Gina Lollobrigida


  1. Silvana Mangano, Riz amer/Bitter Rice, 1949.    Director Giuseppe De Santis wanted someone fresh. La Lollo was tested, and La Pampanini, even the French Martine Carol. And then, the producer’s lady won. Oh, what a surprise!
  2. Lea Padovani, Tempi nostri/Our Times, 1951.     After the success of her Trial sketch in his Altri tempi/Times Gone By, directorAlessandro Blasettei took it for granted that the rising Italian star would partner De Sica anew (and Mastroianni)  in his sequel. Scusi, maestro.  No, she was too busy  perfecting her Inglese for Beat The Devil with “the only people I never sue, the so nice Humphrey Bogart and John Huston.” And by September 3 1951, “Low-low-bridge-id-ah” was on the Life cover.

  3. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1952.  
    Frank Capra (and George Stevens) wanted Liz Taylor, William Wyler liked Suzanne Cloutier (the future Mrs Peter Ustinov) for the runaway Princess Ann.   A further 28 actresses were seen, the good, bad and risible – like the current sex-bombs Yvonne De Carlo Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Sylvana Mangano, Shelley Winters.  Apart from, perhaps, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman and Wanda Hendrix (even though  her real name as Dixie), the Hollywood hopefuls  – singer Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt), Jeanne Crain, Nina Foch, Janet Leigh, Joan Leslie, June Lockhart, Dorothy Malone, Patricia Neal, Barbara Rush – were soon discarded, lacking the stature of Euro-royalty. Idem for the Euros – Swedish Bibi Andersson, and the French Capucine, Leslie Caron, Jeanne Moreau. Which left several perfect Brits Claire Bloom, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Kay Kendall, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Moira Shearer, and, of course, Audrey, … soon gracing the Time cover, hailed by the New York Times as “a slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike” with, added Variety, a “delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark,” (And, Indeed, it did for evermore).

  4. Lucia Bosé, Donna senza Camelie (US: The Lady Without Camelias), 1953.     Once Lollo stormed out, Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni sued her,. She  sued him back  – and won. It remains a mystery how she ever agreed to make a satire about untalented Italian beauty queens exploiting their maggiorata fisica breasts, a script that ridiculed not only the Italian movie industry but Lollo, herself. The role went to the 1947 Miss Italy… the year  Lollo came third after Luicia and Gianna Maria Canale.
  5. Sophia Loren, Due notti con Cleopatra, Italy, 1953.     Cleo had always been set up for  Lollo. She objected to the nude bathing  – not  the so fine Sophia.   Or not this once.   So  begins George Rafty/Humphrey Bogart, Italian style.
  6. Sophia Loren, Aida, 1953.    Wanted: a breathtaking body  and face to mouth the arias of diva Renta Tebaldi.  Sophia said that Gina felt such a job was beneath her – although she had started in  three opera films with Tito Gobbi.  (One had her billed in New York as: Lollo Brigida). “Sophia is a very pretty girl but she can’t threaten me because she is incapable of playing my roles.” Oh no? This switch really launched Sophia in her  22nd film.
  7. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday,  1953.     As  Pane,  Amore e Fantasia with  Vittorio  De  Sica  made her a world name, Gina shuffled seven local lawsuits. And a bunch of international  offers  – one as Gregory Peck’s partner.
  8. Denise Darcel, Vera Cruz, 1954.     Not even Burt Lancaster thought the role was big enough. He did not forget Lollo – and offered her something bigger and better. Trapeze, 1956.  Her 33rd film in ten years.
  9. Joan Collins, Land of the Pharaohs, 1954     Suddenly, it was Hollywood-on-the-Tiber… Even Howard Hawks caught tbe sword ‘n’ sandal bug (he was always short of money and, anyway, he fancied building a pyramid). Refusing any top stars, The Grey Fox considered Ursula Andress (at 17), his third and final wife, Dee Hartford, the tres Hawksian UK model Ivy Nicholson and La Lollo to be his treacherous Nellifer… The film was Hawks’ first major and The Grey Fox quit Hollywood and movies for four years. He came back in great style: Rio Bravo, 1958.
  10. Sophia Loren, Pane, amore et…/Scandal In Sorrento, Italy, 1955.    Being chased on her donkey in an Abruzzi hillside town by Vittorio De Sica’s policechief in two big comedy hits was enough. So the carabiniere went home to Sorrento in the third  and fell  into lust for Loren’s Caramela.  (The fourth, Bread, Love  and Andalusia, moved De Sica to Spain and Carmen Sevilla).
  11. Odile Versois, Checkpoint, 1956.  Gina and Elsa Martinelli were asked to play the Italian  Francesa – then given to French Versois.

  12. Sophia  Loren,  Boy On A Dolphin, 1956.    
    Cary Grant said no to  Gina Lollobrigida, yes to Sophia Loren.  On fourth day of shooting, hquit to fly home where his wife, Betsy Drake, was among the survivors of the SS Andrea Doria sinking off Nantucket on July 25, 1956. Director Jean Negulesco requested the Front Office to send him someone to “look right opposite the  Italian Venus – a  big, tall, strong, romantic box-office star.”  Head Fox Spyros Skouras sent him little Ladd.  “Negulesco fell in love with (Loren), so she got all the good close-ups – all you ever saw of me in most scenes was the back of my neck.  I got fed up of it.” Not as much as the mayor of Hydra, bemoaning his poor virgin island, unscathed in two world wars, was suddenly “criss-crossed by trenches so that your beautiful Sophia could walk at the same level as her lover.”
  13. Taina Elg, Les Girls, 1957.    Hollywood gossip said she turned down  the role  Kay Kendall inherited from Leslie Caron. Kendall insisted her role was always her’s and that  Elg replaced  Gina.
  14. Brigitte Bardot, La femme et la pantin (US: The Female; UK: A Woman Like Satan), France-Spain, 1958.    Lollobrigida was the least erotic of all the 50s’ sex bombs and by now looking better suited as BB’s maman.
  15. Silvano Mangano, Jovanka e l’atri/Five Branded Women, Italy-Yugoslavia-US, 1960.     Producer Dino De Laurentiis gave Jovanka to La Lollo, instead of to his wife Mangano. It is called, in any language, TCB: Taking care of business. Gina was the  more global star.  And soon gone, anyway, because (a) she refused to shave her head, (b) in protest about two blacklisted Hollywood scenarists, Michael Wilson and  Paul Jarrico or (c) because her great rival, Mangano, would  also be cast – so who’d  get the  better cose-ups?  Finally, La Lollo said she e would only work if her role remained the title – Jovanka. .  It was stupid arguing with the producer Dino De Laurtentiis.  He simply sent wife to the hairdresser. The film’s Hollywood  director Martin Rittt never wanted her, anyway. Far too grand for his WWII realism.
  16. Yvonne Furneaux, La Dolce Vita, Italy, 1960.     Ten years later at a dinner party, Italian maestro Federico Fellini asked her: “Why didn’t you make La Dolce Vita with me?”  “I never heard you wanted me!”  She investigated and discovered: “My ex-husband  refused it for me! And I never knew until now!” A  future Hollywood trifle  for Lollo, Come September, featured  a hotel called La Dolce Vista!
  17. Annie Girardot, Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco And His Brothers, Italy-France, 1960.     No to Fellini, now no to another maestro  Luchino Visconti. Because of her latest Hollywood mess: Go Naked In The World (which she never did).
  18. Silvia Pinal, Viridiana, Spain, 1961.     Hubby strikes again… As if snubbing Fellini and Visconti on her behalf was not bad enough, hubby  now rejected the great Spanish film-maker Luis Buñuel!
  19. Joan Collins, The Road To Hong Kong, 1962.     Used to getting current pin-ups on his Christmas US forces’ tours, Bob Hope had less luck in winning Brigitte Bardot, Gina  or Sophia  Loren – for his final road movie with Bing Crosby. Lollo made up for it with a guest cameo in his weak Private Navy of Sgt  O’Farrell, 1967.
  20. Jeanne Valerie, The Loves of Salambro, France-Italy, 1963.     Gina was the idea of Hollywood producer Charles Brackett  – opposite Harry Belafonte and Spartacus vets Charles Laughton, Laurence Olivier,  Peter Ustinov!

  21. Ursula Andress, 4 For Texas, 1963.    Co-stars Andress and Anita Ekerg allegedly  made Hollywood’s first nude screentests but obviously  Gina (and  her suggested partner, Sophia Loren)  would never  agree to that – not even for compagni  like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Because they knew it was, basically, a load of old rubbish.  Director Robert Aldrich rewrote the script. “But whatever anyone did to it, it would still be a disaster.”  
  22. Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra, 1963.
  23. Rosanno Schiaffino, The Long Ships, 1964.     She wuz right: No role for her! Director Jack Cardiff really wanted Ursula Andress… a favourite model of La Lollo, the photographer,  in the 80s.
  24. Kim Novak, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, 1964. Bondsmith Terence Young suggested Defoe’s classic when  his  007, Sean Connery,  wanted a project with his then-wife.  But Diane Cilento was delayed on The Agony and The Ecstasy in Rome. Young  switched to his original 007 suggestion, Richard Johnson –  who promptly wed his Moll, Kim Novak.  Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida has also been in the Moll mix.
  25. Jeanne Moreau, Mata Hari, agent H21, France, 1964,     Another Delannoy plan for La Lollo that went astray – the life of Margaretha Geertruida “Grietje” Zelle (1876-1917), aka Mata Hari, the DutchFrisian exotic dancer, courtesan and WWI double-agent, executed by the French for espionage. Moreau was directed by ex-husband Jean-Louis Richard from his and FrançoisTruffaut’s scenario.
  26. Ingrid Thulin, Return From The Ashes, 1964.    La Lollo as a shrink who survived the concentration camps… the mind boggles! Hers, too. Or her agent’s. Quite suddenly, she got a bee in her bonnet. Not about usual concerns – script, salary, costumes – but perks! She, or her MCA agent George Chasin, demanded various fringe benefits. Or she’d walk. Producer Walter Mirisch refused, positive that she wouldn’t walk away from her hefty salary. “Consequently, we took a hard stand… We held our ground and she held hers.” (Probably an MCA ruse to free her to join either Sean Connery in Woman of Straw or Rock Hudson in Strange Bedfellows).
  27. Sophia Loren, Lady L, 1965.     “I turned up on the set the first day and I was the only one there,” recalled director George Cukor. “At first, she was charming. Then, I don’t know what happened, she began piffling around – and her time limit for staying in America expired. In the old days, [MGM boss] LB Mayer would’ve called her to his office: Report for work in the morning, babe, or you’re out!” She fretted about having to look 80 by the end. Or, as Sophia always said, “She’s good as a peasant, incapable of playing a lady.” Miaou!
  28. Melina Mercouri, Les pianos mécaniques (US: The Uninhibited), France-Spain, 1965.     “La Dolce Vita without the filthy language,” she said of Juan Antonio Bardem’s 60s script. “There are laughs in wrong places,” admitted its star James Mason.
  29. Ingrid Thulin, Return From The Ashes, 1965. Always fast on the Litigation Button, she sued United Artists for $1million for breach of contract.
  30. Kim Novak, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, 1965.     Director Terence Young went through all plausibilities… From the Connerys (Diane Cilento) to Sophia Loren opposite Warren Beatty. Plus Lollo and Richard Harris.

  31. Catherine Deneuve, Belle de Jour, France-Italy, 1967. Four years before the Luis Bunuel classic, veteran realisateur Jean Delannoy tried to film Joseph Kessel’s book with Severine played by Gina – Delannoy’s Esmeralda in Notre Dame de Paris, 1956. Instead, they biopicked Napoleon’s sister, Venere imperiale/ Imperial Venus.
  32. Barbara Murrray, The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb, TV, 1980.  There was no such curse upon the archeologists unearthing, basically robbing, the grave of Egypt’s Child King Tutankhamen in 1922. There probably wasn’t any   papyrus thief called  Giovanna Antoniella, either.
  33. Luisa Kuliok, Más allá del horizonte/Beyond The Horizon, TV, Argentina-Italy, 1994.     Thinking big, Argentina’s Canal 9 Libertad asked her to play Asunción Olazábal in the soap. Gina preferred any TV projects to be closer to home.









 Birth year: 1927Death year: 2023Other name: Casting Calls:  33