Former Miss Malmö Anita Ekberg is 81 years old—hard to believe isn’t it? But Miss Ekberg is far from forgotten. Earlier this year, as a guest at the Berlin Film Festival, she talked about her memories from the film business, and in particular about her famous scene with Marcello Mastroianni from “La Dolce Vita,” when the two of them took a dip in the Fontana di Trevi.

“The water was ice cold,” Ekberg said. “Marcello Mastroianni had drunk a whole bottle of vodka and fell forward three times. I had to fish him up and make sure he was given dry clothes. They gave me brandy so I wouldn’t catch a cold. When the scene was shot, Fellini said ‘thank God.'” Ekberg also told the audience how Fellini first saw her: “He discovered me when I was in Rome making an American movie. I was driving around in a Mercedes Cabriolet and that’s how he saw me. He hadn’t seen any of my movies.”
Fellini contacted Ekberg’s agents and got her to participate in his next movie that way. When Ekberg asked to read the script, Fellini told her there was no script, but that she’d get to write her own lines.
“I knew how to write letters,” Ekberg laughed, “but I didn’t know how to write dialogue for film.” Nevertheless, Fellini became her favorite director. “He gave actors freedom,” Ekberg said.
“Other directors treated actors like chess pieces, but I think you do a better job if you are allowed to move freely.” “La Dolce Vita” (The Sweet Life) became Ekberg’s breakthrough in a career that had begun in Malmö in the 1940s. As a teenager, Ekberg worked as a model and with the money she earned she bought a ticket to Los Angeles.
Among her films is “4 for Texas” alongside Frank Sinatra. “We flirted,” said Ekberg about Sinatra. “He wanted to marry me. He was a terribly wonderful person. If he had a friend, he’d do anything for that friend.” When asked what it was like to be a sex symbol, Ekberg answered: “Can anyone tell me what that’s like? I’ve never understood it.”