Gina Lollobrigida — she represented Italian frivolity to a generation of American moviegoers.
It was natural that a race of bottom-pinchers should produce a Lollobrigida, wrote British critic David Thomson. All this is to say that she was perhaps the most curvaceous figure classic Hollywood produced in its final years.
Arriving in Hollywood in 1950, Gina swanned through a diverse collection of films starring big male stars at the time including Bogart, Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster. Most of her 67 movie and tv credits were made in Europe, but she definitely left her mark.
How much do you know about this interesting figure? Review the questions in the blog below and then take a gander at today’s answers.
As Gina herself would say, buona fortuna.
1) Answer: c) It was Humphrey Bogart, who played opposite Lollobrigida in John Huston’s 1953 comedy-noir, Beat The Devil. Gina sported a revealing bathing suit in the picture so Bogie got a first hand look. He approved of what he saw.
2) Answer: c) It was Howard Hughes who “discovered” Gina and brought her to Hollywood in 1950. And Howard Hughes being Howard Hughes, romantically pursued her for decades thereafter.
3) Answer: d) Sydney Greenstreet. Gig Young appeared with Gina in the 1965 comedy Strange Bedfellows. Peter Lawford was in 1968’s Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell while Robert Morley accompanied Lollobrigida in 1966’s Hotel Paradiso.
4) Answer: d) Sister Italian sexpot, Sophia Loren. Gina said that Sophia and her press agents started this ‘rivalry’ with me — and she hasn’t stopped for 50 years.
5) Answer: a) True. Lollobrigida now speculates that Rock Hudson may not have been gay back in the early-to-mid Sixties — people can change. When we did our love scenes, he was quite…normal…I felt something…it was more than a kiss. He was the most adorable person I ever worked with.
6) Answer: c) “La Lollo” was the nickname that stuck.
7) Answer: c) John Huston’s Beat The Devil. It’s a most enjoyable comedy/noir and well worth tracking down.
8) Answer: a) Hughes and b) Prince Rainier of Monaco, who, says Gina, often made passes at her in front of his famous wife, the earstwhile Grace Kelly. She refused all entreaties, Gina adds.
9) Answer: b) False. In 1949, Gina married a Slovenian physician who was seven years older than she was. The couple had a son but divorced in 1971. More recently, Gina took up with a charming Spaniard more than 30 years her junior. The couple may or may not be married. It’s complicated, and we’ll have to keep you posted.
10) Answer: a) “Diana Loris” was that early Anglicized monicker. By the way, we note that while she was an artists model early on, we’re not 100% certain about that nudity angle.