ANITA EKBERG, INTERNATIONAL SCREEN BEAUTY AND FELLINI STAR
The cause was complications of a long illness, her lawyer, Patrizia Ubaldi, said.
Ms. Ekberg had kept a low public profile in recent years. She did make an appearance in 2010 at a film festival in Rome, where a new restoration of “La Dolce Vita” was having its world premiere. In December 2011 it was reported that she was almost penniless, had no family to help her and was seeking financial assistance from the Fellini Foundation while living at a nursing home in Italy, her adopted country.
Fellini cast Ms. Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita” as a hedonistic American actress visiting Rome. A single moonlit scene — in which she wades into the Trevi Fountain in a strapless evening gown, turns her face ecstatically to the fountain’s waterfall and seductively calls Marcello Mastroianni’s character, a jaded journalist, to join her — established her place in cinema history.
Ms. Ekberg won a Golden Globe, sharing the 1956 award for most promising newcomer with Dana Wynter and Victoria Shaw, but most of her roles focused primarily on her face and figure. When she traveled overseas to entertain American troops in the 1950s, it was as a sex symbol. Bob Hope introduced her as “the greatest thing to come from Sweden since smorgasbord” and joked that her parents had won the Nobel Prize for architecture.
Decades later, she told Entertainment Weekly: “When you’re born beautiful, it helps you start in the business. But then it becomes a handicap.”
Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg was born on Sept. 29, 1931, in Malmo, Sweden, one of eight children of a harbor master.
She did some modeling in her teens and was later named Miss Sweden, traveling to the United States as a special guest at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. She did not take home the Miss Universe title but did win an American modeling contract and was soon acting as well.
Ms. Ekberg’s first credited film role was in “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953), in which she played a voluptuous guard on the planet Venus. During the next decade or so she was kept busy in Hollywood movies, including “Blood Alley” (1955), a drama with John Wayne, in which she played a Chinese woman; “4 for Texas” (1963), a western with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin; “Call Me Bwana” (1963), a comedy with Hope; and two comedies with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, “Artists and Models” (1955) and “Hollywood or Bust” (1956).
She also made a cameo appearance in the travel comedy “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” (1969) and, on the more serious side, had a supporting role as the alluring, social-climbing wife of Henry Fonda’s character in King Vidor’s epic production of “War and Peace” (1956). But it was “La Dolce Vita” that made her famous.
She worked for Fellini again, as a billboard photograph that comes to life in the segment of “Boccaccio 70” (1962) that he directed, and as herself in both “The Clowns” (1970) and “Intervista” (1987). Over a five-decade acting career, she made more than 50 feature films. Her last screen appearance was on a 2002 episode of the Italian television series “Il Belle Delle Donne.”
Romantically linked with Hollywood actors including Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Rod Taylor, Yul Brynner and Errol Flynn, she married and divorced twice. Her husbands were Anthony Steel, a British matinee idol (1956 to 1959), and Rik Van Nutter , an American actor who also appeared in films under the name Clyde Rogers (1963 to 1975). Mr. Steel died in 2001, Mr. Van Nutter in 2005. She had no children.
Ms. 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. “So many have said they discovered me.”
But she did appear reflective at times. “If you want la dolce vita, it is how you look at life,” she told The New York Observer the same year, while in the United States to publicize “The Red Dwarf,” a European film in which she played an aging opera star. “When I go back to Rome, my roses will be in bloom again.”
During an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere Delle Sera on the occasion of her 80th birthday, she was asked if she was lonely. She said yes, a bit. “But I have no regrets,” she added. “I have loved, cried, been mad with happiness. I have won and I have lost.”
His death, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, was caused by congestive heart failure, his son John said.
A ravenous book reader, possessing intellectual curiosity in a business not known for it, Mr. Goldwyn was an early champion of stylized, cerebral films that most major studios thought would never sell a ticket. His indie operation, the Samuel Goldwyn Company, founded in 1979, helped create a business model — low production costs, guerrilla marketing — that allowed art-house movies to grow into a powerful cultural and economic force.
“Most people don’t quite realize what an independent film pioneer he was,” said Thomas E. Rothman, chairman of TriStar. Mr. Rothman, whose formative Hollywood years were spent at the Samuel Goldwyn Company, went on to found Fox Searchlight, which remains a specialty film superpower.
“Sam was the inspiration for Fox Searchlight,” Mr. Rothman said.
Mr. Goldwyn was credited with giving Julia Roberts her big break in “Mystic Pizza” in 1988. But he was also known for backing budding directors on their early films, including Ang Lee (“The Wedding Banquet”), Anthony Minghella (“Truly Madly Deeply”) and Kenneth Branagh (“Henry V”).
In one of his audacious moves, in 1989, Mr. Goldwyn backed “Longtime Companion,” a feature film about the impact of the AIDS crisis on the lives of gay men. Some theater owners refused to book it, but Mr. Goldwyn pressed on, releasing a trailer that mentioned AIDS in its first 10 seconds.
As Hollywood dynasties go, the Goldwyns are among the few to have made a mark for successive generations. Samuel Goldwyn was the G in MGM. Sammy, as his son was known in his younger days, followed. Among the third generation’s accomplishments, John Goldwyn was vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, and another son, the actor Tony Goldwyn, is a star of the ABC series “Scandal.”
Famous names, especially in Hollywood, are often too heavy for future generations to bear, noted A. Scott Berg, the Pulitzer-winning author whose “Goldwyn: A Biography” was published in 1989. But Mr. Goldwyn found the strength, he said.
“Sam was raised by a volatile, at times emotionally abusive father and a loveless mother and yet managed to emerge as a genuinely affectionate man of equanimity,” Mr. Berg said in an interview on Friday.
Born in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, 1926, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. had a privileged upbringing. As a newspaper delivery boy, he initially tossed the papers, rolled up, from the window of his father’s limousine, Mr. Berg said.
But he was not spoiled — when Charlie Chaplin and other stars came for dinner, Sammy ate in the kitchen with the cook — and his parents steered him away from Hollywood. He went to prep school in Colorado and attended the University of Virginia. After serving in the Army, he worked as a theatrical producer in London and for Edward R. Murrow at CBS in New York.
For a time he owned Landmark, a chain of art theaters. As a producer, he was nominated for a best picture Oscar in 2004 for “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”
Mr. Goldwyn was a major supporter of the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which provides health services and other support to entertainment industry workers. His contributions, through a family foundation, built a children’s day care center and a behavioral health center.
He lived in the Hollywood Hills, in the house his parents had owned.
Besides his sons John and Tony, he is survived by two other sons, Francis and Peter; two daughters, Catherine Goldwyn and Elizabeth Goldwyn; and 10 grandchildren. Mr. Goldwyn is also survived by his third wife, Patricia Strawn. His previous two marriages ended in divorce.
His final producing credit came in December 2013 with the release of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” starring and directed by Ben Stiller, a remake of one of his father’s biggest hits.
“Producers — real producers — never retire, and he was discussing casting for his next picture with us over dinner very recently,” Mr. Berg said. “He wasn’t happy to be in a wheelchair, to have his mobility limited. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him.”
An earlier version of this obituary, using information from Mr. Goldwyn’s family, referred incorrectly to his marital history. He was married three times, not twice, and is survived by his third wife, Patricia Strawn.SOURCE
ROD TAYLOR, TARGET IN ‘THE BIRDS’
His death was announced by his daughter, Felicia Taylor, a former correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC.
Mr. Taylor was only the second Australian actor, after Errol Flynn (who was born in Tasmania), to achieve major Hollywood stardom, though many moviegoers did not know his origins. He made more than 50 films but played Australians in only a handful. In his most famous roles, he played a Briton and an American. His “Time Machine” character, an inventor, was known as H. George Wells, for H. G. Wells, the British author of the classic time-travel novel on which the film was based. In “The Birds,” Mr. Taylor was a California lawyer who offers a ride to a reckless blond heiress (Tippi Hedren) and ends up fighting off gangs of the homicidal title characters.
And it was back to the British accent in his last film. The director Quentin Tarantino persuaded Mr. Taylor to make a comeback of sorts by playing Winston Churchill in his 2009 World War II film, “Inglourious Basterds.”
Rodney Sturt Taylor was born on Jan. 11, 1930, in Sydney, Australia. The only child of William Taylor, a steel-construction contractor and draftsman, and the former Mona Stewart, a children’s book author, he grew up in Lidcombe, a Sydney suburb.
At first he planned to become an artist, and as a teenager he studied at the East Sydney Technical and Fine Arts College. But through friends he became interested in acting, and seeing Laurence Olivier in “Richard III” on an Old Vic tour cemented his decision to become an actor.
Mr. Taylor’s first professional appearance was in a local 1947 production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Misalliance.” His first screen appearance was in an Australian short, “Inland With Sturt” (1951), about the British explorer Capt. Charles Sturt, his great-great-great-uncle. Mr. Taylor also appeared on dozens of radio shows and won a radio acting award that included enough prize money to finance a trip to London, where he hoped to expand his career.
Before leaving, he won a small part in “Long John Silver” (1954), a pirate movie being filmed in Australia with Hollywood stars. That inspired him to make a stop in Los Angeles, where he was rejected by a major talent agency but decided to stay in town anyway.
After a tiny uncredited role in the Bette Davis film “The Virgin Queen” (1955), he appeared in “Hell on Frisco Bay” (1955), a crime movie starring Alan Ladd, and as Debbie Reynolds’s fiancé in “The Catered Affair” (1956).
That same year he was noticed as the debonair boyfriend Elizabeth Taylor’s character throws over for a visiting Texan (Rock Hudson) in “Giant.” Four years, two movies and a number of guest appearances on television series later, he was cast in “The Time Machine.”
The 1960s were a busy time for Mr. Taylor. He began by starring as an American newspaper correspondent in the short-lived television series “Hong Kong” (1960-61), and securing his place in children’s movie history as the voice of Pongo, the puppies’ father, in the animated movie “101 Dalmatians” (1961). In addition to “The Birds,” his 1963 films included “The V.I.P.s,” with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and “Sunday in New York,” a romantic comedy in which he starred opposite Jane Fonda. He followed those with a portrayal of the Irish playwright Sean O’Casey in “Young Cassidy” (1965), starring roles in the Doris Day comedies “Do Not Disturb” and “The Glass Bottom Boat” (both 1966) and the lead in “Hotel” (1967), based on the Arthur Hailey novel.
He played an Australian in only a few films, among them “The V.I.P.s,” as Maggie Smith’s aggressive boss; “The High Commissioner” (1968), as a detective sent to London to retrieve a diplomat; and, when he was in his 60s, “Welcome to Woop Woop” (1997), an Australian farce in which he played a grizzled hick patriarch.
Mr. Taylor made a dozen films in the 1970s, including Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” (1970), in which he played the young hippie heroine’s boss, and “The Picture Show Man” (1977), an Australian production first shown in the United States in 1980. (He played an American.)
For most of the next three decades, Mr. Taylor made only the occasional film but appeared in numerous television movies; one 1981 role was as the title character’s father, Black Jack Bouvier, in “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.” From 1988 to 1990 he had a recurring role, as the title vineyard’s long-lost owner, Frank Agretti, on the nighttime soap “Falcon Crest.”
His penultimate film role was in “Kaw” (2007), a low-budget horror movie about crazed ravens attacking a small town, inspired by “The Birds.” Mr. Taylor’s character appeared in the last half-hour as the much-needed voice of calm reason.
Mr. Taylor married three times and divorced twice. His first wife was Peggy Williams (1951-54), an Australian model. His second was Mary Hilem (1963-69), an American fashion model with whom he had his daughter. In 1980, he married Carol Kikumura, an American actress and dancer, who, along with his daughter, survives him.
In 1964, at the height of his fame, Mr. Taylor talked to The New York Times about his career. “With me, it’s been part luck and part sheer, regimented planning,” he said.
He recalled being influenced by the director George Stevens’s advice to respect himself as an actor, even in bit parts.
After that, Mr. Taylor said, “I resolved to work my head off.”
An earlier version of this obituary misstated Mr. Taylor’s birth date. It was Jan. 11, 1930, not Jan. 13.