Nabbing the title of Ms. Sweden in the 1951 Miss Universe pageant, Ekberg was perhaps best known for playing the so-called "unattainable dream woman" — a hedonistic American actress who visited Rome in the 1960 Federico Fellini film "La Dolce Vita." Ekberg was actually Swedish, but made a name for herself thanks by and large to a single scene in the film.
That particular moment, wherein she wades into the Trevi Fountain fully clothed in a fancy evening gown, asking her co-star — Marcello Mastroianni — to join her in the moonlight swim. The scene was so famous, that "Under the Tuscan Sun" replicated it many years later.
Born on September 29, 1931, in Malmo, Sweden, Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was one of eight children. By 1956 she had won a Golden Globe — shared with Dana Wynter and Victoria Shaw — for being the most promising newcomer to the Hollywood scene.
Over her impressively spanning five-decades-long acting career, Ekberg made more than 50 feature films, even starring opposite the likes of John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, and even Abbott and Costello who were her first costars.
She also has quite the epic ex-boyfriends list, and she was linked romantically to the likes of Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Yul Brynner, and Errol Flynn, just to name a few.
But it was her role in "La Dolce Vita" for which she will be forever remembered. "If you want la dolce vita," she explained to The New York Observer, "it is how you look at life."