The moment Anita Ekberg took a dip in the Trevi Fountain in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, she became a film icon.

The former Miss Sweden died this morning at the age of 83. The BBC reports:

She had been in [the] hospital since Christmas following a series of illnesses.

The actress had been in a wheelchair for several years after being knocked down by one of her pet Great Danes, breaking a hip.

Ekberg stared in numerous films, including two of the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis vehicles. In her heyday, she was touted as "Paramount's Marilyn Monroe" - but it was her work with Fellini that she's best remembered by. The actress met him in Rome and he immediately cast her as Sylvia Rank - "the most wonderful woman created since the beginning of time" - an actress constantly pursued by the paparazzi. The film's Trevi fountain scene shocked audiences in 1960 - Ekberg's sexuality was especially upsetting. The Vatican condemned the scene, but Ekberg shot back, "I'm very proud of my breasts, as every woman should be."

Advertisement

Like many actresses, Ekberg's work slowed as she reached middle age. She was famously passed over for a role as a "Bond Girl." Fellini remained loyal, however, and Ekberg appeared in two more of his films, The Clowns and Intervista.