Delia Scala was born Odette Bedogni on September 25, 1929 in Bracciano, Lazio, Italy. As a young girl the family moved to Milan where she studied ballet at "La Scala" Ballet School for seven years. She performed in numerous ballets until World War II, after which she began appearing in motion pictures using the stage name, Delia Scala. In 1956, she began a career in television, an industry that at the time in Italy was still in its infancy. She starred in several variety shows during the 1950s and 1960s, and became one of her country's most beloved TV showgirls. Delia appeared in two Euro-westerns: “The Dream of Zorro” (1951) as Gloria/ Estrella/Dolores and “The Terror of Arizona” in 1959 as Bethsabee/Betsabea.
Although Scala achieved great fame and success, her life was plagued by misfortune and sorrowful losses. She married a Greek military officer at age 15 (in 1944), but separated from him two years later, and got the marriage annulled in 1956. During the mid-1950s she gained much publicity for her relationship with Formula One race car driver Eugenio Castellotti. He died in 1957 when his Ferrari crashed while attempting a speed record at the Modena race track.
She married in 1967 to Piero Giannotti, but was widowed when he died in 1982 of a heart attack while bicycling along the beach in Viareggio. She married a third time in 1985 with industrialist Arturo Fremura, but this marriage too ended sadly with her husband's death of liver cancer in 2001.
In 1970 Scala was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a radical mastectomy. Although she appeared to have healed completely, in 2002 she was struck again with the same illness. After two more years battling her cancer, Delia Scala died on January 15, 2004 in Livorno, Tuscany. With the news of her death, Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi called her a "model of vivaciousness and rigorous professionalism" and said she ranked among "the most beloved and popular artists in the history of Italian entertainment".
Today we remember Delia Scala on what would have been her 85th birthday.