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Giulietta Masina

Giulietta Masina, the wife and leading lady of the late movie director Federico Fellini, died Wednesday. She was 74.

Masina was being treated for a tumor at the Columbus Clinic, where she had been admitted in October, the hospital said.

The wide-eyed actress appeared in some of Fellini’s best-known films, including “La Strada,””The Nights of Cabiria” and “Juliet of the Spirits.”

She returned to the screen in 1985 after almost 20 years to star with Marcello Mastroianni in Fellini’s “Ginger and Fred.”

Fellini died last October after a stroke, and a badly shaken Masina was hospitalized with exhaustion.

Her best-known role was as Gelsomina, the haunting waif who became the exploited companion of circus strongman Anthony Quinn in “La Strada.” The pic won the Oscar for foreign-language film.

Masina, born near Bologna, was the daughter of a school teacher, and began acting with a university drama group. She got her first break in 1942, starring on an Italian radio show in a play written by Fellini, who was a fellow student.

They were married the following year and remained inseparable until Fellini’s death Oct. 31.

She won the Cannes Film Festival best actress award for her role as a prostitute in the “Nights of Cabiria” (1956).

Masina is survived by a sister.

The funeral was set for Friday at Rome’s Church of the Artists, news agencies said.

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