Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, once known as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” has passed away at the age of 95 after being “hospitalized for some time,” Italian media reported on Monday. According to her former lawyer Giulia Citani, Lollobrigida died in a private clinic in Rome. No official cause of death has yet been reported.
Francesco Lollobrigida, her grandnephew and also the serving Agriculture Minister of Italy, wrote on Twitter that Gina was “one of the brightest stars of Italian cinematography and culture” and an “incomparable champion, icon of beauty and versatility.”
The actress is survived by her son, Milko, and grandson, Dimitri.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Lollobrigida was considered one of the biggest movie icons of her time and starred in a large number of European and American films such as John Huston’s ‘Beat the Devil,’ ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and ‘Crossed Swords.’ She appeared alongside other heavy hitters such as Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson and Errol Flynn.
In 1953, after her breakthrough role in ‘Beat the Devil,’ co-star Bogart said Lollobrigida made “Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple.” Together with Sophia Loren, the two actresses were considered to be the biggest Italian sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s.
After her career in movies faded in the late 1960s she only occasionally appeared in films and on TV, focusing instead on her career as a photojournalist. In 1972, she famously conducted a unique photoshoot and interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
She also worked for UNICEF and the United Nations, and even tried her hand in politics. She had an unsuccessful run for a seat in the European Parliament in 1999 and ran last year for the Italian Senate, also unsuccessfully.