She was known as an actress and an international sex symbol. Born in Malmö, Sweden, Ekberg did most of her film work in Italy. Before doing American film roles in movies like Abbott and Costello Go to Mars in 1953, she appeared in Playboy. She later starred in movies with Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn.
Ekberg was known for causing public excitement, such as when she was photographed when her dress broke open in London's Berkeley Hotel, which she admitted later was on purpose.
Ekberg's last notable role as an actress was her appearance in two episodes of a television series called Beauty Centre in 2002.
Ekberg died in Rocca di Papa, Italy on Sunday from complications related to a longtime illness.