Anita Ekberg

Anita Ekberg dies at the age of 83

Actress Anita Ekberg, star of the classic La Dolce Vita, has died at the age of 83. Ekberg’s lawyer, Patrizia Ubaldi, confirmed she died in Rome on Sunday morning following a series of illnesses. She had been hospitalised most recently after Christmas. Ubaldi said that in her last days Ekberg was saddened by her illness and advancing age. ‘She had hoped to get better, something that didn’t happen,’ she said.
Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was born on Sept. 29, 1931, in Malmo, Sweden, one of eight children of a harbor master. She did some modeling in her teens and was later named Miss Sweden, traveling to the United States as a special guest at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. She did not take home the Miss Universe title but did win an American modeling contract and was soon acting as well. She worked with Hollywood greats including John Wayne, and in 1956 made the cover of Life magazine. Her move to cinema came quickly with King Vidor’s “War and Peace”, in which Ekberg acted alongside Audrey Hepburn. The Swedish actress, who capitalized on her sexuality, played in such U.S. films as “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” and “Zarak” during the ’50s. She appeared on several Bob Hope TV specials, where her special endowments were the butt of Hope’s wisecracks. She also toured with Hope on his numerous U.S.O. tours, winning the appreciation of U.S. servicemen. Ekberg also appeared in two film comedies with Hope: “Paris Holiday” (1958) and “Call Me Bwana” (1962).Ekberg was also on the 1955 ABC series Casablanca, playing the role of Ilsa, which Ingrid Bergman immortalized in the movie. In the United States during the ’60s, Ekberg also played a number of roles that capitalized on her blonde bombshell persona, which was carefully cultivated by staged press antics and gossip columnists recounting her romantic escapades with many famous men.
Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita
But it was Federico Fellini’s  “La Dolce Vita” that made her famous. Ekberg created one of cinema’s most famous moments, wading into the Trevi fountain in Rome in the 1960’s classic. She worked for Fellini again, as a billboard photograph that comes to life in the segment of “Boccaccio 70” (1962) that he directed, and as herself in both “The Clowns” (1970) and “Intervista” (1987). Over a five-decade acting career, she made more than 50 feature films. Most recently, Ekberg played an aging opera star in “Le Nain Rouge” (The Red Dwarf). Ms. Ekberg was often outspoken in interviews, naming famous people she couldn’t bear. And she was frequently quoted as saying that it was Fellini who owed his success to her, not the other way around.
She was married twice, first to Anthony Steel in 1956. They divorced three years later. Her marriage to Rik Van Nutter lasted from 1963 until 1975. Ekberg rarely returned to Sweden, choosing to remain in Italy. In recent years, media reported that she had moved to a care home close to Rome.

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