Gina Lollobrigida: Italian actor who starred opposite Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra dies, aged 95

Lollobrigida in 1967  (Getty Images)
Lollobrigida in 1967 (Getty Images)

Italian actor Gina Lollobrigida has died aged 95.

The film star, who was a high profile figure in cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, died on Monday (16 January) in Rome. Her death was confirmed by Italian news agency ANSA.

Lollobrigida, whose biggest films included The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beautiful But Dangerous, appeared on screen opposite stars such as Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart and Rock Hudson.

She was often described as “the most beautiful woman in the world” and, before her death, was considered to be one of the last remaining stars from the Golden Age of cinema.

Born in Subiaco in 1927, the young Lollobrigida modelled and took part in a number of beauty contests before taking a number of small roles in Italian cinema.

Despite being prevented from working in American films shot in the US until 1959 by a contract signed with film producer Howard Hughes, she went on to find success in European cinema throughout the 1950s.

Lollobrigida earned her first Bafta nomination, as well as a Nastro d’Argento award in 1953 for the Italian-language film Bread, Love and Dreams. On followed The Wayward Wife and Woman of Rome the following year, as well as a number of French films.

Lollobrigida in the 1959 film ‘La Legge’ (Getty Images)
Lollobrigida in the 1959 film ‘La Legge’ (Getty Images)

Also in 1953, she appeared as Bogart’s wife in Beat the Devil, which was her first mainstream English-language film. Other big projects in the 1950s included Crossed Swords with Errol Flynn, Trapeze with Burt Lancaster,The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Anthony Quinn, Never So Few with Frank Sinatra and Solomon and Sheba with Yul Brynner.

In 1961, she gave a Golden Globe-winning performance opposite Rock Hudson in romantic comedy Come September.

She continued to work during the 1960s, but also rejected many film roles, and found her career had slowed down in the 1970s.

During this decade, she pivoted to a career as a photojournalist, during which she obtained a rare interview with Fidel Castro. She published three books of photography.

Lollobrigida in 2018 (Getty Images for Sun Film Group)
Lollobrigida in 2018 (Getty Images for Sun Film Group)

She returned to the screen in the 1980s in US sitcom Falcon Crest, in a role that had been written for Sophia Loren. She was nominated for another Golden Globe and retired from filming in 1997.

Lollobrigida also had a failed political career. She ran unsuccessfully for European Parliament elections in 1999 and last year, aged 95, stood for election as part of the populist Eurosceptic group ISP. However, she was unsuccessful after failing to meet the electoral threshold with just one per cent of the vote.

She is survived by a son, Andrea Milko, who she shared with her husband Milko Škofič. The couple were married from 1949 to 1971, while Lollabrigida’s son was also her manager.

In 2021, a court ruled that her son should become her legal guardian.