Gina Lollobrigida, once described as ‘most beautiful,’ talks about her Hollywood leading men | Inquirer Entertainment
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Gina Lollobrigida, once described as ‘most beautiful,’ talks about her Hollywood leading men

By: - Columnist
/ 12:15 AM February 18, 2018

Gina Lollobrigida —photo by Ruben V. Nepales

LOS ANGELES—She was described as “the most beautiful woman in the world” in the ’50s and ’60s. From Italian cinema, Gina Lollobrigida arrived in Hollywood, flown in by Howard Hughes himself.

The international sex symbol captured the hearts of men everywhere, including famous ones—from Hughes himself to King Rainier III. She appeared in movies opposite iconic names in Hollywood—from Errol Flynn and Rock Hudson to Frank Sinatra and Yul Brynner.


“La Lollo,” as the stunner is known in Italy, reinvented herself in later years as a photojournalist, sculptor and sketch artist. She came to the Philippines in the ’70s as a guest of then First Lady Imelda Marcos.


Gina’s colorful life is marked by controversies. With an estimated fortune of $50 million and luxurious properties to her name, the brunette is involved in legal tugs-of-war. There was the 2010 “wedding” to Spaniard Javier Rigau y Rafols, who used a “stand-in” for Gina.

These days, the 90-year-old La Lollo, known for her fondness for young men, has Andrea Piazzolla—who’s often described as her “boy toy”—for an “assistant.”

Milko Skofic Jr., her son with ex-husband Milko Skofic, has requested a court in Italy to assign an administrator to oversee his mom’s business decisions.

The legendary beauty recently flew to Los Angeles when she finally got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Gina, still wearing the long blue dress with gold print accents, a gold belt buckle and black boots from the ceremony, proceeded to our interview.

Excerpts from our talk:

How did it feel to get your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? I was moved because I didn’t expect to get it after so many years. My God, the love is still on. It’s unbelievable. I was so moved that I felt I was drunk. Because I went away [to pursue the] other loves that I had—photography, then sculpture—it was my dream.


Unfortunately, sculpture doesn’t have the magic that cinema has. To be known as a sculptor, I need 300 years (laughs). Cinema was one part of my life, but I’m glad I did it (sculpture). I don’t go with what’s fashionable. I do what I like.

What was your experience like working in Hollywood in the 1960s? I had a special love for America. I was surprised because it was just at the beginning of my career. But when I came, they treated me like I was the Queen of Sheba (laughs).

What are your memories of Howard Hughes? He was the most persistent man in my life. He wanted me so badly (laughs) [that] he sent lawyers, even to Algeria, where I was doing a movie. When a man wants a woman for 12 years, it must be serious (laughs).

Who was the handsomest actor in your opinion? Rock Hudson. He was a fantastic actor. I did two movies with him.

When did you know you were famous? In one of my first trips; [it] was to Argentina. Juan Peron invited me, so I went (laughs). There were about 60,000 people on the street. In the airport, they hid me because the people were almost destroying the airplane.

What are your memories of Peron and Evita? Evita was dead (by then). The people in Argentina were crazy about me. If I stayed for two more days, I would’ve become the second Evita (laughs).

How was Peron? He was nice, gentle. We made photographs in the garden with all the students. We went to another city to open a casino. We rode on a private train. When we arrived, there were too many people. So, the train had to go back more than one kilometer [so I could go down].

But what happened was, because of the politics, after I left, I received some photographs that were retouched. So, suddenly I was naked (laughs). They wanted to say that Peron was dirty. The Italian ambassador said, forget it. It was just a dirty joke.

You visit Marilyn Monroe’s grave every time you’re in LA. What does she represent to you? We were friends. But she was a weak person. She just wanted a man who would love her. But when a person is so popular, it’s a “disgrazia” (unfortunate). Being popular is nice, but it isn’t easy.

Over the years, we often read that you and Sophia Loren were rivals. Was that feud concocted by your press agents, which was common back then? Sophia liked the story about our rivalry. She had an agent [who wrote] about that for 50 years. I was bored (laughs). When you read her biography, you go, oh, it’s the press. But it was her.

I never had a press agent. I couldn’t think of silly things like that. All the press in Italy know that I may be difficult, but I’m sincere. I’m an open book.

I don’t like tricks. I tried singing, photography, movies, sculpture and, lately, drawing. I have about 40 portraits of people I’ve met in my life. I hope I can have an exhibition, perhaps in New York.

What was your inspiration for those various artistic interests? I was [working with] good artists. For instance, they wanted to make a portrait of a beautiful woman, and they asked me to pose in Milan. There were about 35 artists. I accepted. You know what I was doing? Watching what they were doing, because I was trying to rob their secrets.

Also, I was observing what important sculptors were doing. For instance, (Giacomo) Manzu was very close to me. His last sculpture was of me. He gave it to me as a present.

He saw my first sculpture. He said, “Go on, you’re talented enough to continue,” so I did. I started this in ’57.

While I was doing films, I went around the world and photographed people from all over. I had a fantastic experience—not to have photographers photographing me—but me photographing people, from heads of state to people on the streets.

What about love, what part did it play in your life? “E importante.” “Non lo mai avuto.” (I never had it.) I never had an important relationship—only friendships. Unfortunately, with love—when you’re famous—the men can be jealous. It’s not easy.

But you have a son (Milko Skofic Jr. alleged that Gina is being manipulated by her young male adviser). He’s a disappointment. They should do a brainwashing on him. He doesn’t understand anything anymore. He just follows bad advice. This is my curse—not everything can go well, unfortunately. He was a good boy. Now, he’s no longer himself.

Do you follow politics? What do you think about what’s happening in Italy? Mamma mia! It’s unbelievable. I say this in general, not just about Italians. It’s terrible what’s going on today—this grab for power. They prefer to destroy the world just to have power. It’s crazy.

I was sick last winter. I was almost gone, but my good friend Andrea (Piazzolla) saved my life twice.

If a young person asks you, “What’s the most important thing in life,” what would you say? Life is a “regalo di Dio” (gift from God). You must love life. I was always a positive person. If you’re positive in life, you’ll do good things. If you’re negative, you’ll do bad things.

Unfortunately, we live in a difficult world. Especially the politicians, they should be careful what they do. [But] I should stop there (laughs).

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TAGS: Gina Lollobrigida, Hollywood, Howard Hughes

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