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Gina Lollobrigida, the Italian star who made ‘Marilyn Monroe appear to be Shirley Temple’ | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV

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Gina Lollobrigida has died on the age of 95 in Rome on Monday having been hospitalised for “a while”, based on the Italian day by day newspaper Corriere della Sera. Lollobrigida was a diva of the Fifties and Sixties, considered one of the previous few stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood who survived into the twenty first century. A world sex symbol, Gina’s beauty was admired far and wide and saw her pitted against one other adored actress of the era, Marilyn Monroe.

Actor Humphrey Bogart starred alongside the late Italian actress, in addition to Frank Sinatra, within the 1953 film, Beat the Devil.

The Casablanca star once made a scathing comparison between Marilyn and Gina, claiming the latter ‘made Marilyn appear to be Shirley Temple’, the kid star.

The 2 women were continuously compared, particularly their respective voluptuous figures. In an article titled, “What happened when Marilyn met Gina”, their measurements were listed under each of their names.

The American columnist Earl Wilson described Marilyn as “threatening” Gina’s grip on Europe while Gina was said to even be “moving in” on Marilyn in America. He described this as “The Blonde vs. the Brunette within the Battle of the Giantesses”.

However the two were, it seems, respectful to one another, once meeting in 1954 prior to Marilyn filming parts of Seven Yr Itch where she posed in the long-lasting, billowing, white dress. 

Mr Wilson told how he brought up Marilyn — who was taking America by storm — while speaking with Gina, to which she replied: “Now you tease me. I [have seen] her in two pictures. She’s wonderful, she’s comedienne?”

Marilyn was not the one star Gina was pitted against: the Italian actress Sophia Loren was also dubbed her “rival”.

In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2015, to which Sophia declined to comment, Gina said: “She and her press agents began this ‘rivalry’ with me — and she or he hasn’t stopped for 50 years. It was really boring for me. I had enough of that. Even when she modified press agents — which I’ve never used — she continued it.”

READ MORE: Gina Lollobrigida in pictures: A glance back on the Italian film star

She added: “We’re different. We made completely different careers. I desired to be an artist greater than anything. I wanted a profession on a high level.”

“La Lollo”, as she was known, rose to fame starring within the Bafta award-winning film, Bread, Love and Dreams. But it surely was her role in Beat the Devil with Bogart that cemented her international success.

Throughout her teenage years, she had done some modelling and in 1947 earned third place within the Miss Italia pageant. Two years later, she married a Slovenian doctor Milko Skofic with whom she had a son, Milko Jr.

Then in 1955, she played Lina, a music hall singer, within the film The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beautiful But Dangerous. Its original title “You might be essentially the most beautiful woman on the earth” saw her dubbed just that.

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Within the early Seventies, she began to concentrate on photojournalism, photographing the likes of Grace Kelly and Henry Kissinger.

Then in 1999, she ventured into politics but was unsuccessful in her bid for the European Parliament. This endeavour continued even into what was the last 12 months of her life as in 2022 she attempted to win a seat within the Senate of the Republic within the Italian general election.

Paying tribute to the Come September star, Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri said: “A real star of Italian and international cinema has left us.

“Along with her movies and interpretations, she has rightfully entered into the history of the country and its collective imagination. Rome, town she loved, will remember her how she deserves.”

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