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Actress Rossana Podestà dies

Best known as Helen of Troy

10 December, 16:45
Actress Rossana Podestà dies

(ANSA) - Rome, December 10 - Actress Rossana Podestà, best known as Helen of Troy in a 1956 film featuring a young Brigitte Bardot, died in Rome aged 79 Tuesday.

Podestà was queen of the 'peplum' genre of mythological epics that found a global audience in the 1950s and '60s. These included Ulysses (1954), with Kirk Douglas in the title role, and Sodom and Gomorrah (1962).

Her other big Italian hit was Seven Golden Men (1965), a bank-heist comedy directed by then husband Marco Vicario, when she gained a 'femme fatale' image that stayed with her for many years. In the 1960s and '70s she appeared in several popular romantic movies including Paolo il Caldo (Hot Paul) and Il Prete Sposato (The Married Priest). Her last performance was in 1985's Segreti Segreti (Secrets, Secrets), directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci. Podestà was born in June 1934 in the then Italian colony of Libya, spending her early childhood in Tripoli before moving to Rome after World War II. After giving up acting she lived in retirement in the northern Italian mountains with her second husband, famous climber, explorer and journalist Walter Bonatti, who died in September 2011.