Anita Ekberg, star of La Dolce Vita, has died aged 83.A former Miss Sweden, she was
branded a “sex goddess” for her performance in Federico Fellini’s 1960 movie.
The moment where she wades through Rome’s Trevi Fountain in a strapless dress is
considered one of cinema’s most iconic scenes.
Ekberg died in Rome on Sunday morning, her lawyer confirmed. She had been in
hospital since Christmas following a series of illnesses.
The actress had been in a wheelchair for several years after being knocked down by one
of her pet Great Danes, breaking a hip.
Born in Malmo, Sweden, in 1931, Ekberg was the sixth of eight children.
She said her father, a harbour master and a strict Protestant, was “the apple of my eye”,
although she later fell out with all but one of her siblings.
After winning the Miss Sweden title at the age of 20, she travelled to America where she
took part in the Miss Universe contest.
Although she didn’t win and spoke very little English, she was immediately signed to a
contract by Universal Pictures.
The studio sent her to work in Italy, where she played Henry Fonda’s unfaithful wife in
King Vidor’s War and Peace (1956).
It was in Rome that she met director Federico Fellini, who cast her in La Dolce Vita
as Sylvia Rank – “the most wonderful woman created since the beginning of time” – an
actress pursued by news photographers.
The famous scene in the Trevi Fountain saw Ekberg and her co-star Marcello
Mastroianni wading through the chilled waters in sensual abandon.
The sight of the water caressing her impossibly voluptuous body was shocking for
audiences in the 1950s.