Italian screen star Gina Lollobrigida dies at 95

Gina Lollobrigida, an Italian cinema star, died at the age of 95, according to ANSA, citing family members.

Her grandnephew, Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, announced her death on Twitter, calling her “one of the greatest icons of Italian filmmaking and culture.”

RAI state media also reported her death.

Lollobrigida, together with Sophia Loren, came to represent the earthy sexuality of Italian actresses in the 1950s and 1960s.

After studying painting and sculpture, Lollobrigida went on to become a popular beauty queen and model before making her first film appearance in 1946, in the swashbuckling adventure “The Black Eagle.”

She was a major star in Europe by the early 1950s. She made her English-language film debut opposite Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones in John Huston’s “Beat the Devil” in 1953.

In the 1956 adaption of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” she played Esmerelda in Anthony Quinn’s Quasimodo, and in King Vidor’s 1959 Technicolor epic “Solomon and Sheba,” she played Queen of Sheba to Yul Brynner’s King Solomon.

When her film appearances began to decline in the 1970s, Lollobrigida embarked on a new career as a photographer. She acted in films and on television on occasion, most notably in a recurring role in the US prime-time soap opera “Falcon Crest” in 1984.

She ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Italian Senate last year, telling the daily Corriere Della Sera before the elections, “I was really weary of hearing politicians argue with each other without ever getting to the subject.”

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