Junoesque Swedish leading lady Anita Ekberg got her start in the U.S., where she was elected "Miss Sweden" in the Miss Universe pageant. Along with other Miss Universe contestants, Ekberg played an Amazonian extraterrestrial in 1953's Abbott and Costello Go to Mars. She also displayed her obvious attributes in such Technicolor shows as Artists and Models (1956) and Hollywood or Bust (1957), and proved an apt foil for the leering one-liners of Bob "Cherchez la Femme" Hope in Paris Holiday (1957) and Call Me Bwana (1963). Though never taken completely seriously as an actress, Ekberg was given better opportunities to emote in the Italian films of Federico Fellini, notably as the principal "wish dream" in La Dolce Vita (1961). Anita Ekberg would repeat her La Dolce Vita role in Fellini's 1986 filmic autobiography Intervista. Ekberg retired from acting in 2002; she died in 2015 at age 83.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Was the sixth of eight children.
- Won the Miss Malmö beauty contest and went on to become Miss Sweden in 1950; competed in the Miss Universe pageant the same year.
- Worked as a fashion model.
- Made her film debut in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953).
- Went on a USO tour with Bob Hope in 1954.
- Retired from acting in 2002.