Hard-up 'Dolce Vita' star asks Fellini fund for money

ROME - Anita Ekberg, the curvaceous star of "La Dolce Vita", is hard-up and homeless and has asked for money from the foundation of the cult film's director Federico Fellini, La Stampa reported on Friday.

The 80-year-old Swedish-born actress, famous for frolicking in the Trevi fountain with Marcello Mastroianni in an iconic piece of film history, is in an old people's home near Rome after her house was set on fire in a burglary.

She is also in a wheelchair after breaking her femur and spends the days mostly on her own working on a memoir, with occasional visits from her former neighbours in Genzano just south of Rome and volunteers from social services.

"It's not elegant to say it but Mrs. Ekberg's real problem is a lack of liquidity," Massimo Morais, a court-appointed administrator who has written to the Fellini fund to ask for money on her behalf, was quoted as saying.

"The Fellini Foundation has not replied yet but I am confident of solidarity from anyone who wants to share with other benefactors in helping out, however modestly, a good actress who really deserves it," he said.

A former Miss Sweden and 1950s pin-up model, Ekberg began her acting career in Hollywood in films starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and John Wayne.

Her greatest role, however, was in Fellini's 1960 masterpiece "La Dolce Vita" which captures Italian exuberance during an economic boom time.

She was married to British actor Anthony Steel from 1956 to 1959 and to American actor Rik Van Nutter from 1963 to 1975 but had no children.