The 1960s screen siren Anita Ekberg, best known for her role in Federico Fellini’s iconic film La Dolce Vita, died in Italy on Sunday at the age of 83. According to the New York Times, the cause of death was complications related to an ongoing illness.
It is reported that Ekberg died almost penniless, having sought assistance from the Fellini Foundation while she was living in a nursing home outside Rome in 2011. She stayed largely out of the public eye in her later years but did make an appearance in 2010 when a restoration of La Dolce Vita had its world premiere at a film festival in Rome.
In her heyday, the Swedish actress starred in numerous films, including two comedies with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. She was linked romantically with Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, and Errol Flynn. She was known for being outspoken in interviews, and believed that it was Fellini who owed his success to her, not the other way around.
“They would like to keep up the story that Fellini made me famous, Fellini discovered me,” she told the Times in 1999. “So many have said they discovered me.”
But, regardless, it is the sexy moonlit scene in the Trevi Fountain from La Dolce Vita that made her an icon of the silver screen. In the film, Ekberg plays a glittering Swedish-American starlet who charms a young playboy gossip columnist while in Rome.
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