Gina Lollobrigida

Luigina Lollobrigida[lower-alpha 1] (born July 4, 1927), better known as Gina Lollobrigida, is an Italian actress, photojournalist and sculptor. She was one of the highest profile European actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s, a period in which she was an international sex symbol.

Gina Lollobrigida
Lollobrigida in the 1960s
Luigina Lollobrigida

(1927-07-04) July 4, 1927
Subiaco, Italy
OccupationActress, photojournalist
Years active1946–1997
Milko Škofič
(m. 1949; div. 1971)
ChildrenAndrea Milko Škofič
AwardsOrder of Merit of the Italian Republic, Legion of Honour, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

As her film career slowed, she established second careers as a photojournalist and sculptor. In the 1970s, she achieved a scoop by gaining access to Fidel Castro for an exclusive interview.

She has continued as an active supporter of Italian and Italian American causes, particularly the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). In 2008, she received the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award at the Foundation's Anniversary Gala.[1][2] In 2013, she sold her jewelry collection, and donated the nearly $5 million from the sale to benefit stem cell therapy research.[3]


Born Luigina Lollobrigida in Subiaco, Italy, she is one of four daughters of a furniture manufacturer and his wife. Her sisters are Giuliana (born 1924), Maria (born 1929) and Fernanda (1930–2011). In her youth, Lollobrigida did some modelling and 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. (It is the smallest theatre all'italiana in the world.)[4]

In 1947, Lollobrigida entered the Miss Italia pageant and came in third place, giving her national exposure.

Acting career


In 1950, Howard Hughes signed Lollobrigida on a preliminary seven-year contract to make three pictures a year.[5] She refused the final terms of the contract, preferring to remain in Europe and Hughes suspended her.[5] Despite selling RKO Pictures in 1955, Hughes retained Lollobrigida's contract.[5] The dispute prevented her from working in American movies filmed in the US until 1959, though not from working in American productions shot in Europe, although Hughes often threatened legal action against the producers.[5]

Her performance in Bread, Love and Dreams (Pane, amore e fantasia, 1953) led to it becoming a box-office success[5] and her receiving a BAFTA nomination, and won a Nastro d'Argento award. Lollobrigida 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 for Tyrone Power, who died before the shots were completed.

In the romantic comedy Come September (1961), Lollobrigida had a leading role along with Rock Hudson, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. It was a film for which she won a Golden Globe Award. She appeared, also in 1961, with Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Franciosa in the drama Go Naked in the World.

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, Peter Lawford and Telly Savalas. For this role, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won a third David di Donatello award. Lollobrigida 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.[6] However, during her career, she refused many proposals: in Lady L, with Tony Curtis, and directed by George Cukor, initially, all suspended because the contrasts between her and Cukor; the leading role went then to Sophia Loren; in Five Branded Women, directed by Martin Ritt, and whose the leading role went then to Silvana Mangano; in The Lady Without Camelias, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, whose the leading role went finally to Lucia Bosè. She revealed that was a great regret having refused a supporting role in La Dolce Vita, wanted by Federico Fellini; about this, she added that, at the time, scripts arrived too much and her husband accidentally hid that one.


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.[7]

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 even managed to obtain an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro, leader of Communist Cuba. In 1973, a collection of her work was published under the title Italia Mia.

Personal life

In 1949, Lollobrigida married a Slovenian physician, Milko Škofič. They had one child, Andrea Milko[8] (Milko Škofič, Jr.), born on 28 July 1957.[9] Škofič gave up the practice of medicine to become her manager.[10] In 1960, Lollobrigida moved from her native Italy to Toronto, Canada, with Škofič and their child.[11] They divorced in 1971.[12]

In January 1968, she also had a one-night extramarital affair with Christiaan Barnard, a South African doctor and pioneer in heart transplant surgery.[13][14] In 1969, she was engaged for a short time to George Kaufman, a New York real estate heir.

In October 2006, at age 79, she announced to Spain's ¡Hola! magazine her engagement to a 45-year-old Spanish businessman, Javier Rigau y Rafols. They had met at a party in Monte Carlo in 1984 and had since become companions.[15] The engagement was called off on 6 December 2006, reportedly because of the strain of intense media interest.[16]

In January 2013, she started legal action against Javier Rigau y Rafols, claiming that her ex-boyfriend had staged a secret ceremony in which he "married" an imposter pretending to be her at a registry office in Barcelona. She said he intended to lay claim to her estate after her death. Lollobrigida accused Rigau of fraud, saying that he had earlier obtained the legal right to act on her behalf with a power of attorney, and carried out the plot to get extra power. "A while ago he convinced me to give him my power of attorney. He needed it for some legal affairs. But instead I fear that he took advantage of the fact that I don't understand Spanish ... Who knows what he had me sign."[17] In March 2017 she lost her court action but has said she will appeal.[18]

Now retired, Lollobrigida has not made a film since 1997. She told PARADE in April 2000: "I studied painting and sculpting at school and became an actress by mistake ... I've had many lovers and still have romances. I am very spoiled. All my life, I've had too many admirers." She now divides her time between her house on Via Appia Antica in Rome and at a villa in Monte Carlo.[17] Since 2009 Lollobrigida has not allowed visitors to her home.[17]

In 2013, Lollobrigida sold her jewelry collection through Sotheby's. She donated nearly $5 million to benefit stem cell therapy.[19]

Lollobrigida has a habit of referring to herself in the third person.[20][21]

Awards and nominations

Lollobrigida has won three David di Donatello, two Nastro d'Argento, and six Bambi Awards. She was nominated three times for the Golden Globe and won one in 1961 as World Film Favourite – Female. She was nominated once for a BAFTA award.

In 1985, she was nominated as an officer of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by Jack Lang, for her achievements in photography and sculpture.

She was awarded the Légion d'honneur by François Mitterrand.[22]

On 16 October 1999, Gina Lollobrigida was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.[23]

On 1 February 2018, Lollobrigida received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[24]


  • Italia mia, 1973, a collection of photographs across Italy
  • The Philippines, 1976, a collection of photographs across the Philippines
  • Wonder of Innocence, 1994, a book of photographs
  • Sculptures, 2003



Year Film Role Notes
1946 Lucia di Lammermoor
1946 This Wine of Love
1946 Black Eagle Girl at party
1947 When Love Calls
1947 Pagliacci Nedda
1947 Flesh Will Surrender Dancer
1947 Vendetta nel sole Young girl
1948 Mad About Opera Dora
1949 Alarm Bells Agostina
1949 The Bride Can't Wait Donata Venturi
1949 The White Line Donata Sebastian
1950 A Dog's Life Rita Buton
1950 Miss Italy Lisetta Minneci
1950 Alina Alina
1951 A Tale of Five Cities Maria Severini
1951 The Young Caruso Stella
1951 Four Ways Out Daniela
1951 Love I Haven't... But... But Gina
1951 Attention! Bandits! Anna
1952 Wife For a Night (Moglie per una notte) Ottavia
1952 Times Gone By Mariantonia Desiderio
1952 Fanfan la Tulipe Adeline La Franchise
1952 Beauties of the Night Leila, Cashier
1953 The Wayward Wife Gemma Vagnuzzi
1953 Bread, Love and Dreams Maria De Ritis Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1953 Le infedeli Lulla Possenti
1953 Beat the Devil Maria Dannreuther UK-USA-Italy
1954 Woman of Rome Adriana
1954 Bread, Love and Jealousy Maria De Ritis
1954 Crossed Swords Francesca
1954 Le Grand Jeu Sylvia Sorrego, Helena Ricci
1955 The World's Most Beautiful Woman Lina Cavalieri David di Donatello for Best Actress
1956 Trapeze Lola
1956 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Esmeralda
1958 Anna of Brooklyn Anna
1959 The Law Marietta
1959 Never So Few Carla Vesari
1959 Solomon and Sheba Queen of Sheba
1961 Go Naked in the World Giulietta Cameron
1961 Come September Lisa Helena Fellini Golden Globe Henrietta Award, World Film Favorite – Female
1962 Lykke og krone (documentary)
1962 La bellezza di Ippolita Ippolita
1963 Venere Imperiale Paulette Bonaparte David di Donatello for Best Actress
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1963 Mad Sea Margherita
1964 Woman of Straw Maria Marcello
1965 Me, Me, Me... and the Others Titta
1965 Le Bambole (The Dolls) Beatrice
1965 Strange Bedfellows Toni Vincente
1965 The Love Goddesses (documentary)
1966 Pleasant Nights Domicilla
1966 The Sultans Liza Bortoli
1966 Hotel Paradiso Marcelle Cotte
1967 Cervantes Giulia Toffolo
1968 Stuntman Evelyne Lake
1968 Death Laid an Egg Anna
1968 The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell Maria
1968 Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell Carla Campbell Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
David di Donatello for Best Actress
1969 That Splendid November Cettina
1971 Bad Man's River Alicia
1972 King, Queen, Knave Martha Dreyer
1973 No encontre rosas para mi madre
1983 Wandering Stars (documentary)
1995 Les cent et une nuits de Simon Cinéma L'épouse médium du professeur Bébel
1997 XXL Gaby
2011 Box office 3d herself (cameo appearance)


Year Film Role Notes
1958 Portrait of Gina (documentary) Lost from 1958 until 1986, when it turned up in a storage unit of the Ritz Hotel, Paris, where director Orson Welles had left the only copy. Upon rediscovery, it was screened once at the 1986 Venice Film Festival, and once on German television, before Lollobrigida (who had seen the Venice screening) took legal action to have it banned, due to its unflattering portrayal of her as an ambitious young star.[25]
1972 The Adventures of Pinocchio The Fairy with Turquoise Hair
1984 Falcon Crest Francesca Gioberti 5 episodes
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1985 Deceptions
1986 The Love Boat
1988 Woman of Rome Adriana's mother television remake
1996 Una donna in fuga

Still Game




  1. Italian pronunciation: [lu.iˈdʒiːna ˌlɔlloˈbriːdʒida]


  1. "Legendary Actress Gina Lollobrigida to be Honored at Largest Italian-American Gala in Nation's Capital". The National Italian American Foundation. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  2. Donadia, Rachel (24 October 2008). "Lifetime Honors Arrive as Life Goes On". New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  3. Demarco, Anthony (15 May 2013). "Gina Lollobrigida's jewels sell for nearly 5m; includes auction record for natural pearl ear pendants". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  4. Storie, vicende e protagonisti / Stories, events and protagonists Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine History of the Teatro della Concordia on the theatre's official website, 2011
  5. Werba, Hank (26 November 1958). "Kept Out of Hollywood 8 Years, Lollobrigida Pretty Mad At Hughes". Variety. p. 18. Retrieved 7 July 2019 via
  6. "8th Moscow International Film Festival (1973)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  7. "36th Berlin International Film Festival". Berlinale. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  8. Luis Canales: "Imperial Gina: The Very Unauthorized Biography of Gina Lollobrigida", Publisher: Brookline Village (Boston), Page: 113, Year: 1990 ISBN 0828319324
  9. "People". Time. 12 August 1957.(subscription required)
  10. Gina Lollobrigida, "Four ways out", New York University
  11. Berman, Eliza. "The Italian Bombshell Who Proved That Life Is About Much More Than Curves". TIME. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  12. Réka C. V. Buckley (2000). "National Body: Gina Lollobrigida and the cult of the star in the 1950s". Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. 20 (4): 527–547. doi:10.1080/713669741.
  13. Chris Logan (2004). Celebrity Surgeon: Christiaan Barnard – A Life. Jonathan Ball Publishers. ISBN 978-1-86842-163-3.
  14. Barnard, Chris (1994). Druhý dech [The Second Life] (in Czech). Prague: Lidové noviny. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-80-7106-096-3.
  15. "Lollobrigida to marry younger man", BBC News, 20 October 2006
  16. "La Lollo's wedding called off" Archived 2 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine News 24, 7 December 2006
  17. Squires, Nick (29 January 2013) 'Most beautiful woman in the world' Gina Lollobrigida in bizarre fake marriage plot The Telegraph, Retrieved 26 July 2013
  18. Italian film diva Gina Lollobrigida loses court battle in bizarre 'fake marriage' case The Telegraph, 24 March 2017
  19. Demarco, Anthony (16 May 2013). "Gina Lollobrigida's jewels sell for nearly 5m; includes auction record for natural pearl ear pendants". Forbes. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  20. Murrow to visit Gina Tonight: Producer Opposes Film on TV Deseret News, 7 February 1958
  21. Canales, Luis. Imperial Gina.
  22. Pfeiffer, Lee; Worrall, Dave (29 November 2011). Cinema Sex Sirens. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-725-9. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  23. "Gina Lollobrigida". Food and Agriculture Organization. Archived from the original on 7 August 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  24. "Hollywood honours Italian star Gina Lollobrigida". Agence France-Presse. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018 via Channel NewsAsia.
  25. Jonathan Rosenbaum, 'Orson Welles’s Essay Films and Documentary Fictions: A Two-Part Speculation', in Jonathan Rosenbaum, Discovering Orson Welles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), pp. 135-6.
  26. DEK DOGBOLTER (18 July 2013), CARDIACS : GINA LOLLOBRIGIDA, retrieved 23 August 2018
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