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Sandra Milo Dies: Federico Fellini’s Former Mistress & ‘8½’ Star Was 90

Italian actress Sandra Milo, best known for her supporting roles in Federico Fellini’s Oscar winner and Golden Globe winner Juliet of the Spirits, died January 29 at 90.

Born on March 11, 1933, in Tunisia to Italian parents in 1933, Milo grew up in Tuscany.

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She got her first big-screen break in 1955 opposite Alberto Sordi in Antonio Pietrangeli’s comedy The Bachelor.

Milo’s career quickly took off with roles in Roberto Rossellini’s General Della Rovere, Pietrangeli’s Hungry for Love, Edouard Molinaro’s Witness in the City and Claude Sautet’s The Big Risk over the course of the late 1950s.

It briefly hit the buffers in 1961 when her performance in Rosselini’s Stendhal adaptation Vanina Vanni was brutally panned by critics at the Venice Film Festival, but Milo returned to the set and went on to rack up more than 80 credits across a 70-year career.

Internationally, Milo is best known her performances in Federico Fellini’s 8½ and Juliet of the Spirits.

In 8 ½, Milo played Carla, the mistress of Marcello Mastroianni’s blocked film director character, while in Juliet of the Spirits, she co-starred opposite Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina as the glamorous neighbor Suzy, whose unconventional life fascinates the straight-laced titular protagonist.

Sandra Milo and Marcello Mastroianni in 1963’s ‘8 1/2’
Sandra Milo and Marcello Mastroianni in 1963’s ‘8 1/2’

In 1982, Milo revealed she had been in a secret 17-year relationship with Fellini in a memoir entitled Caro Federico.

Italian Culture Undersecretary of Culture Lucia Borgonzoni paid tribute to the late actress today, describing her as “a unique performer, who had been the muse of great directors and won hearts of millions of Italians.”

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