On January 19, we ran a small tribute to Anita Ekberg (Anita Ekberg in the Fountain of Trevi — Farewell) who died on died on Jan. 11.
We noted that her watery onscreen moments in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita collectively rank among the most memorable movie scenes ever filmed.
Another star of the fifties and sixties recently left as as well — just four days before Ekberg’s departure — although with a more modest movie legacy.
Rod Taylor made only a few memorable films, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells The Time Machine principally among them. He was a good-looking, Australia-born working actor who did the best with the roles he was given.
The proximity of the Ekberg/Taylor deaths is fascinating (she was 83, he was four days shy of 85) because in life, they were serious lovers.
We say serious since both got around quite a bit in their day. Ekberg married and divorced twice in between flings with, among others, the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tyrone Power,Yul Brynner and Errol Flynn (how’s that for an all-star line-up). Taylor, who was married three times, had his share of romances including an extended romance with, yes, Ekberg.
The couple met in Rome shortly before Ekberg started working on the Fellini’s 1960 movie. The couple enthusiastically embarked on a three-year fling closely watched by the international press. At one point, a prospective trip to the altar was announced.
It was Taylor, according to what we can find out, who broke it off. He claimed he just couldn’t keep up with Ekberg’s frenetic pace at the time.
Frenetic or not, it appears both Ekberg and Taylor survived quite handsomely, judging by the photo above. Those were the days when movie stars looked like … movie stars.