Gina Lollobrigida, one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, may be retired from acting but she's ready to put on some political theater.
The 95-year-old Italian actress has announced her plans to run for the Senate in Italy's elections next month. Lollobrigida will be running as part of the Sovereign and Popular Italy (ISP) party, which was just founded in July following the basic collapse of their government.
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"I was just tired of hearing politicians arguing with each other without ever getting to the point," Lollobrigida told Corriere della Sera (via the L.A. Times) on Sunday. "I will fight for the people to decide, from health to justice. Italy is in bad shape, I want to do something good and positive."
Lollobrigida cited Mahatma Gandhi — and his "way of doing things, for his nonviolence" — and her "good friend" Indira Ghandi as inspirations. This, however, is not the Trapeze star's first foray into politics. In 1999, she launched an unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the European Parliament representing her hometown Subiaco with Italy's center-left Democrats party.
Born in 1927, Lollobrigida began modeling and joined the beauty pageant circuit as a teenager, eventually placing third in the Miss Italia pageant in 1947. This and several Italian film roles led to the attentions of notorious womanizer, professional eccentric millionaire, and noted Aviator Howard Hughes. He tried to sign her to a seven-year contract, but their dispute over its terms kept Lollobrigida out of American films for nearly a decade.
She finally made her Hollywood debut in John Huston's 1954 adventure comedy Beat the Devil, which Huston co-wrote with Truman Capote. For the rest of the '50s and into the '60s Lollobrigida divided her time between American, Italian, and French cinema, appearing in films like 1955's The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, 1956's Trapeze with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis and The Hunchback of Notre Dame opposite Anthony Quinn, 1961's Come September with Rock Hudson, and 1966's Hotel Paradiso alongside Alec Guinness.
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In 1968 she starred in, and received a Golden Globe nomination for, Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, about an Italian woman who sleeps with three GIs over the course of 10 days during World War II and convinces all three they fathered a child with her. When the three men arrive looking to meet their daughter, comedic shenanigans ensue. Throw some ABBA tunes in there and you're having the time of your life with Mamma Mia.
Lollobrigida's career began to wane in the '70s, though she did some TV work in the '80s, including a stint on the popular primetime soap Falcon Crest, and of course, a guest starring spot on The Love Boat.
But while her acting career lagged, Lollobrigida took up another career entirely: photojournalist. She published a book of her photographs, Italia Mia, including subjects like Paul Newman and Salvador Dalí, in 1973. Then in 1975, she wrote, directed, and produced Rittrato di Fidel, a documentary featuring an exclusive interview she did with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
As a woman who had a sit-down with one of the world's most reclusive leaders, Gina Lollobrigida can sure as hell run for Senate at 95 years young. And mamma mia help whomever stands in her way.
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