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Anita Ekberg

Anita Ekberg

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Also Known As: Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg Died: January 11, 2015
Born: September 29, 1931 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Sweden Profession: actor, model

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Blonde and buxom to a physics-defying degree, Swedish born actress Anita Ekberg became the very definition of cinematic sex goddess with her iconic performance in Italian director Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" (1960). Coming to America after winning the Miss Sweden beauty competition in 1950, Ekberg soon secured herself a contract with Universal Pictures and began a string of appearances in such features as "Blood Alley" (1955), "Hollywood or Bust" (1956) and the historical epic "War and Peace" (1956). Often eclipsing her work on screen, however, were the alleged romantic liaisons with many of Hollywood's most powerful leading men, including Tyrone Power, Gary Cooper and Frank Sinatra. Sub-par genre pictures with titles like "Sheba and the Gladiator" (1959) were fast becoming Ekberg's stock-in-trade before Fellini cast the stunning actress in "La Dolce Vita," instantly making her co-star Marcello Mastroianni an international superstar, but oddly, doing little to advance her career. After a few more mainstream efforts like "4 for Texas" (1963), Ekberg settled for decades of forgettable European-produced B-movies until she appeared as herself in the Fellini reminiscence "Intervista" (1987)....

Blonde and buxom to a physics-defying degree, Swedish born actress Anita Ekberg became the very definition of cinematic sex goddess with her iconic performance in Italian director Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" (1960). Coming to America after winning the Miss Sweden beauty competition in 1950, Ekberg soon secured herself a contract with Universal Pictures and began a string of appearances in such features as "Blood Alley" (1955), "Hollywood or Bust" (1956) and the historical epic "War and Peace" (1956). Often eclipsing her work on screen, however, were the alleged romantic liaisons with many of Hollywood's most powerful leading men, including Tyrone Power, Gary Cooper and Frank Sinatra. Sub-par genre pictures with titles like "Sheba and the Gladiator" (1959) were fast becoming Ekberg's stock-in-trade before Fellini cast the stunning actress in "La Dolce Vita," instantly making her co-star Marcello Mastroianni an international superstar, but oddly, doing little to advance her career. After a few more mainstream efforts like "4 for Texas" (1963), Ekberg settled for decades of forgettable European-produced B-movies until she appeared as herself in the Fellini reminiscence "Intervista" (1987). Although her performance in "La Dolce Vita" far outshone any of Ekberg's performances before or after, the image of her cavorting with Mastroianni in Rome's historic Trevi Fountain would be more than enough to ensure her a place in the pantheon of film's greatest sex symbols for all time. Anita Ekberg died in her adopted home of Italy on January 11, 2015.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
3.
 Fellini (2001) Herself
4.
 Red Dwarf, The (1998) Countess Paola Bendoni
5.
 Bambola (1996) Mama Greta
6.
 Ambrogio (1992) Clarice
7.
 Il Conte Max (1991) Marika
8.
9.
10.
 Cicciabomba (1983)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1950:
Named Miss Sweden
1951:
Moved to Los Angeles, CA
1951:
Film acting debut in "Terras foster No. 5"
1951:
Competed in the Miss Universe pageant
:
Worked as model
1953:
U.S. film debut in "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars" and "The Golden Blade"
1955:
Played a character loosely based on herself in "Artists and Models," featuring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
1955:
Made guest appearance on the ABC series "Casablanca" playing Ilsa (the role created in the film by Ingrid Bergman)
1956:
Landed one of her best Hollywood roles as Helene in King Vidor's "War and Peace"
1960:
Delivered her signature film performance as the movie star Sylvia in Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," co-starring Marcello Mastroianni
1962:
Reteamed with Fellini for "Le tentazioni del Dottor Antonio," his segment of "Boccacio '70"
1967:
Co-starred with Shirley MacLaine in Vittorio de Sica's "Woman Times Seven"
1970:
Played herself in Fellini's "I Pagliacci/Clowns"
1979:
U.S. TV-movie debut as the queen in "Gold of the Amazon Women" (NBC)
1987:
With Mastroianni, appeared as themselves in Fellini's mock documentary "Intervista"
1991:
Acted in "Il Conte Max," a film directed by Christian de Sica (son of Vittorio)
1996:
Played an elderly restaurant owner who is killed in a gas explosion in ""Bambola"
1998:
Appeared as a flamboyant opera star who is romance by the titular character in "Le Nain rouge/The Red Dwarf" (released in the U.S. in 1999)
2002:
Made one of her last acting appearances on Italian TV series "Il Bello delle donne"
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Notes

"Anita is very simpatica, but not at all intelligent. Fellini adored her, but he treated her like a big doll. I told him 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.'" --Fellini biographer and film critic Tullio Kezich quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 13, 1999

On working with Fellini. Ekberg told Allesandra Stanley: "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 well." --From THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 13, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Fred Otash. Former policeman, private investigator. Dated in early 1950s.
companion:
Alain Delon. Actor. Reportedly were romantically involved in the early 1960s.
husband:
Anthony Steel. Actor. Born on May 21, 1919; married in 1956 in Florence, Italy; his second marriage; divorced in 1959; reportedly was an alcoholic whose drinking problem caused the breakup of the marriage; died in March 2001 at age 81.
husband:
Rik Van Nutter. Actor. Married in 1963; divorced in 1975.
companion:
Gianni Agnelli. Industrialist. Reportedly had a liaison.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

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