Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Elsa Martinelli

I recently saw a couple of old films starring Italian glamour queen Elsa Martinelli.

Upon researching the gorgeous bombshell, I was delighted to learn that besides being a pretty face and talented actress, she was also a fucking bad ass.

Here is her story:

At 18, Elsa was working as a barmaid in her native Rome when she was discovered by a fashion designer. He encouraged her to give up the blue collar lifestyle and go to New York to pursue modeling. Elsa took his advice.

With only $20 in her pocket and not speaking a word of English, Elsa arrived in New York City. She was immediately signed with an agency and began appearing in numerous fashion magazines.

Two years later, Kirk Douglas's wife spotted the supermodel in Vogue and suggested to him that Elsa be cast as his leading lady in the upcoming western, The Indian Fighter.

Elsa's career went from supermodel to movie star overnight. She went on to star in movies with Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, and Charlton Heston. She even starred in a lesbian vampire movie.

When she wasn't busy making movies, she was busy making love to numerous wealthy men, including a prince and a fashion designer.

At 24, the superstar was sentenced to 18 months in jail for viciously insulting three different police officers when they tried to serve her with traffic tickets.

Not long after, she caused an international scandal when she married Count Franco Mancinelli. The royal's mother was so disgusted with the marriage she disowned him, closing the palace gates against the couple forever.

Three years and two kids later, Elsa was desperate to divorce the disowned count, but Italy prohibited divorce at the time.

Separated from her husband, Elsa used her Hollywood-earned money to buy old houses around Europe and renovate them. She also enjoyed spending time with her children.

In the early 1960s she fell in love with photographer Wally Rizzo. She changed her citizenship in order to divorce the Count. She then quickly married Rizzo.

The couple jet-setted around the world, attending lavish, wild parties with close friends such as opera diva Maria Callas and movie star Sophia Loren.

In the early 1970s, Elsa began a cozy friendship with Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, behind his wife Jackie's back.

It is reported that when Jackie O saw the above photo of her husband and Elsa together, she promptly got a $100,000 face-lift.

In the 1980s, Elsa became an interior designer.

Today, she is still a sought-after actress and still as beautiful as ever.

PS. I really enjoyed reading your embarrassing moments from my last post.

PPS. I am going to be in Chicago for five days. So, I will see you lovelies on Wednesday! Have a fab weekend. xoxo


Theonlyfashionprincess said...

Have fun in Chicago!! :) x

Josie said...

She was SO chic and fabulous. Have a blast in Chicago, gorgeous!
xo Josie

Sarah said...

Have a lovely time in Chicago.

I've never heard of her before. She is gorgeous and I admire her guts, but maybe not what she did to the policemen!


Selma *Crazy Little World Of Mine* said...

Love Elsa!! :D

And have fun in Chicago!!!!


Miladies said...

We do like her. She is a fashion icon without any doubth.

Kisses from


Tanvi said...

I have so much cinema to catch up on!!!! You enjoy your weekend!!!

♡ from ©

Sarah said...

Beautiful! Have a great time in Chicago!

Karen said...

Wow - what an amazing story to be discovered in the supermarket!! Thanks for sharing!!


Courtney Erin said...

Wait, is she in the Elisabeth Bathory movie?

xoxo ~ Courtney

love jenny xoxo said...

she is gorgeous! I love all the photos!

I hope you have an awesome time in Chicago!!


lalabang said...

I've never heard of her, but she is way to beautiful! Have fun in Chicago!

Tights Lover said...

Aren't all Italians just stunningly good looking? :P

18 months for "vicious insults"? What did she say? Did she make fun of their mommas??

Enjoy of my favorite cities! (Be sure to stop at the Fogal store in the mall with the Bloomingdale's...if for no other reasons than to gasp in shock at the prices...)

ps. You inadvertently teased my post today with your comment yesterday ;)

Style, She Wrote said...

What a gorgeous, glamorous woman! Sounds like she lead a very exciting life! xo style, she wrote

Mouthwash said...

How have I never heard of this woman? Absolutely stunning.

And, have fun in the Windy City!! Take lots of photos!


Sunny & Star said...

She is so beautiful! I especially love the pic of her in the bluish silverish dress (5th one down I think).

Have a great time in Chicago!

We are hosting a Pamper Yourself Giveaway! Please stop by and enter.

kayla marie said...

love this post!

xo-Kayla Marie

Anonymous said...

Wow, she certainly looks like she had a hugely insane lifestyle! I loved reading about her, but she had so many affairs! Thanks for sharing. xoxo, Veena <3

Michelle's Style File said...

Great story- thanks for sharing. Safe travels.


Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

Have a great time in Chicago, Jennifer!

i love her! she was soo elegant and talented as well!

betty xx

alexandra grecco said...

Great post. I enjoyed reading it - and yes, she still is so beautiful!

Blue Dressed Doll said...

Wow! so cute and pretty! :-)

Alba M said...

I love her! She's a fashion Icon :)))

Bonnie said...

You're going to be in Chicago??? That's only, like, four hours away from me. I think you should take a detour and come by the STL area. Juuuuuust a thought.
P.S. You know how much I love these bad-ass women, right???
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

AButterflyByDay said...

She is beautiful!

I have never heard of her but you are right she rocks. Have a great time in Chicago!

val n Cami

Sara said...

Nice blog! :))

If you want, follow me and I'll follow you back. :)

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Have fun in Chicago! I really enjoyed reading this - she was a gorgeous rebel!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

TOPCOAT said...

This post is fabulous, she is quite the lady! Have a nice time in Chicago! xx

♥ joei said...

I love her in the red poofy dress and the photo where she was wearing pearl necklaces. So chic :)

Definitely, Maybe

Julia, the Thanksgiving Girl said...

Oh how pretty is she!

Kavery said...

How come I've never heard of her? She sounds like a good person to meet!

Bad Joan said...

She is soooo gorgeous and such an incredible story! She is an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy watching old films! :)
Damn, she is badass!

btw thanks for the comment on my blog!

xoxo, Bree

The Blonde Duck said...

She's gorgeous. Have fun in Chicago!

jos xx said...

one lovely and lucky woman!!!!

have fun in chicago! hope you show us some pictures!

jos xx

michelle_ said...

she's soooo pretty !

www.glisters and

Sick by Trend said...

gorgeous woman! Thanks for sharing the pictures


Anonymous said...

That's such an interesting story! Also she's so pretty and elegant and stylish!
Lovely post! :)

Jamilah X

Rachel said...

She is absolutely gorgeous!

azu said...

What a great post! I really like short bangs on her. Wish I could wear them that short without looking horrible lol.

Love your blog! I'm now following :)

Anonymous said...

Shes such a cutie, what a lovely face.

Miss Neira

Marcia B. said...

wow she's a stunner, so inspiring! I love this! said...

She is very sexy. I hope you're well and enjoying Chicago.

Anita said...

Have fun at Chicago. I have always wanted to go!

Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle said...

WoW...No kidding she was definitely a Bad Ass Woman!!!

<3 Marina

Baby Budget Blog said...

Gorgeous and glam!

LĂ­via Salazar said...

Great post!

valncami said...

shes gorgeous - i'll have to check her out!

thank you for your lovely comment on our blog!
we really appreciate it :]

come visit us again soon!
xo, Camilla & Valerie

The Blonde Duck said...

See, that's how I want to dress and act. I want that 50s elegance!

Pop Champagne said...

have a great trip! and hmm going to jail for parking ticket that's a bit of a Naomi Campbell tantrum huh?! ;)

Fashion Fabrice said...

Very pretty pictures!! Have fun in Chicago!!:)

Farah from FashionFabrice

DB Jones said...

As a heterosexual 10 year old Catholic kid, I was enthralled by BLACK SUNDAY with Barbara Steele and BLOOD AND ROSES with Annette Stroyberg Vadim and Elsa Martinelli. Sex seemed mysterious, dark and thrilling, there on the verge of it all. The dark side of the Church was a fear of the powers of all evil; dark-eye maidens, the stealing of souls, death, rotting without redemption. It made life have extra savor! Nowadays I fear nothing save for dying before I record the music still within me and painting my masterpiece. And seeing my daughter have a grandchild. Life goes on. James Joyce said it: An Irishman's heart is nothing more than his imagination..." Thanks for the fantastic bio and pics of the unique Elsa!

JAY said...

She was pretty, I liked her in the wet t-shirt pic.