Luigina Lollobrigida was born in Subiaco, Italy on July 4, 1927. She was the daughter of a furniture manufacturer, and grew up in a pictorial mountain village. The young Gina did some modeling, and from there went on to participate successfully in several beauty contests. In 1947 she entered a beauty competition for Miss Italy, but came in third. After appearing in a half-dozen films in Italy, it was rumored that in 1947 film tycoon Howard Hughes had her flown to Hollywood; however, this did not result in her staying in America, and she returned to Italy. Back in Italy, in 1949, Gina married Milko Skofic [1949-1971], a Yugoslavian doctor, by whom she had a son, Milko Jr. [1957- ]. They would remain married for 22 years, until their divorce in 1971. As her film roles and national popularity increased, Gina was tagged "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World", after her signature movie “La donna più bella del mondo” (1955). Gina was nicknamed “ la Lollo,” as she embodied the prototype of Italian beauty. Her earthy looks and short "tossed salad" hairdo were especially influential, and in fact there's a type of curly lettuce named "Lollo" in honor of her cute hairdo. Her film “Come September” (1961) co-starring Rock Hudson won the Golden Globe as the World's Film Favorite. In the 1970s Gina was seen in only a few films including her only Euro-western “Bad Man’s River” (1972) with Lee Van Cleef and James Mason as she took a break from acting and concentrated on another career: photography. Among her subjects were Paul Newman, Salvador Dalí and the German national soccer team. A skilled photographer, Gina had a collection of her work, "Italia Mia" published in 1973. Immersed in her other passions (sculpting and photography), it would be 1984 before Gina would grace American TV on "Falcon Crest" (1981). Although Gina was always active, she only appeared in a few films in the 1990s. In June, 1999, she turned to politics and ran, unsuccessfully, for one of Italy's 87 European Parliament seats, from her hometown of Subiaco. Gina was also a corporate executive for fashion and cosmetics companies. As she told "Parade" magazine in April, 2000: "I studied painting and sculpting at school and became an actress by mistake. I've had many lovers and still have romances. I am very spoiled. All my life, I've had too many admirers." Today we celebrate Gina Lollobrigida’s 85th birthday.