indignant at the notion that Fellini discovered her.
    ''Very few movies of mine are available here,'' she said, when asked which of her old films were available on videocassette. ''That is because they would like to keep up the story that Fellini made me famous, Fellini discovered me,'' she said, tossing her head. ''So many have said they discovered me.''
    She has more than 50 other films to her credit. A former Miss Sweden who was born in Malmo, she moved to Hollywood in 1951 and soon became sufficiently famous to play herself, a busty sex symbol, in a 1956 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy, ''Hollywood or Bust.'' Aside from playing Helene in the 1956 version of ''War and Peace,'' directed by King Vidor, however, most of her movies have titles like ''Sheba and the Gladiator'' (she played Queen Zenobia of Palmyra) and have faded from memory.
    The part of Sylvia, a lovely, capricious Hollywood star who goes to Rome on a shoot in ''La Dolce Vita,'' however, is immortal. ''Anita dancing in that fountain is one of the 10 great movie images of the century,'' Mr. Kezich said. ''Even today, advertisements still recall it -- it is such a lasting moment of cinema.''
    Fellini, who didn't believe in writing out scripts, borrowed freely from Miss Ekberg's life to create her character. Sylvia, like Anita Ekberg, was a glamorous sex symbol hounded by paparazzi, and who traveled with a large entourage that included an alienated, hard-drinking husband. Miss Ekberg's own estranged mate was Anthony Steel, a fading British matinee idol whose drinking destroyed his career. They divorced in 1963, and the following year she married another B-movie actor, Rik Van Nutter, and that marriage ended in 1975.
    In the interview, she dismissed both marriages as ''unfortunate'' and chose not to dwell on her past love affairs, though in her heyday she was romantically linked with some of the most famous men in the world, from Gary Cooper to the Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli.
    Looking back, she mostly examines the ravages time has also wrought on others. ''He was so beautiful,'' she said of the French actor Alain Delon, whom she met in the early 1960's.''He has not aged well, I think. But there again, if a woman gets older -- and we all do get wrinkles -- so do the men. But they criticize the woman, and they don't necessarily criticize the actor; he can look like hell. Look at Marlon Brando: the last pictures of him, he's like a wine keg. Really.''
    Flamboyant in interviews, Miss Ekberg is described by colleagues as actually reserved and very private. She almost never goes home to Sweden, she said, and gets along with only one of her seven siblings. And in Italy, she goes out only rarely, she said, explaining that her girlfriends gave up on her because she would never leave the house without spending hours applying makeup. ''As if I could go out in a scarf and a track suit, like some ordinary housewife,'' she said.
    ''She has a tough hide, and she is very strong and willful, funny, and very exaggerated, very Hollywood.'' Mr. Le Moine explained. ''But there is something also touching about her. She lives alone, in solitude and great fragility.''
    Photos: Anita Ekberg in New York and, at left, as a spoiled retired opera star in ''The Red Dwarf,'' which opens in New York on Friday. (Johnny Rozsa)(pg. 17); Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in ''La Dolce Vita'' (1960)(Movie Still Archives)(pg. 25)


    Alessandra Stanley is chief of the Rome bureau of The New York Times.


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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    That was very interesting, thank you. I don't think Sophia Loren got along with Gina Lollobridgida either.
    I have some famous friends and I have mostly not famous friends.

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    Gold Member lucianodel's Avatar
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    I think these 3 didn't get along in any way. I mean, Elberg asked about Loren said "Who's that?".

    Too bad she didn't do many interviews, she was so honest.

    Another small article:

    The Red Dwarf


    Posted July 23 1999 — 12:00 AM EDT
    I’ve never been retired,” declares Anita Ekberg, protesting the suggestion that her new Belgian film, The Red Dwarf — in which she plays an aging opera diva who has a torrid fling with the titular law clerk- turned-circus performer — represents a comeback. Truth is, the 67-year-old actress never stopped making movies — she’s just stopped making them in America. ”That’s not my fault,” she says. ”American producers and directors forget about good actresses that are European.”
    Ekberg does admit that she hasn’t put in a lot of quality screen time since her reign in the ’50s and ’60s as the most voluptuous of all blond screen queens. She has spent most of the past three decades at her villa outside Rome, lamenting the sex and violence of modern movies (”It’s vulgar! Disgusting! Where is the elegance? The mystery? The romance?”) and turning down roles in ”mediocre films.”
    But even at her peak, this former Miss Sweden had difficulty finding decent parts. From Abbott and Costello Go to Mars to Bob Hope’sCall Me Bwana, she was repeatedly typecast as the outsize sex object ogled by comic leading men. ”Same old story,” she sighs, in a smoky voice that befits her statuesque proportions. ”When you’re born beautiful, it helps you start in the business. But then it becomes a handicap.”
    Still, she’ll always have La Dolce Vita, the 1960 Federico Fellini masterpiece in which she played a movie goddess who parties throughout the Roman night with Marcello Mastroianni’s lovestruck journalist. (”She possessed incredible beauty,” Fellini once said. ”I had never seen anyone like her.”) The film put the actress on the world map — though she’ll argue she was already there.
    ”Why do people always say Fellini discovered me?” she asks. ”I was in films long before Fellini. That’s why he wanted me. And he wanted me even more when he saw me driving like a mad one around Rome in my Mercedes 300 SL convertible, with my hair long and blowing around…driving so fast that even when it rained, the rain passed over me. I never got wet.”



    Last edited by lucianodel; September 7th, 2015 at 03:24 PM. Reason: added more words

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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    At least two of them seemed to have Cary Grant in common.
    Last edited by rollo; September 7th, 2015 at 03:41 PM.
    I have some famous friends and I have mostly not famous friends.

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    Gold Member lucianodel's Avatar
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    Ekberg knew how to play the Hollywood press, creating stunts that she hoped would translate into movie roles. In an interview with Modern Man magazine (Aug., 1961) she was asked about her biggest publicity stunt.

    Her reply was classic: "It was after we had just finished War and Peace. It was arranged for my strapless evening gown to pop apart in the crowded lobby of a London hotel before a large crowd of witnesses. We had it fixed up for an English magazine to be on the spot to get still pictures of that scene so that the magazine could later be banned. Newspapers condemned me at the time for being so tasteless. They claimed I established a new low."

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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    Pffft. Everyone is having wardrobe malfunctions these days.
    I have some famous friends and I have mostly not famous friends.

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    Gold Member lucianodel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollo View Post
    Pffft. Everyone is having wardrobe malfunctions these days.
    She even caused an automobile accident by driving with a blouse that lacked a few buttons.

    This is a good watch/read too: Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg: Wonderful Photos 1931 - 2015 - Flashbak

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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollo View Post
    That was very interesting, thank you. I don't think Sophia Loren got along with Gina Lollobridgida either.
    Gina has always come across as petty and a bit jealous of actresses she saw as rivals.
    "I am a social vegan; I avoid meet! Anonymous Introvert

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