Gina Lollobrigida (Italian pronunciation: ; born 4 July 1927) is an Italian actress, photojournalist and sculptress. She was one of the most popular european actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s. She was also an iconic sex symbol of the 1950s. Today, she remains an active supporter of Italian and Italian American causes, particularly the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). In 2008, she received the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award at the Foundation's Anniversary Gala.
Born Luigina Lollobrigida in Subiaco, Italy, she was one of four daughters of a furniture manufacturer (her sisters are Giuliana, Maria and Fernanda). She spent her youth in a picturesque mountain village. In her youth, Gina did some modelling, and from there she went to participate successfully in several beauty contests. At around this time, she began appearing in Italian language films. In 1947, Gina entered the Miss Italia pageant and came in 3rd place. The contest was won by Lucia Bosé and second place was Gianna Maria Canale – they would both go on to be actresses, though neither would come near Lollobrigida's success.
After these beauty contests, in 1950 she was invited to make some hollywood films by Howard Hughes, but she refused his proposals, preferring to work in Europe. Despite of this, her appearance in Italian films as Bread, Love and Dreams (for her role in this movie she received a nomination at BAFTA and won a first Nastro d'Argento) or Woman of Rome and French films as Fanfan la Tulipe or Beauties of the Night brought her definitively to the attention of Hollywood and she made her first American film, Beat the Devil, in 1953 with Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones directed by John Huston. As her popularity increased, Lollobrigida earned the nickname The World's Most Beautiful Woman after her signature 1955 movie (for her role in this movie she received a first David di Donatello for Best Actress). She made another notable appearance in the circus drama Trapeze directed by Carol Reed with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis in 1956 and starred in The Hunchback of Notre Dame directed by Jean Delannoy with Anthony Quinn the same year. In 1959 she co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Never So Few and with Yul Brynner in Solomon and Sheba. The latter was notable for having Brynner replace Tyrone Power (who died during filming), for being the last film directed by King Vidor, and for an orgy scene extremely licentious for Hollywood motion pictures of that era.