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File photo taken in the 80’s of Italian movie legend Gina Lollobrigida at the Hotel Martinez in Cannes, France. Pascal BARIL

Actress Gina Lollobrigida, an icon of the Golden Age of Hollywood, dies aged 95

The actress was named ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ during her silver screen heyday.

ITALIAN ACTOR AND photographer Gina Lollobrigida, one of the last icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood, has died aged 95, according to reports. 

The news agency Lapresse reported Lollobrigida’s death today, quoting Tuscany governor Eugenio Giani.

For decades, Lollobrigida embodied the Italian stereotype of Mediterranean beauty and was dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world”, after the title of one her movies.

gina-lollobrigida-95-to-run-for-senate File photo dated February 1, 2018 of Gina Lollobrigida honored with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on in Los Angeles, CA, USA Lionel Hahn Lionel Hahn

Italy’s culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano also reported the death on Twitter today.

“Farewell to a diva of the silver screen, protagonist of more than half a century of Italian cinema history. Her charm will remain eternal,” Sangiuliano wrote. 

Lollobrigida, famed when younger for her biting wit and sensual beauty, underwent an operation in a Rome clinic in September after breaking her femur, the agency said.

Best known for Luigi Comencini’s 1953 classic “Bread, Love and Dreams”, and Jean Delannoy’s 1956 “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, Lollobrigida starred with many of the leading men of the time, including Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster and Humphrey Bogart.

Luigia “Gina” Lollobrigida was born on 4 July, 1927, in Subiaco, a mountain village 50 kilometres east of Rome.

Her big breakthrough came in 1953 starring alongside Bogart in John Huston’s romp “Beat the Devil”.

Bogart said at the time Lollobrigida made “Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple.”

Lollobrigida won seven David di Donatello awards during her career, Italy’s Oscar equivalent.

But by the 1970s she had turned from acting to sculpture and photojournalism, including getting a scoop interview and photo shoot with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

She was back in the spotlight in 2021, amid a bitter legal battle with her son over her fortune.

Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that she needed a legal guardian to stop people preying on her wealth, because of a “weakening” in her perception of reality.

© AFP 2023 and with additional reporting from Press Association

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