This year at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, Gina Lollobrigida will be making a rare public appearance at the festival’s opening night gala on Thursday (April 28). TCM Classic Film Festival will pay tribute to Golden Globe®-Nominee Gina Lollobrigida by featuring screenings of her Golden Globe® nominated film, Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1986) and Trapeze (1956).
Ms. Lollobrigida, one of the highest profile European actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s, a period in which she was an international sex symbol, gets to show off her skill at playing comedy in this charming tale of a 20-year-old lie that earned her a Golden Globe nomination for her work. She stars as a woman who finds herself pregnant during World War II with no idea which of her three GI boyfriends is the father. So, she tells each he has a daughter, raising the girl comfortably with their support checks while telling the townsfolk she’s the widow of a flyer named Campbell (for the soup). Twenty years later, the men return to the village, each hoping to see his daughter.
Director Melvin Frank had started as a writer for Bob Hope before directing such hits as Danny Kaye’s The Court Jester (1955) and Hope’s The Facts of Life (1960). He had been impressed with Lollobrigida while working with her on the Rock Hudson comedy Come September (1961), and helped screenwriters Denis Norden and Sheldon Keller develop the script as a vehicle for her. He also surrounded her with top talent including Phil Silvers, Telly Savalas and Peter Lawford as the grown-up soldiers, and Shelley Winters and Lee Grant as two of their wives. But it’s Lollobrigida’s charm and innocence that keeps the whole thing afloat. The film would inspire the Broadway musical Carmelina before turning up, uncredited, as the inspiration for the musical Mamma Mia!
Currently retired, Lollobrigida has not made a film since 1997. She told PARADE in April 2000: “I studied painting and sculpting at school and became an actress by mistake … I’ve had many lovers and still have romances. I am very spoiled. All my life, I’ve had too many admirers.”
Gina Lollobrigida Trivia per IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes:
“Lollo”, a kind of curly lettuce, was named after her.
She was a successful photojournalist and scooped the world’s press by obtaining an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro.
She was placed third in the Miss Italy competition in 1947
Retired from acting in 1997 after 50 years in the motion picture industry.
In May 2013, her diamond jewelry sold for more than $4.9 million in Geneva, setting an auction record for pearl earrings, according to Sotheby’s. The earrings beat the $1.98 million figure set in 2011 from the sale of ones made by Bulgari for Elizabeth Taylor. Lollobrigida said was selling the jewelry to raise money for stem cell research.
She moved to Rome after the war (World War II) to study sculpture while working as a singer and an artist’s model
Howard Hughes wanted her to sign a long-term contract, but she didn’t want to stay too far away from home.
Born Luigina Lollobrigida in Subiaco, Italy
Her first widely seen English language film was Beat the Devil (1953) opposite Humphrey Bogart
Pictured here: Gina Lollobrigida, circa 1955 / The Hollywood Archive