Anita Ekberg, the 83 year-old Swedish actor who died in Rocca di Papa near Rome, on Sunday, was best known for her arrestingly sensual scene in La Dolce Vita. Wading into the tourist hotspot of Rome's Trevi Fountain in a strapless black dress, she almost froze to death in the icy cold waters of February when the film, directed by Federico Fellini, was shot.
On top of this, her co-star, the dashing and debonair Marcello Mastroianni, was drunk on vodka, which helped him to keep warm. But he was stumbling, necessitating repeated takes. Finally, "they had to literally lift me out of the water, because I could not feel my legs", Ekberg had once said.
Ekberg married twice -- first to actor Anthony Steel from 1956 to 1959 and then to actor Rik Van Nutter from 1963 to 1975. She had no children.
Apart from her most celebrated appearance in La Dolce Vita, Ekberg was also known for her roles in War and Peace with Audrey Hepburn, Artists and Models with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin and Paris Holiday with Bob Hope. She tried, but lost out on the part of Honey Ryder in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No.
A former Miss Sweden, Ekberg clinched a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer for one of her first Hollywood forays, the 1955 thriller Blood Alley with John Wayne and Lauren Bacall.
Ekberg was born in Malmo, Sweden, on September 29 1931, the sixth of eight children. In 1951, she was crowned Miss Sweden, and went to the US to vie for the Miss Universe title. She did not win this, but instead got a contract with Universal. She landed small parts there and also appeared in Bob Hope's television serials - where her curves were "fodder for jokes".
Over five decades, she made over 50 films. By the late 1970s, her career was just about over. Her most recent role was portraying Ingrid in the Italian television series, 'Il Bello Delle Donne' produced by Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset.
In contrast to her early and middle life, Ekberg's last years were one of suffering. She broke her hip when her pet dog knocked her down. And when she was in hospital, her house was robbed and also damaged in a fire, and according to the Italian media, she died lonely and penniless.
It was a sad end to one of the best known pinup girls (along with Marilyn Monroe) whose seductive magnetism drew men like nothing else. And she partied and partied as if there was no tomorrow.