×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gina Lollobrigida Reflects on Her Entrance to Hollywood

The 90-year-old Gina Lollobrigida, one of Europe’s biggest divas and a global sex symbol during the 1950s and ’60s worked with Hollywood heavyweights such as Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Errol Flynn and Rock Hudson. “La Lollo,” as the Italians call her, is best known among her countrymen for Luigi Comencini’s 1953 classic “Bread, Love and Dreams.” Outside Italy, she is famous for playing seductive gypsy Esmeralda in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1956) opposite Anthony Quinn, Queen Sheba with Yul Brynner in King Vidor’s hit epic “Solomon and Sheba” (1959) and Napoleon’s sister Paolina Bonaparte in “Imperial Venus” (1962). On Feb. 1, Lollobrigida received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Your first mention in Variety is a review in 1950 of Luigi Zampa’s “Campane a Martello” (Children of Chance). What’s your recollection of “Campane”?
It was a strange story, about two prostitutes who were very generous because they gave money to an orphanage … I remember acting opposite [Italian playwright, actor and director] Edoardo De Filippo — a heavyweight. It was the early days of my career when I wasn’t so sure about cinema. I didn’t realize yet how powerful cinema was.

In 1953, you starred with Humphrey Bogart in “Beat the Devil,” directed by John Huston. You were already a star by then.
That was my first movie in English … we were on the Amalfi coast …I was very excited about working with John Huston. Huston and Bogart would throw stuff at each other at the dinner table. Bogart would make fun of my English and talk tough to me, though he was actually saying some very sweet things. We had a crazy good time!

Your ties to Hollywood started in 1950 when Howard Hughes flew you to Los Angeles. He wanted to marry you. How did that go?
Hughes wanted me to go to Hollywood because he had seen some very sexy pictures. He knew I was married, but at the last minute instead of sending two plane tickets he just sent one. When I got off the plane there were already divorce lawyers waiting for me at the airport. I was taken to the Town House Hotel, which was miles away from Hollywood. There was a mansion at my disposal, but I didn’t dare go there because I would have been alone [with him] and I didn’t trust him that much … so I decided to come back.

You still made Hollywood movies including “Never so Few” with Frank Sinatra, in 1959.
Sinatra would start working at noon, because he liked to have fun at night; he would drink quite a lot. One day he showed up at 1 p.m. and, since I like to joke around, I said to him: “Frank, next time you’re late call me, so I can go back to bed too.” He got really touchy about that! Sinatra was so touchy! I have to tell you. Zero sense of humor.

You are best known in Italy for “Bread, Love and Dreams.” What memories does that film evoke?
De Sica taught me to understand cinema. He helped me to understand that cinema is an art; an art that can give you immediate gratification because the audience response is so wonderful.

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Netflix Snags Worldwide Rights to Cannes Winners 'Atlantics,' 'I Lost My Body'

    Mati Diop’s feature directorial debut “Atlantics” and Jérémy Clapin’s animated favorite “I Lost My Body” have both been acquired by Netflix following wins at Cannes Film Festival. “Atlantics” was awarded the grand prix while “I Lost My Body” was voted the best film at the independent International Critics Week. The deals are for worldwide rights [...]

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho reacts after winning the

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

    CANNES — The 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival wrapped with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu announcing the group’s unanimous decision to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his sly, politically charged “Parasite.” Following last year’s win for humanistic Japanese drama “Shoplifters,” the well-reviewed Asian thriller represents the yin [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão'

    A “tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão.” If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de [...]

  • Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The 10 Best Movies of Cannes 2019

    The Cannes Film Festival is too rich an event to truly have an “off” year, but by the end of the 72nd edition, it was more or less universally acknowledged that the festival had regained a full-on, holy-moutaintop-of-art luster that was a bit lacking the year before. It helps, of course, to have headline-making movies [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Soaring to $100 Million-Plus Memorial Day Weekend Debut

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” remake is on its way to a commendable Memorial Day weekend debut with an estimated $109 million over the four-day period. The musical fantasy starring Will Smith and Mena Massoud should uncover about $87 million in its first three days from 4,476 North American theaters after taking in $31 million on Friday. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content