Farewell, Anita Ekberg
Pin-up model and actress Anita Ekberg has died January 11 (2015) at age 83 in Italy, where she lived most of her life. Born Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg on September 29, 1931 in Sweden, she was one of 7 children. Her first big break came at age 20 in 1951 when she won Miss Sweden in the Miss Universe contest and traveled to Hollywood. She secured bit parts in movies, but primarily modeled until landing more solid supporting roles in 1955 opposite Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Shirley Maclaine in the comedy Artists and Models.
Anita Ekberg’s acting career kept her busy through the late 1950’s and then came her most renowned starring role, in 1960’s La Dolce Vita directed by Federico Fellini. In a famous scene, clad in a low-cut black evening dress, she cavorts in Rome’s Trevi Fountain and entices her La Dolce Vita co-star Marcello Mastroianni to join her.
By the mid 1960’s, after starring in 1963’s comedy 4 for Texas opposite Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Ursula Andress, Ekberg’s career started to wane. Married and divorced twice, she also was rumored to have had affairs with leading men Frank Sinatra, Errol Flynn, Yul Brynner, Tyrone Power and Gary Cooper. In her senior years, Anita Ekberg suffered various financial and health misfortunes, and at the time of her death was living alone with her two Great Dane dogs.