With her earthy looks and short "tossed salad"
hairdo, "Lollo," as she was known to her fans,
was a perfect fit for one of her most enduring roles: the
exotic Esmerelda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
But it was another film that gave Luigina Lollobrigida an
even more flattering nickname: The Most Beautiful Woman
in the World.
Most of Gina's noteworthy films were made for Italian audiences;
it was her beauty rather than her acting that caught the
rest of the world's attention. While Sophia
Loren embodied Italian womanhood to moviegoers in the
United States, Italians declared Gina to be their ideal
woman, as evidenced by yet another nickname: Gina Nazionale.
That is not to say, however, that audiences outside of Italy
did not appreciate what Gina offered. Come
September, in which she starred opposite Rock Hudson,
won the 1961 Golden Globe award as the world's favorite
Lollobrigida did not run from fame but she did not embrace
it either. "Popularity," she said, "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." As an escape from her
celebrity, Gina took up photography and became an accomplished
artist. Both Paul Newman and Salvador Dali posed for her
and in 1973 she published a collection of her work, Italia
Gina still makes appearances at Cannes and other film festivals,
but she largely retired from acting after a stint on the
television show "Falcon Crest" in 1985.
Given the veneration she received from her fellow Italians,
it is hard to believe that Lollo's big break came when she
finished third in the Miss Italy contest. She may be retired
from the screen, but her sex appeal endures. "I've
had many lovers and still have romances," she said
in a recent interview. "I am very spoiled. All my life,
I've had too many admirers."
Bio Courtesy Primo
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