Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg (Swedish pronunciation: [anˌiːˈta ˌeːkˈbærj] ( listen); 29 September 1931 – 11 January 2015) was a Swedish actress in American and European films. She is best known for her role as Sylvia in the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita (1960). Ekberg worked primarily in Italy, where she became a permanent resident in 1964.
Ekberg in 1956
|Pronunciation||Swedish: [aˈniːta ²eːkbærj] Italian: [aˈniːta ˈɛkberɡ] English: / /|
|Born||Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg
29 September 1931
|Died||11 January 2015
Rocca di Papa, Italy
|Spouse(s)||Anthony Steel (m. 1956–59)
Rik Van Nutter (m. 1963–75)
Anita Ekberg was born on 29 September 1931, in Malmö, Skåne, the sixth of eight children of Gustav Fredrik Ekberg by the former Alva Maria Larsson. In her teens, Anita worked as a fashion model. Ekberg entered the Miss Malmö competition in 1950 at her mother's urging. This led to the Miss Sweden contest which she won. She consequently went to the United States to compete for the 1951 Miss Universe title (an unofficial pageant at that time, the pageant became official in 1952), despite speaking very little English.
As a starlet at Universal, she received lessons in drama, elocution, dancing, horseback riding, and fencing. She appeared briefly in the 1953 Universal films Abbott and Costello Go to Mars and The Golden Blade. Ekberg skipped many of her drama lessons, restricting herself to riding horses in the Hollywood Hills. Ekberg later admitted she was spoiled by the studio system and played instead of pursuing bigger film roles.
The combination of Ekberg's voluptuous physique and colorful private life (such as her well-publicized romances with Hollywood's leading men like Frank Sinatra, Tyrone Power, Yul Brynner, Rod Taylor, and Errol Flynn) appealed to the gossip magazines, like Confidential, and she soon became a major 1950s pin-up, appearing in men's magazines like Playboy. Additionally, Ekberg participated in publicity stunts. She once admitted that an incident in which her dress burst open in the lobby of London's Berkeley Hotel was prearranged with a photographer.
By the mid-1950s, after several modeling jobs, Ekberg finally broke into the film industry. She guest-starred in the short-lived TV series Casablanca (1955) and Private Secretary. She had a small part in the film Blood Alley (1955) starring John Wayne and Lauren Bacall. She appeared alongside the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy act in Artists and Models (1955) and Hollywood or Bust (1956), both for Paramount Pictures. For a time, she was even publicized as "Paramount's Marilyn Monroe".
Ekberg was featured in five films released during 1956. Paramount cast her in War and Peace (1956) which was shot in Rome, alongside Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn. Meanwhile, RKO Pictures gave the actress her first leading role in an early disaster film Back from Eternity (also 1956). The last two were Man in the Vault and Zarak, both minor studio productions that had a limited impact on her career.
Ekberg starred in the British drama Interpol with Victor Mature and in Valerie (both 1957) with Sterling Hayden. She then co-starred with Bob Hope in Paris Holiday and with Philip Carey and Gypsy Rose Lee in Screaming Mimi (both 1958). A European film, Sheba and the Gladiator (1959), followed.
Federico Fellini gave Ekberg her best known role in La Dolce Vita (1960), performing as Sylvia Rank, the unattainable "dream woman" of the character played by Marcello Mastroianni. The film features a scene of her cavorting in Rome's Trevi Fountain alongside Mastroianni, which has been called "one of cinema's most iconic scenes".
After this, she accepted a role in The Dam on the Yellow River in 1960. She then appeared in Boccaccio '70 (1962), a film that also featured Sophia Loren and Romy Schneider. Soon thereafter, Ekberg was being considered to play the first Bond girl, Honey Ryder in Dr. No, but the role went to the then-unknown Ursula Andress.
Ekberg co-starred with Andress, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin in the western-comedy 4 for Texas (1963). Fellini would call her back for two more films: The Clowns (1972) and Intervista (1987). In the latter, she appeared as herself in a reunion scene with Mastroianni.
Both of Ekberg's marriages were to actors, but neither of them succeeded. She was married to Anthony Steel from 1956 until their divorce in 1959 and to Rik Van Nutter from 1963 until their divorce in 1975. In one interview, she said she wished she had a child but stated just the opposite on another occasion.
Ekberg was often outspoken in interviews, e.g., naming famous people she reportedly "couldn't bear." She was also frequently quoted as saying that it was Fellini who owed his success to her, rather than vice versa: "They would like to keep up the story that Fellini made me famous, that Fellini discovered me", she said in a 1999 interview with The New York Times.
Ekberg did not live in Sweden after the early 1950s, and rarely visited the country. However, she welcomed Swedish journalists into her home outside Rome and in 2005 appeared on the popular radio program Sommar, telling about her life. She stated in an interview that she would not move back to Sweden before her death but would be buried there.
On 19 July 2009, she was admitted to the San Giovanni Hospital in Rome after falling ill in her home in Genzano, according to a medical official in the hospital's neurosurgery department. Despite her condition not being serious, Ekberg was put under observation in the facility.
In December 2011, it was reported that the 80-year-old Ekberg was "destitute" following three months in a Rimini hospital with a broken hip, during which time her home was robbed of jewelry and furniture, and her villa was badly damaged by fire. Ekberg applied for help from the Fellini Foundation, which also found itself in difficult financial straits.
Ekberg died on 11 January 2015, at the age of 83, at the clinic San Raffaele in Rocca di Papa in Castelli Romani, Italy from complications of enduring illnesses. Ekberg's funeral service was held on 14 January 2015, at the Lutheran-Evangelical Christuskirche in Rome, after which her body was cremated and her remains were buried at the cemetery of Skanör Church in Sweden.
|1953||The Mississippi Gambler||Maid of Honor|||
|Abbott and Costello Go to Mars||Venusian Guard||American science fiction comedy film directed by Charles Lamont.|||
|The Golden Blade||Handmaiden||An adventure film directed by Nathan Juran.|
|1955||Blood Alley||Wei Ling, Big Han's wife||Propaganda seafaring adventure movie set in China directed by William A. Wellman.|||
|Artists and Models||Anita||
|1956||War and Peace||Helene||American-Italian war drama film directed by King Vidor.|
|Back from Eternity||Rena||Drama film directed and produced by John Farrow.|||
|Hollywood or Bust||Herself|
|Man in the Vault||Flo Randall||Film noir directed by Andrew V. McLaglen.|||
|Valerie||Valerie Horvat||Western film directed by Gerd Oswald.|||
|1958||Paris Holiday||Zara||Comedy film directed by Gerd Oswald|||
|The Man Inside||Trudie Hall||British crime adventure film directed by John Gilling .|
|Screaming Mimi||Virginia Wilson aka Yolanda Lange|
|1959||Sheba and the Gladiator||Zenobia||
|1960||La Dolce Vita||Sylvia||Italian comedy-drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini.|||
|1961||The Mongols||Hulina||Directed by André De Toth.|
|A porte chiuse||Olga Duvovich|||
|The Dam on the Yellow River||Miss Dorothy Simmons|||
|1963||Call Me Bwana||Luba||Farce film directed by Gordon Douglas.|||
|4 for Texas||Elya Carlson||
|1965||The Alphabet Murders||Amanda|
|Who Wants to Sleep?||Lolita Young|||
|1966||How I Learned to Love Women||Margaret Joyce|||
|Way...Way Out||Anna||American comedy film directed by Gordon Douglas.|
|Pardon, Are You For or Against?||Baroness Olga|||
|1967||The Glass Sphinx||Paulette|||
|Woman Times Seven||Claudie|
|1969||Death Knocks Twice||Sophia Perretti|||
|Malenka||Malenka / Sylvia Morel||
|1970||The Clowns||Herself||Film by Federico Fellini about the human fascination with clowns and circuses.|||
|1972||Casa d'appuntamento||Madame Colette||
|Northeast of Seoul||Katherine||Film directed by David Lowell Rich.|||
|1978||Killer Nun||Sister Gertrude||
|1980||S*H*E||Dr. Biebling||American spy film directed by Robert Michael Lewis.|
|1987||Intervista||Herself||Italian film directed by Federico Fellini.|
|1991||Count Max||Marika||French-Italian comedy film directed by Christian De Sica|||
|1996||Bambola||Mother Greta||French-Spanish-Italian erotic melodrama film written and directed by Bigas Luna.|
|1979||Gold of the Amazon Women||Queen Na-Eela|
- "Anita Ekberg". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "La Dolce Vita star Anita Ekberg dies". BBC. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "Anita Ekberg To Become Italian Citizen" (PDF). Anita Ekberg To Become Italian Citizen. 15 October 1964. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Sullivan (1995).
- Bernstein, Adam (11 January 2015). "Anita Ekberg, Swedish bombshell of 'La Dolce Vita,' dies at 83". The Washington Post.
- "La Dolce Vita star Anita Ekberg passes away". Al Jazeera. 11 January 2015.
- "The Old-School Beauty Of Anita Ekberg". The Roosevelts. Archived from the original on 18 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "Anita Ekberg, 'Dolce Vita' actress, dies". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "Nel segno di Roma". filmtipset.se. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- Mejia, Paula. "Anita Ekberg, International Film Siren, Dies at Age 83". Newsweek. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "La dolce Anita turns 75". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). 5 October 2006.
- "Anita Ekberg". Studentafton. Lund. 22 March 2007.
- "Still a Blond Bombshell, but of a Certain Age". New York Times. 13 June 1999.
- "Anita Ekberg in Rome hospital". ABC News. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "Dolce Vita diva Ekberg appeals for help". Zee News. India. 23 December 2011.
- "Film icon falls on hard times". The New Zealand Herald. 24 December 2011.
- "Skådespelerskan Anita Ekberg är död". Expressen. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "Anita Ekberg, International Screen Beauty and Fellini Star, Dies at 83". The New York Times. 11 January 2015.
- "Anita Ekberg, mercoledì i funerali nella chiesa evangelica luterana". Corriere di Roma (in Italian). 11 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "The Mississippi Gambler". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Furmanek, Bob and Ron Palumbo (1991). Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. New York: Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-51605-0
- Variety film review; 21 September 1955, page 6.
- "Finding Aid for the Herbert Baker Papers, 1939-1978". Content.cdlib.org. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
- Pendo 1985, p. 271.
- "Man in the Vault: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- WARWICK ACQUIRES BEVAN SPY NOVEL: Irving Allen Plans Production of 'Zarak Khan' -- Seeking Errol Flynn for Title Role By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 14 May 1953: 33.
- "Zarak (1956) - Overview". TCM.com. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Interpol (1957)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Valerie". TCMDB. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Valerie". All Movie. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Full synopsis". TCMDB. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Erickson, Hal. "Plot synopsis". Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- McGee, Mark (996). Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures. McFarland. p. 154.
- Kezich, Tullio (2006). Federico Fellini: His Life and Work. New York: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-21168-5.
- Irene Mazzetti. I film di Dino Risi (in Italian). Gremese.
- Valerio Caprara (1993). Mordi e fuggi: la commedia secondo Dino Risi (in Italian). Marsilio.
- Paolo D'Agostini, Dino Risi, Editrice Il castoro, 1995
- Films in Review, Volume 14, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, 1963
- Roberto Chiti; Roberto Poppi; Enrico Lancia; Mario Pecorari. Dizionario del cinema italiano. I film. Gremese Editore, 1992. ISBN 8876055932.
- Freddy Buache. Le cinéma italien, 1945-1990. L'Age d'homme, 1992. ISBN 2825102253.
- ""Nino Rota, L'Amico Magico" at". Last.fm. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Ceplair, Larry (2007). The Marxist and the Movies: A Biography of Paul Jarrico. University Press of Kentucky. p. either 188 or 250. ISBN 9780813137049.
- Scott, J. L. (1 November 1960). "Texas yarns follow in wake of 'alamo'". Los Angeles Times(1923-Current File). Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Who wants to Sleep?". British Film Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Andrea Pergolari. Verso la commedia: momenti del cinema di Steno, Salce, Festa Campanile. Firenze libri, 2002.
- Roberto Poppi; Mario Pecorari. Dizionario del cinema italiano. I film. Gremese Editore, 2007. ISBN 8884405033.
- Paolo Mereghetti. Il Mereghetti. B.C. Dalai Editore, 2010. ISBN 8860736269.
- "The Glass Sphinx". TCMDB. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "BFI: Blonde Köder für den Mörder". British Film Institute. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- McCallum, Lawrence (1998). Italian horror films of the 1960s: a critical catalog of 62 chillers. McFarland. pp. 75–77. ISBN 9780786404353.
- Cinefantastique, Volume 3. Cinefantastique. 1973. p. 34.
- Philip French (25 October 2014). "I Clowns review". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- Roberto Chiti; Roberto Poppi; Enrico Lancia. Dizionario del cinema italiano: I film. Gremese, 1991. ISBN 8876059695.
- Paolo Mereghetti. Il Mereghetti. B.C. Dalai Editore, 2010. ISBN 88-6073-626-9.
- "Northeast of Seoul". All Movie. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- "Film Review: Northeast of Seoul (1972)". Films de France. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- Fountain, Nigel (2008). Killer Nun. Time Out Film Guide 2009. London: Ebury Press. p. 566.
- Koper, Richard (2010). Fifties Blondes: Sexbombs, Sirens, Bad Girls and Teen Queens. BearManor Media. p. 113.
- Sullivan, Steve (1995). VaVaVa Voom! Glamour Girls of The Pinup Era. Stoddart. ISBN 978-1-881649-60-1.
- McDonough, Jimmy (2005). Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film. Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-07250-1.
- Mancini, Henry (2002). Did They Mention the Music?: The Autobiography of Henry Mancini. Copper Square Press. ISBN 978-0-8154-1175-8.
- Pendo, Stephen (1985). Aviation in the Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8-1081-746-2.