The tragic end of a Swedish sex symbol

‘La Dolce Vita’ Star Anita Ekberg

Died on this day, January 11, 2015

“I was lonely, but I have no regrets. I have loved, cried, been mad with happiness. I have won and I have lost.”

With notes from Mattias Thuresson

The 5-foot-7 blonde was born on September 29, 1931 in Malmo, Sweden. At 19 she was elected Miss Sweden, and although she didn’t win the Miss Universe contest, she got a modeling contract in the United States.

A film contract with Howard Hughes’s RKO studio went nowhere, so she went over to Universal and acted in small roles that played up her “Swedish bombshell” looks.

After five years in Hollywood, she ended up in Rome and her famous role in Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic La Dolce Vita, with her frolicking in Rome’s Trevi Fountain.

The gorgeous Swede made Rome her home and over the next ten years acted in a couple of dozen movies, some memorable, some forgettable. Her two marriages — to American actor Rick Van Nutter, and British actor Anthony Steele — kept her in the spotlight.

Movie roles in the 1970s didn’t come often, but she made a comeback of sorts in 1987 in Fellini’s Intervista, in which the director narrates his career in the form of memories, dreams, realities and fantasies.

Anita Ekberg retired from acting in 2002 after 50 years in the business.

In December of 2011, the 80-year-old former sex symbol was reported to be “destitute” following three months in hospital with a broken hip.

While hospitalized, her home was robbed of jewelry and furniture, and her villa was badly damaged by fire. She applied for help from the Fellini Foundation, but it also was having financial difficulties.

Anita Ekberg died at the age of 83 at the clinic San Raffaele in Rocco di Papa from complications of enduring illnesses. She was cremated and her remains were buried at the cemetery of Sweden’s Stanör Church.


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