At 95, Gina Lollobrigida, icon from Hollywood's Golden Age, to run for Senate in Italy

·2 min read
An older woman in a blue dress spreads her arms widely while standing outdoors near a statue
Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida is seen in July at her 95th birthday party in Rome. (Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images)

Pane, amore e fantasia ... e il Senato?

Cinema icon Gina Lollobrigida will compete for a Senate seat in Italy's elections next month.

The 95-year-old actor is running as part of the Sovereign and Populist Italy (ISP) party. The political faction was founded in July and described by Marco Rizzo, one of the party's leaders, as "the only alternative against the liberal, warmongering and sanitary totalitarianism."

"I was just tired of hearing politicians arguing with each other without ever getting to the point," Lollobrigida told Italian outlet Corriere della Sera 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."

She went on to cite Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration, especially for his "way of doing things, for his nonviolence." And later noted she was a "good friend" of Indira Gandhi, India's first female prime minister. "I saw her every time she came to Rome. She was an extraordinary woman."

The ISP wants Italy to exit both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union and opposes the policies of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, particularly those related to the sending of arms to Ukraine and mandatory COVID vaccinations.

Draghi resigned in July after his ruling coalition fell apart, but is staying on in a caetaker capacity. The special election will be held in September.

Lollobrigida's Senate campaign is not the "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" actor's first attempt to break into politics. In 1999, she ran for a European Parliament seat with Italy's Democrats, a centrist and socially liberal political faction. She didn't win the seat.

Lollobrigida first gained public exposure in 1947 after placing third in the Miss Italia beauty pageant. Her breakout acting role was in 1953's "Pane, Amore e Fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams)," for which she received a BAFTA nomination. That same year she starred alongside Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones in John Huston's "Beat the Devil."

She was in the 1956 films "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," co-starring Anthony Quinn, and "Trapeze," with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. Then she won the Henrietta Award at the Golden Globes for her role in 1961's "Come September." She has almost 70 film and TV credits to her name.

Lollobrigida was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018.

"It's an honor that I didn't expect, I was moved," she said at the 2018 ceremony. "The first time that I came to Hollywood, I was treated like a queen.... It's very good to succeed and to be loved by so many people all over the world."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.