For two decades she was one of the most beautiful and sexually-charged women in the world.
Although her acting talents were often overshadowed by her voluptuous figure, Italian-born Gina Lollobrigida became a major Hollywood star, starring alongside Tony Curtis, Humphrey Bogart, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn and Rock Hudson, among others.
Now 90- years old, she is still sharp, quick-witted and funny. We met in Los Angeles where she had her star installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, something many people believed should have happened decades before.
|Gina in her heyday|
She had just been to visit Marilyn Monroe's grave, something she does every time she is in Los Angeles. "We were friends together but she was a very weak person," she says. "She just wanted a man who loved her. She didn't want anything more than that."
Divorced since 1971, La Lolla as she was dubbed, reminisced about her co-stars, her life in Hollywood and the men who wanted her.
Rock Hudson, she says, was "the most gorgeous guy" she worked with. Howard Hughes was the most persistent. "He wanted me so badly," she laughed. "For 12 years. When a man wants a woman for 12 years, must be serious.. Crazy but serious."
Frank Sinatra, who co-starred with her in Never So Few was "really touchy with zero sense of humour," she said, while Bogart was "playful and fun" on the set of Beat the Devil.
When her film career ground to a virtual halt in the 1970s she became a successful photojournalist and documentary film maker was well as being a talented sculptor with exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world.
Like many other actresses now coming forward to speak out, the former screen siren says she was sexually molested twice during her career, the first time when she was 19 and still going to school. "The second time, well, I'd rather not talk about it," she says. "I was married and I was starting out in films. I should have complained but I didn't have the courage."
As for being 90: "30 plus 30 plus 30...getting older for a woman is a handicap but the tough experiences I've had have given me the courage to face the difficulties."