Anita Ekberg died on Sunday in a hospital outside of Rome. She was 83.
The classic Hollywood blonde bombshell was the second loss in the world of long-ago cinema this week. Rod Taylor, who starred in The Birds and The Time Machine, also passed away this week at 84.
Anita Ekberg was born Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg in Malmo, Sweden on Sept. 29, 1931.
She began her career with the winning of the Miss Malmo Pageant.
She then went on the be crowned Miss Sweden in 1950 and finished in the top six at the Miss Universe Pageant.
Her notoriety and beauty caught the attention of movie studios and she signed with Universal-International. She began her movie career in 1953 with The Mississippi Gambler, Take Me to Town and The Golden Blade.
Those parts were mostly for a buxom blonde, not requiring much talent.
However, she went on to star in the Federico Fellini’s classic film, La Dolce Vita.
Her career didn’t stop at movies. Anita Ekberg also appeared with Bob Hope on his TV specials numerous times and joined him on his USO tours, quickly becoming a favorite among service men.
Anita Ekberg also starred with Bob Hope in two of his movies: Paris Holiday in 1958 and Call Me Bwana in 1962.
Ekberg was rumored to have romances with many of Hollywood’s leading men, but she was only married two times.
She was married to British actor Anthony Steel from 1956 until 1959 and to Rik Van Nutter from 1963 to 1975.
Anita Ekberg has lived in Rome for many years and has appeared most recently as an aging opera singer in the movie Le Nain Rouge (The Red Dwarf).
Farewell, Anita Ekberg. I’m sure many a movie-lover and service man living through that age of Hollywood will remember you fondly.