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Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was a Swedish actress, model, and sex symbol. She is best known for her role as Sylvia in the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita (1960), which features a scene of her cavorting in Rome’s Trevi Fountain alongside Marcello Mastroianni.

a12021_anita_02Early life

Ekberg was born on 29 September 1931, in Malmö, Skåne, the eldest girl and the sixth of eight children. In her teens, she worked as a fashion model. In 1950, Ekberg entered the Miss Malmö competition at her mother’s urging, leading to the Miss Sweden contest which she won. She consequently went to the United States to compete for the Miss Universe 1951 title (an unofficial pageant at that time, the pageant became official in 1952) despite speaking little English.

Early career

Though she did not win Miss Universe, as one of six finalists she did earn a starlet‘s contract with Universal Studios, as was the rule at the time. In America, Ekberg met Howard Hughes, who at the time was producing films and wanted a12021_anita_03her to change her nose, teeth and name (Hughes said “Ekberg” was too difficult to pronounce). She refused to change her name, saying that if she became famous people would learn to pronounce it, and if she did not become famous it would not matter.

As a starlet at Universal, Ekberg received lessons in drama, elocution, dancing, horseriding and fencing. She appeared briefly in the 1953 Universal films, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars and The Golden Blade. Ekberg skipped many of her drama lessons, restricting herself to horseriding in the Hollywood Hills. Ekberg later admitted she was spoiled by the studio system and played instead of pursuing bigger film roles.

Mainstream career

The combination of a colourful private life and physique gave her appeal to gossip magazines such as Confidential and to the new type of men’s magazine that proliferated in the 1950s. She soon became a major 1950s pin-up. In addition, Ekberg participated in publicity stunts. Famously, she admitted that an incident where her dress burst open in the lobby of London’s Berkeley Hotel a12021_anita_01was prearranged with a photographer.

By the mid-1950s, after several modelling jobs, Ekberg finally broke into the film industry. She guest-starred in the short-lived TV series Casablanca (1955) and Private Secretary. She had a small part in the film Blood Alley (1955) starring John Wayne and Lauren Bacall. She appeared alongside the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy act in Artists and Models (1955) andHollywood or Bust (1956) both for Paramount Pictures. For a while she was publicized as “Paramount’s Marilyn Monroe.”

Paramount cast her in War and Peace (1956) which was shot in Rome, alongside Mel Ferrer and Audrey Hepburn. Meanwhile, RKO gave the actress her first leading role in Back from Eternity (also 1956). Ekberg featured in five films released during 1956, the last two being Man in the Vault and Zarak. These other a12021_anita_04productions were minor and had a limited impact on her career. In 1957, she starred in the British drama Interpol with Victor Mature and Valerie also in 1957 with Sterling Hayden.

In 1958, she appeared in two high-profile films, where she co-starred with Bob Hope in Paris Holiday and starred with Philip Carey and Gypsy Rose Lee in Screaming Mimi. A European film, Sheba and the Gladiator (1959), followed.

Federico Fellini gave Ekberg her greatest role in La Dolce Vita (1960), in which she played the unattainable “dream woman” of the character played by Marcello Mastroianni. The film has been released in English, French, German and Italian. After this, she accepted a fairly good role in The Dam of the Yellow River in 1960.

She then appeared in Boccaccio ’70 (1962), a film that also featured Sophia Loren and Romy Schneider. Soon thereafter, Ekberg was being considered to play the first Bond girl, Honey Ryder in Dr. No, but the role went to an unknown Ursula Andress. In 1963, Ekberg would go on to costar with Andress, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin in the western-comedy 4 for Texas. Fellini would call her back for two more films: I clowns (1972), and Intervista (1987), where she played herself in a reunion scene with Mastroianni.

a12021_anita_05Personal life

Both Ekberg’s marriages were to actors. She was married to Anthony Steel from 1956 to 1959 and to Rik Van Nutter from 1963 until their divorce in 1975. In one interview, she said she wished she had a child, but stated the opposite on another occasion.

Ekberg was often outspoken in interviews, naming famous people she couldn’t bear. And she was frequently quoted as saying that it was Fellini who owed his success to her, not the other way around. “They would like to keep up the story that Fellini made me famous, Fellini discovered me,” she said in a 1999 interview with The New York Times.

Ekberg did not live in Sweden after the early 1950s and rarely visited the country. However, she welcomed Swedish journalists into her house outside a12021_anita_06Rome and in 2005 appeared in the popular radio program Sommar, where she talked about her life. She stated in an interview that she would not move back to Sweden before her death since she would be buried there.

On 19 July 2009, she was admitted to the San Giovanni Hospital in Rome after falling ill in her home in Genzano according to a medical official in its neurosurgery department. She had been living in Italy for many years. Despite her condition not being serious, Ekberg was put under observation in the facility.

In December 2011, it was reported that the 80-year-old Ekberg was “destitute” following three months in a hospital with a broken thigh in Rimini, during which her home was robbed and badly damaged in a fire. Ekberg applied for help from the Fellini Foundation, itself in difficult financial straits.

Text from Wikipedia

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…. for another picture gallery featuring one of my all time
favourite fifties bombshells, Anita Ekberg

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When young Ted was a small boy Scandinavian magazines was crammed with images of Anita, Norwegian too, even though she was Swedish (I guess the Norwegian magazine editors felt she was a little ours too.)

These images along with those of Sophia Loren and others awakened young Teds interest in women and formed a taste in shape and form that has lasted to this day. Ted still like his women with a little meat on the bones 😉

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Anyone who have been following my blog for a while must have noticed that I have a thing for Anita Ekberg and since it is my blog I felt like posting a little Ekberg gallery to day – Ted

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Anita Ekberg, nude, photo taken by Andre De Dienes in 1955

Image found at LostFoundAndEnvied

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Anita Ekberg
Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg (born 29 September 1931 in Malmö, Skåne) is a Swedish model, actress and cult sex symbol. She is best known for her role as Sylvia in the 1960 Federico Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, which features the legendary scene of her cavorting in Trevi Fountain alongside Marcello Mastroianni.

To the Anita Ekberg gallery:

Anita-Ekberg-Gallery-

 

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Diana Dors
Diana Dors (23 October 1931 – 4 May 1984) was an English actress. She was born Diana Mary Fluck in Swindon, Wiltshire, and was educated at Colville House in Swindon. She was considered the English equivalent of the blonde bombshells of Hollywood.

To the Diana Dors gallery:
Diana-Dors-gallery

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Article from LIFE magazine  January 16, 1956
High-powered beauty and publicity
land Anita Ekberg in “War and Peace”

LIFE 16 jan 1956 3

Under the eyes of an Italian movie production crew, Swedish Anita Ekberg as princess Helena in “War and Peace” lies in her wedding bed.

Of all the monumental things about the production of War and Peace just finished in Rome, not the least is Anita Ekberg . Miss Ekberg, who is 5 foot 7, has a 39 1/2 bust, 23 waist and 36 hips, plays the role of Tolstoy’s Princess Helene, and for her it is the first big break so far in a film career that started promisingly four years ago and got almost nowhere.

Coming to the U.S. as the "Beautiful Maid of Malmo" (LIFE, Oct. 8, 1951), 20 year.old "Miss Sweden," a professional model and guest at the contest, stole the Miss America show at Atlantic City. But on a subsequent trip to Hollywood she rated only bit parts in three films, studio stills and gossip. An intensive promotion drive by a producer and a lucky break when the actress originally slated for the part took sick got her the Princess Helene role. For lending her out her producer got a fee of $20,000 from the Italian makers of “War and Peace”, he will get a reported $40,000 fee for her next film and $75,000 for a third .

 

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This cover of LIFE magazine from January 16 1956 was just to much for the moral majority so two of their faithful members took pen in hand and gave the editors a piece of their mind.


Cover

Sirs:
The cover picture of Anita Ekberg (Life Jan. 16) is most offensive and in poor taste for a family magazine. It can’t be excused as art.

Mollie D Levine

Malverne, N.Y.


Cover

Sirs:

The cover of your magazine on the Jan. 16 issue is a source of embarrassment in a home which is sincerely grateful for the otherwise high calibre of journalism Life stand for.

Mary Taylor

Rochester N.Y.


I for one am glad that our high moral standard and decency have such ready and able protectors that are not afraid to voice the thoughts and feelings we all harbour. Such filth should not be allowed into our homes. Shame on you Sirs – Ted

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Short article about Anita Ekbergs first Movie "Zarak Kahn"from the Norwegian Lady’s Magazine
"Norsk Dameblad" February 16, 1957.

01910_anita_01One has been bombarded with an almost sinful flood of images and read miles upon miles of articles about Anita Ekberg, but whether she is any good up there on the silver screen has until now been impossible to decide. A large, curious cinema audience will now get the chance to have their curiosity satisfied. The first major movie featuring Ekberg is now being released.
The movie is an English one called "Zarak Kahn" and "Sweden’s most highly desired 01910_anita_02export article" alias Mrs. Steel is playing the leading female part. Leading male part is played by none other than Victor Mature – the man who recently made the world press buzz with rumours of the faulting quality of the Steel/Ekberg marriage. The other major part is played by Michael Wilding, another well known actor and the movie is directed by Terence Young.

"Norsk Dameblad" were among the decent and upright publications of the fifties with no time to spare for so called sex bombs and the likes. This article carries the distinct trademark of such a narrow minded standpoint. To their defence might be said that their views upon Anita Ekberg changed drastically when she became a celebrated actress. If you suffer fools gladly that is, I don’t.

In this article the movie is called "Zarak Kahn", when it was released it was shortened to just "Zarak" in order not to offend Aga Kahn and his family. The movie came in two versions, the original rather audacious for the European marked, and a more decent one for the American to prevent getting in trouble with their ever so zealous censorship  – Ted’s comments

Anita dancing in "Zarak Kahn".

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Article from the Swedish movie and news magazine "Bild Journalen" – 7 March 1956.
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Is the last word written about Anita and men. Did she meet the love of her life when Anthony Steel entered her life. Maybe is the answer given by this article.

It is not only Anita Ekberg’s rocket career in the movie world that seems to be a mystery to the world press, her ability to gather round her the cream of Hollywood movie heroes does as well.


Hollywood is asking itself:

1) What was it about Anita that made Tyrone Power call home to Linda Christian and tell her he had to go to a meeting.

2) What did Anita have that made Frank Sinatra, a veteran in the love game, to pull himself out of the Ava Gardner depression that had ridden him for months.

3) What was it about Anita that made the old faithful Gary Copper climb off his horse and put the old six shooter on the shelf.

4) What did Anita have that made Mario Lanza sing her sweet serenades from below her balcony.

5) What was it about Anita that made Michael Wilding flirt so shamelessly with her during the making of Zarak Kahn that his wife Elizabeth Taylor turn right sour.


Hollywood is asking, but are they finding any answers. The movie magazines are turning out one theory after another and they cant agree on more than two points. Anita Ekberg’s sex appeal must be very powerful and she must have a great personality. Another thing they all are wondering about is why Anita hasn’t chosen to keep one of the many men that has offered their hearts to her.

But what does the famous Anita has to say herself. I’m longing for the day I find real true love, that is much more important than my career, she told the press lately.


And what has she got to say about the men herself.

wagner

 

Bob Wagner:
Bob, well he’s just a boy, a nice and sweet boy. But what happened between us was never serious.

sinatra

 

Frank Sinatra:
For once there was a grain of truth in all of the things the papers wrote. Frankie comforted me after all the bad things the press wrote about me after Tyrone Power’s marriage broke up. He can be the most considerate and friendly gentleman. He is not at all the Don Juan the press and he him self seems to think.

lanza

 

Mario Lanza:
Well, that was as innocent as it could have been claims Anita. But the rotund Singer who had had trouble with all kind of contracts because he sang only when he felt like it, did find the inspiration to sing under her balcony.

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Cary Cooper:
We ran into each other in the studio, literately, Anita says. After we had exchanged excuses we had dinner, but that is all.

wiilding

 

Michael Wilding:
All we did was sit in a tent and talk, Anita tells us. His wife had no reason to get so mad at him.

steel

 

Anthony Steel:
This is love says a happy Anita. And it was, at least for a while.

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Article about the filming of "La Dolce Vita "from the Norwegian news magazine "Nå" – July 4, 1959.

It happened in Rome, last summer. Anthony Steel, Anita Ekberg’s current husband slapped her face twice outside their hotel.

Now this is a major scene in a new Italian film the world famous director Fredrico Fellini is filming. Anita’s notorious bath in the Fontana di Trevi is in the movie as well. As is Anita her self, she has one of the leading parts, playing herself.

When the contracts were due to be signed Anita almost had second thoughts. Not only would the part demand more than a little self irony, it would not necessarily make her all that popular in certain circles when the movie hit the silver screen.

Line by line, scene by scene the movie is build around a gallery of internationally well known people, viewed closer than any self promoting society magazine’s photographer could have managed. Centre stage is held by an ambitious but no good gossip journalist who is trying to find the meaning of life but fails as his laziness only leads him to simple solutions.

01861_anita_01

Fellini claims that it is not one movie he’s making, but ten woven into each other to make a whole. It has become the story of a city without passion, living only on hope. Had I not been obsessed with making an elegant, almost humorous film it would have turned out a tragedy full of unhappy people.

The movie have become a topic in Rome even before it is finished. People gather to see the filming, most of it done by night. The fountain scene shot in the middle of the city, was viewed by a lot of famous people, some of them recognising them self among the parts acted out on the set.

Anita Ekberg is not the only one portrayed in the movie. May be Ava Gardner and Shelley Winters among others would have liked to get the same opportunity.

Fellini explaining
Anita how he wants
the bathing scene the
pan out. As if she
didn’t  all ready know
.


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This was barely a
year after she shocked Rome by throwing
herself into the
fountain for real.


And now she’s being helped by Fellini’s assistants in order to repeat her frolics in
front of the camera.


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01861_anita_05
Stansing in the cold
water Anita turns to Fellini and her face
seems to say:"Do I
have to do this" and
he insists gently.


And then she entered
the fountain, just
the way Fellini
wanted her to.


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01861_anita_07
As soon as she was
on dry land again, helping hands appeared.

Anita had a
cigarette –
and then
something
happened.


01861_anita_08
01861_anita_09
Anita runs and
throw herself into the fountain again.
Picking up a coin
from the bottom, she throws it to Fellini, saying: " Here, this
one is for you, Mr Director."

Every one was applauding as Anita climbed out of the fountain a second
time that night.


01861_anita_10

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Article from the Swedish movie and news magazine "Bild Journalen" – September 12th, 1956.
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Anita is again a sensation among the crowd that turns night into day along Via Veneto. Anita is having a wonderful time in Rome, the city in which her world fame was born. With Antony Steel somewhere else and Victor Mature as her company she shining more than ever. But she is working hard on her career too, filming "Interpol" has just started and Anita plays a leading part.

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ANITA6Anita Ekberg has participated in 66 films and television movies or series over a period of 50 years. In most of these she has done the leading part or played a strong supporting role. She has worked with many of the greatest directors of our time and played against many of the greatest actors. Not bad for a girl from Malmö in Sweden who was regarded as nothing but a flirt and a sexbomb when she first arrived in Hollywood in the early fifties.
 
Many of these movies are what the Americans call foreign, a word they often pronounce as though it was a particular ugly rash they had caught or a spoiled ingredient in what could have been a perfect dinner. But the fact is that good movies, great movies are being made all over the world, not only in Hollywood. Anita has played in a lot of them.

 

Year Film / TV series title Director Anita’s part
2002 Bello delle donna II Maurizio Ponzi Ingrid
1998 The Red Dwarf Yvan Le Moine Paola Bendoni
1998 Bámbola J.J. Bigas Luna Mamma Greta
1992 Ambrogio Wilma Labate Clairice
1992 Cattive Ragazze Marina Ripa di Meana
1991 Count Max II Christian De Sica Marika
1987 The Seduction of Angela Andrew White Signora Rocchi
1988 Quando ancora non c’erano i Beatles Marcello Aliprandi La pianista
1988 The 1950’s: Music, Memories & Milestones Dave Flitton Herself
1987 Intervista Federico Fellini Herself
1982 Cicciabomba Umberto Lenzi
1981 60 years of secuction Archive footage
1980 S*H*E* Robert Michael Lewis Dr. Else Biebling
1979 Gold of the Amazon Women Mark L. Lester Queen Na-Eela
1978 Killer Nun Giulio Berruti
1974 Valley of the widows Volker Vogeler Madame Colette
1973 Murder in Paris F.L. Morris
(Marius Mattei)

1972 Long Cavalcade of Vengeance Amerigo Anton
(Tanio Boccia)

1971 The Clowns Federico Fellini Herself
1971 Northeast of Seoul David Lowell Rich
1970 The Conjugal debt Franco Prosperi
1970 Quelle Chiara Notte D’ottobre Woman Massimo Franciosa
1970 Divorzio Romolo Guerrieri Flavia
1969 Death Knocks Twice Harald Philipp Mrs. Ferretti
1969 A Candidate for a Killing José María Elorrieta Jacqueline
1969 If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Mel Stuart Performer
1968 Malenka Amando de Ossorio Malenka
1968 The Cobra Mario Sequi Margaret Joyce
1968 Crónica de un atraco Jaime Jesús Balcázar Bessie
1967 The Glass Sphinx Luigi Scattini Paulette
1967 Scusi, lei è favorevole o contrario? Alberto Sordi Baroness Olga
1966 How I Learned to Love Women Luciano Salce Margaret Joyce
1966 The ABC Murders Frank Tashlin Amanda Beatrice Cross
1966 Woman times seven Vittorio De Sica Claudie
1965 Who Wants to Sleep?
R. Thiele,
A. Weidenmann,
A. von Ambesser
Lolita Young
1964 White, Red, Yellow, Pink Massimo Mida Alberchiaria
1963 4 for Texas Robert Aldrich Elya Carlson
1963 Call me Bwana Gordon Douglas Luba
1963 From Russia with Love Terence Young
1962 Lykke og Krone
(Swedish documentary)
Colbjörn Helander
Stein Sælen
Herself
1962 Boccaccio ’70 Federico Fellini Anita
1961 Behind Closed Doors Dino Risi Olga Duvovich
1960 The Mongols André De Toth Hulina
1960 Little Girls and High Finance Camillo Mastrocinque
1960 Last Train to Shanghai Renzo Merusi Miss Dorothy Simmons
1960 La Dolce vita Federico Fellini Herself
1959 Three Etc.’s and the Colonel Claude Boissol Georgina
1958 Sheba and the Gladiator V. Musy Glori Queen Zenobia of Palmira
1958 The Man Inside John Gilling Trudie Hall
1958 Screaming Mimi Gerd Oswald Virginia Wilson
1958 Paris Holiday Gerd Oswald Zara
1957 Interpol John Gilling Gina Broger
1957 Valerie Gerd Oswald Valerie
1656 War and peace King Vidor Helene
1956 Back from Eternity John Farrow Actress Anita
1956 Man in the Vault Andrew V. McLaglen Flo Randall
1956 Hollywood or bust Frank Tashlin Actress Anita
1956 Zarak Khan Terence Young Zalma
1955 Blood Alley William A. Wellman Wei Ling
1955 Artists and models Frank Tashlin Anita
1955 I’ll Cry Tomorrow Daniel Mann
1955 Tennessee’s Partner Allan Dwan
1953 Take Me to Town Douglas Sirk (uncredited)
Dancehall girl
1953 The Golden Blade Nathan Juran
1953 The Mississippi Gambler Rudolph Maté (uncredited)
Bridesmaid
1953 Abbott and Costello Go to Mars – They’re too wild for one world! Charles Lamont Venusian Guard

Information in the table from wikipedia 

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article_04_01What do you know about Anita.

Ask Tjing Chi Chu who is wolfing down rice with her chop sticks in a bar in Shanghai, ask Igli Iglookutz sitting in her igloo eating seal fat or ask plumber Karlson drinking Three Towns lager in a pub in Malmö. They know about just as much or just as little.

Oh yeah, her. Says Tjin Chi. She’s the one fooling around with Tyron Power. Isn’t she the one Frank Sinatra is dating, says Igli. Karlson thinks she is hanging out with Gary Cooper.

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Anita

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And let’s not forget Anita Ekberg here all decked out in a nice x-mas outfit. Who wouldn’t want to spend x-mas eve with a lovely lady dressed like this. Would have made my x-mas perfect that’s for sure.

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An article written by one of Anitas childhood friends who intervued Anita on a plane on her way home to Malmö – from the Swedish magazine "Bild Journalen" November 30, 1955.

Pale and beautiful, Anita sinks into her seat on Sverre Viking, the plane that would take her, her parents and her famous poodle Robert to her home town Malmö. She looks more beautiful in real life than she does on any of the photos of her in papers and magazines around the world.

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Anita at the Kirsenberg school. She is the long legged girl, number five from the left in the first row.

The hair that usually flows in large waves round her shoulders are combed straight back and fastened in a ponytail. She has very little make-up on and her pale, white skin glows. She’s wearing a black silk suit and a pink cashmere jumper. The only show of filmstar fame is a nertz cape slung over the back of the seat. In the seat beside her is a very proud mother. At her feet rests the faithful poodle Robert an his favourite rugg and across the isle, is her father.

01542_anita_02

Anita posing in champagne coloured lace dress and a nertz cape at the balcony at Kramer’s hotel.

I asked her: "Were you ever homesick over there." " Oh, if you only knew," she answered." "And were you ever close to giving up" I took the courage to ask. " Oh yes, at one point in particular" she said "It was when my contract with Universal ended, and I had no work permit just a tourist visa. Go home, everyone said. Maybe you can get you papers in order there and come back." "But I knew" she continued "That that "maybe" and that "going home" was the end of all hope. So I stayed and starved, but I would not give up. And after a while everything fell into place".

Anita’s joy and satisfaction gives her eyes a certain glow and she smiles as she sink down into her seat. There is no sign of the jaded, posing actress now. This is the real Anita, the "damn it all" look in her eyes, the hard, tough and illusion free Anita I knew in my youth. When she talks about the hard time in the States , she shows a naivety, a kindness and a directness that is far from unattractive. Just before our talk was over she said to me: "I have fought for this, I deserve it."

01542_anita_03

 

Tyron Power gave Anita English lessons while they played in "War and Peace" together, and she taught him Swedish.

Just before the plane landed I asked Anita if she had any beauty or slimming tips to give our readers." I don’t know" she answered with a smile, "To tell you the truth, I have never had the need for slimming. I never bother with calories, I eat what I want and as much of it as I want. If I have any tip to give you, it must be to drink milk. I drink a lot of it. I feel that I does me a lot of good. And I keep in shape, I swim every day."

01542_anita_04
Anita bought these tight moiré slacks during a week end stay in Capri. The silk blouse was ordered from Emilio Pucci, the fashion king of Florenze.

When the plane landed and Anita got off to meet her many hometown fans, I got a chance to have a few words with her mother. I asked her if she could remember any episode in particular where Anita had missbehaved. She could not, but she told me that when ever Anita did something wrong, she never tried to sneak away, but stood up straight and took the blame for it. She is like that still her mother said.

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