Date of Birth: 4 July 1927
Gina Lollobrigida biography:
Known as "La Lollo," Gina Lollobrigida was the first sex symbol to emerge from post-WWII Europe at a time when Italians were giving up on neorealism in favor of Hollywood glamour. Coming in third place at the 1947 Miss Italia contest made her the ideal star for escapist cinema. Arriving perfectly on time, the actress moved to Rome after the war to study sculpture while working as a singer and an artist's model. She made her film debut with Aquila Nera and went on to star in several more Italian films, usually playing a seductress. After Fanfan la Tulipe and Beauties of the Night, she was well known throughout Western Europe. By that time, she had married Dr. Drago Milko Skofic. They were together for 20 years and had one child. In 1954, she made her first U.S. film, Beat the Devil, directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart. The next year she returned to Italy to appear in the movie that earned her the nickname, The World's Most Beautiful Woman. Howard Hughes wanted her to sign a long-term contract, but she didn't want to stay too far away from home. However, she did make several Hollywood films, including Carol Reed's Trapeze, King Vidor's Solomon and Sheba, and Robert Mulligan's Come September. By 1961, she won a Golden Globe award as World Film Favorite, but her Italian beauty queen status was quickly being usurped by rising star Sophia Loren. During the '70s, she retired from films and focused on her photography career and cosmetics company. As a photojournalist, she wrote, directed, and produced Ritratto di Fidel, a documentary about Fidel Castro distributed by RAI-TV Channel 1. In the '80s, she briefly returned to acting for the NBC miniseries Deceptions and the soap opera Falcon Crest. In 1999, she turned to politics and ran for a seat in the European Union Parliament, representing her home town of Subiaco.