11 January 2015 Last updated at 12:57 GMT
La Dolce Vita star Anita Ekberg dies
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 Frederico 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.
The Vatican condemned it, but the famously sharp-tongued actress was unrepentant.
“I’m very proud of my breasts, as every woman should be,” she once said.
“It’s not cellular obesity, it’s womanliness.”
The fountain scene was shot on a chilly March morning in central Rome.
“I was freezing,” said Ekberg. “They had to lift me out of the water because I couldn’t feel my legs anymore.”
Her co-star, Marcello Mastroianni, found the scene even more difficult, despite the luxury of a wetsuit under his clothes. He needed his acting resolve stiffened by an entire bottle of vodka, Fellini claimed. More than once, he fell over drunk in the freezing water.
“I have seen that scene a few times. Maybe too many times,” Ekberg told Swedish radio in 2005.
“I can’t stand watching it anymore, but it was beautiful at the time.”
Considering that La Dolce Vita gave rise to the term paparazzo, it was ironic that the movie resulted in Ekberg being hounded by the press herself. …
Her lawyer Patrizia Ubaldi said that, in her last days. Ekberg was saddened by her illnesses and her advancing age.
“She had hoped to get better, something that didn’t happen,” she said.
But in an earlier interview, Ekberg had said she was not afraid of death.
“I don’t know if paradise or hell exist,” she told Sweden’s Aftonbladet, “but I’m sure hell is more groovy.”