Star of Fellini's La Dolce Vita Dies at 83

Anita Ekberg best known for iconic dip in Trevi Fountain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2015 6:07 AM CST
Star of Fellini's La Dolce Vita Dies at 83
In this 1960 file photo, Swedish actress Anita Ekberg poses on the terrace of her hotel in Maratea, southern Italy.   (Mario Torrisi)

(Newser) – Anita Ekberg, the Swedish-born actress and sex-symbol of the 1950s and '60s who was immortalized bathing in the Trevi fountain in La Dolce Vita, has died. She was 83. Ekberg's lawyer Patrizia Ubaldi confirmed she died in Rome this morning following a series of illnesses. She had been hospitalized most recently after Christmas. Ubaldi said that in her last days Ekberg was saddened by the illness and her advancing age. "She had hoped to get better, something that didn't happen," she said. Ekberg had long lived in Italy, the country that gave her worldwide fame thanks to the iconic dip opposite Marcello Mastroianni. The scene where the blond bombshell, clad in a black dress, her arms wide open, calls out "Marcello" remains one of the most famous images in film history.

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Ekberg married twice but never had children—a fact she came to regret later in her life. Some gossip magazines called her "The Iceberg" in a nod to her Scandinavian background. Her role in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita—where she played a movie star—shot her to stardom. Speaking in 2005, Ekberg recalled shooting the scene in the Trevi Fountain. She said it was shot in February, the water was cold and Mastroianni was falling over drunk on vodka. "They had to lift me out of the water because I couldn't feel my legs anymore. I have seen that scene a few times. Maybe too many times. I can't stand watching it anymore, but it was beautiful at the time," she said. Ekberg appeared in scores of movies, many forgettable. She returned in two Fellini movies: Clowns and Intervista. In an interview, published for Ekberg's 75th birthday, she had this to say: "I don't know if paradise or hell exist, but I'm sure hell is more groovy." (Read more Anita Ekberg stories.)

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