Website last updated: 7-5-2024

Swedish Actress Anita Ekberg (1931-2015)

By: Mark Cerulli
Anita Ekberg Rik van Nutter obituary
FSWL are very saddened to report the passing of Miss Sweden 1951, the actress Anita Ekberg and the rarest of Swedish Bond girls. Our thoughts and prayers are with Anita's family.

Anita Ekberg obituary:
Anita Ekberg, a prominent Swedish actress (she left Sweden for Hollywood in 1952 and later to Italy where she lived until her death) and 1960s sex symbol, passed away in a clinic near Rome on January 11, 2015 at age 83. Although she was best known for her work in the seminal 1960 Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, Ekberg also had a connection to the James Bond films.

Ekberg was considered for the female lead in Dr. No (the role ultimately went to Swiss actress Ursula Andress), however Ekberg was actually “in” From Russia with Love (1963) starring Sean Connery – namely her likeness on the huge billboard advertising Call Me Bwana. The Krilencu character (played by Fred Haggerty) is shot while escaping through a hatch in Ekberg’s mouth! Call Me Bwana was a 1963 Bob Hope comedy that also starred Ekberg, made by EON Productions. She must have made quite an impression on James Bond film producers Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman as during dinner one evening, Broccoli offered her then-husband, actor Rik Van Nutter, the plum role of Felix Leiter in the 1965 blockbuster, Thunderball (1965)!

Although she made over 50 films, and was romantically linked to many of the top names of her day, including Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Rod Taylor and Errol Flynn, Ekberg’s final years were sad ones, with her battling money problems and illness. One of her last public appearances was at the Rome Film Festival in 2010 for a red carpet screening of the restored version of her iconic La Dolce Vita.

Her last film was Le nain rouge in 1998 directed by Yvan Le Moine.

The Swedish actress, married twice, is survived by her niece Christina. (Anita never had any children.) The funeral was held in Rome on 14th January, 2015.

Editor's Note:
Other Swedish related Bond girls include Anne Lönnberg (Moonraker), Britt Ekland (The Man with the Golden Gun), Eva Green (Casino Royale from 2006), Izabella Scorupco (GoldenEye), Kristina Wayborn (Octopussy), Maud Adams (The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy) and Mary Stavin (Octopussy och A View to a Kill). Agneta Eckemyr could have become the first Swedish Bond girl in 1968 when she was tested for the role of Tracy, James Bond's wife inOn Her Majesty's Secret Service, which eventually went to Diana Rigg.

Photo above:
Anita Ekberg with husband Rik van Nutter in The Bahamas for the filming of Thunderball in 1965. Photo from From Sweden with Love's private collection.

For more information about Anita Ekberg's career, check out her IMDB profile:



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