Gina Lollobrigida represented the Italian brand of womanhood for a whole generation. A strong and multi-talented lady, she is still one of the legends of world cinema.
Her film career began by chance when talent scouts were looking for potential actors among people out in the streets. Lollobrigida was discovered one day in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, where she had won a scholarship and was studying sculpture and painting. It was Vittorio De Sica, firmly convinced of Gina’s artistic potential, who persuade her to take up a career in cinema.
She was featured on the cover of Time in 1955 when Mediterranean sex appeal was all the rage in American showbiz. The magazine quoted Humphrey Bogart saying that Lollobrigida made “Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple”.
She was directed by such greats as John Huston, Carol Reed, René Clair, Christian-Jaque and Vittorio De Sica in over sixty films, sometimes acting in three different languages alongside stars like Alec Guinness, Marcello Mastroianni, Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, Yul Brynner, Rock Hudson and Anthony Quinn. So many unforgettable performances have made her one of the world’s best-loved and most popular actresses. She received countless international awards for her performances.
Highly versatile in the figurative arts, she has produced a staggering photographic documentation on the aspects of human life, displaying a constant concern towards children. In recognition of her long-standing efforts on behalf of humanitarian organizations, Gina Lollobrigida was appointed ambassadress of the FAO and closely involved with UNICEF, UNESCO, Médicins sans Frontières, Mother Theresa of Calcutta and the Children of Romania.
Lollobrigida has published many photography books and has directed three documentaries: one on Fidel Castro in 1974, one on Indira Gandhi and one on the Philippines, both in 1976. She continued to produce pieces of sculpture every so often and represented Italy at the 1992 Expo in Seville with a sculpture entitled “Living Together,” a child riding on a great eagle. In 1996 she was made Honorary Member of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts, the third woman to receive this honor after the astronomer Margherita Hack and the Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini.
Since 1990 she has resumed full-time her activity as sculptress and the first exhibition of her work was held in Moscow’s renowned Pushkin Museum, the most important center for the fine arts in the Russian capital, which ended with an encounter with Vladimir Putin who warmly complimented the artist.