If you want a true femme fatale, look no further than the infamous run-in starlet Anita Ekberg had with the paparazzi one October night in 1960. What started as routine harassment nearly turned deadly.
The Sweet Life?
Ekberg was a Swedish bombshell who starred most famously in Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita, where she played an actress hounded by photographers. Ironically, the success of the film quickly made Ekberg herself a heatscore for publications around the world—but she had one nemesis in particular.
Photographer Felice Quinto had also been in La Dolce Vita, albeit as an extra, and his merciless pursuit of celebrity subjects in his day-to-day job had even reportedly inspired one of Dolce's paparazzo characters. In the end, though, what happened between Ekberg and Quinto was stranger than fiction.
Sign up to our newsletter.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
Anita Ekberg, Warrior Woman
In the wee hours of October 20, 1960, Quinto caught Ekberg flouncing around Rome with a married producer, and ended up snapping them locked in an embrace. Ekberg, furious at the compromising position she was in, soon went back to her villa and cloistered herself inside.
Undeterred, Quinto and some of his colleagues followed her back and waited outside her house. But they had no idea what they were in for. An enraged—and barefoot—Ekberg suddenly burst out of the house, wielding a functional bow and several arrows she had taken from the set of her latest film, all while yelling “Give me those pictures!"
X Marks The Spot
The gathered photographers probably thought Ekberg just wanted to scare them away, and one even managed to take an iconic photograph of the star aiming the weapon at him. But this was no empty threat: The actress fired. More than that, she hit her marks, injuring Quinto in his forearm and letting fly more shots into the backs of the other paparazzi present.
Justified? Maybe not, but it probably felt good at the time. Then again, it did give us another very compromising photo.