Anita Ekberg died at age 83 in a hospital outside of Rome on Sunday. The Swedish-born actress was best known for her performance in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.
Ekberg died following a series of illnesses, which she struggled with for the past two years. She had been in the hospital since after Christmas.
Ekberg’s lawyer Patrizia Ubaldi said the actress was upset during her last hospital trip. “She had hoped to get better, something that didn’t happen.”
The actress also struggled with financial problems during the end of her life.
Before Anita Ekberg died, she lived in Italy for a long time. Italy was the country where she took the dip in the Fountain of Trevi for the movie La Dolce Vita. The sensual scene of her wading in the strapless velvet black dress established Ekberg as a sex symbol.
During a Swedish radio program in 2005, Ekberg described shooting the scene. She said the Trevi Fountain scene was shot in February. After filming, she was so cold they had to lift her out of the water.
Ekberg later appeared in three other Fellini films, including Bocaccio ’70, I Clowns, and the mockumentary Intervista.
In 1951 Ekberg won the Miss Sweden competition. She then went to the United States to compete for the title Miss Universe. Though she didn’t win, she did stay in Hollywood to become a model and start acting.
For the 1955 ABC series Casablanca Ekberg played Ilsa, the role Ingrid Bergman immortalized in the movie.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ekberg appeared in two comedies: Paris Holiday and Call Me Bwana.
Throughout the ‘60s, the actress portrayed various roles that played up her blonde bombshell persona. Notably, she starred in the 1963 4 for Texas with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Ursula Andress.
Anita Ekberg also appeared in War and Peace, The Alphabet Murders, Way…Way Out, and If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belçium.
Ekberg married and divorced Anthony Steel and Rik Van Nutter. She had no children though, something of which she regretted later in her life.
Following Anita Ekberg’s death, her funeral will be held in Rome this week, her body will be cremated, and her ashes will be sent to Sweden.[Photo Credit: Hector Milla]