Saturday, September 25, 2010


Ekberg was born in 1931, the eldest girl and the sixth of eight children. In her teens, she worked as a fashion model. In 1950, Ekberg entered the Miss Malmo competition at her mother's urging, leading to the Miss Sweden contest, which she won. She consequently went to the United States to compete for the  miss universe title, despite not speaking English.
Although she did not win Miss Universe, as one of six finalists she did earn a starlet 's contract with universal Studios , as was the rule at the time. In America, Ekberg met Howard  Hughes, who at the time was producing films and wanted her to change her nose, teeth and name (Hughes said "Ekberg" was too difficult to pronounce). She refused to change her name, saying that if she became famous, people would learn to pronounce it, and if she didn't become famous, it would not matter.
As a starlet at Universal, Ekberg received lessons in drama, elocution, dancing, horse-riding and fencing. Ekberg skipped many of the lessons, restricting herself to horse riding in the Hollywood hills . Ekberg later admitted that she was spoiled by the studio system, and that she played instead of pursuing bigger film roles.

Federico Fellini gave Ekberg her greatest role in la dolce vita 1960, in which she played the unattainable "dream woman" opposite marcello Mastroinani; then Boccaccio 70 in 1960, a movie that also featured Sophia Loren. Fellini would call her back for two other films: i clown 1972, and Intervista 1987, where she played herself in a reunion scene with Mastroianni.
La Dolce Vita was a sensational success, and Anita Ekberg's uninhibited cavorting in Rome's trevi fountain  remains one of the most celebrated images in film history.


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