null

{Click on Any Image to View It Full Size in a New Window}  

Elsa Martinelli may never have been a full-fledged film star—at least not in Hollywood,” begin her obituary in The Times of London {where she adorned movie mag covers, top left}, “but she was always a diva and great beauty (top right).  

“With that came the admiration and often adoration of men. Having been pursued by (L to R below) Charlie Chaplin’s son Syd, she was then linked to Italian leading men Rossano Brazzi and Walter Chiari—the prime example of a new breed of Latin lover who had an off-and-on {and often!} affair with American Ava Gardner.

null

Gorgeous Gardner was infamous for her quip about slight spouse Frank Sinatra that he was “only 110 pounds, but 10 pounds of it is cock!”—and Elsa examined that claim during many “nights of intense passion with Sinatra” shortly after Ava left him (headline below).

null

And while Ava towered over Ol’ Blue Eyes (below left), 5-foot-9 model Martinelli was a better ‘fit’ with Frank’s friend, John F. Kennedy, and whispers abound she “got into his trunks” (below right) early in JFK’s marriage to Jackie!

null

As one British paper discreetly described their liaison: “Elsa Martinelli was on easy terms with John F. Kennedy and tickled the tummy of the aging Aristotle Onassis.”

null

Indeed, while the Italian temptress “had known Jackie during her marriage to the President,” Elsa had known both her husbands biblically. Spied canoodling in a Paris club (above left) while Jackie was visiting her sister in Switzerland in February 1970, Martinelli made the rounds with Onassis openly in December 1973 (below left). “When Jackie Onassis sees a photo of her husband Aristotle, outside a Paris café with her Roman rival,” read one report, “she decides on a $100,000 facelift” (below right).

null

“Her story lost little by comparison with Cinderella’s,” noted one obit—complete with an evil stepmother {or in this case, mother-in-law}. Becoming “an authentic countess,” in her words, by marrying Count Franco Mancinelli Scotti in June 1957 over his mother’s vehement objections, the evil MIL {without the ‘F’} quickly expelled the couple from their palace home.  

Countess Margherita pastes on a smile just after the birth of granddaughter Cristiana (below left), but the “fairy tale” marriage soon went dark: “I had a child,” Elsa elaborated, “and after that, only unhappiness” {glum and glummer just months later, below right}.

null

“My mistake was to get married,” Martinelli moaned after separating in 1960, “not that I married the wrong man. Marriage spoils everything: it creates boredom and overexposure” {not to mention lack of desire to go down for the Count}.  

She looks more interested in doing so for her ‘sponsor’ Kirk Douglas—who visited the pair with his wife in Rome (below left) when trying to get Elsa to ‘do’ Spartacus. Martinelli hooked up with Kirk again a half century later and ironically, she was the youngest yet first to go—Kirk and Anne Douglas are 100 and 98 while Gina Lollobrigida (below right) turned 90 on the Fourth of July!

null

Since divorce didn’t become legal in Italy until 1970—even now a woman must wait nine months to remarry in case she’s pregnant by the former husband—Elsa shacked up for nine years before she could wed lover Willy Rizzo, a playboy photographer. “If a man shares a single hotel room with a woman not his wife,” Rizzo ruefully remarked in 1963, “this is adultery. And all over the world they throw you into prison for this—except, of course, in the civilized nation of France.” Which is where couple cohabited.  

But as she did before, they found out that marriage not only killed their love, they nearly killed each other!  

“Elsa Martinelli battered her hubby Willy Rizzo to a bloody pulp,” read one report of an April 1973 incident “when she came home to their apartment to find him ‘entertaining’ a cute dancer he’d met at the Crazy Horse Strip Club in Paris (below left). Martinelli clenched her fists (below right) …

null

… “grabbed the chick and hustled her out onto the street without bothering to let her put on clothes.

null

“Then Elsa turned her attention to the much-shorter Willy—decking him with a right cross and banged him up so badly that his appearance has been a standard joke among café-sitters for the last week or so.”

null

Martinelli never remarried … but kept ‘up’ a steady stream of lovers the rest of her life.

null

Supposedly as “sensational in bed” as out (below left), leading Latin director Carlo Vanzina called Elsa “the most sexy of all” (below right).

null

And all the time … “at almost 70,” noted one biographer, “she spoke proudly of still thoroughly enjoying her active sex life.”

null

Yet she became “upset” when her devilish daughter “talked openly to the press about her own sex life.” Asked if her mother (below left) “interfered with your choice of partners?” (below right) …

null

… Miss Mancinelli muttered, “No. I sleep with who I want, when I want. I will never accept someone trying to impose on me, especially in bed.”  

And she wasn’t finished: “I am very difficult to satisfy. I need lots of imagination and I love to change positions constantly”—comments that constantly embarrassed Elsa. “I like gentle penetration,” Cristiana kept going (below left), “but need forceful penetration at the moment of orgasm. My favorite position is squatting, with my lover behind me (below right). I love to feel my man’s muscles hitting my behind.” Call it Planet of the Gapes.

null

“I have a certain physique,” Mama Martinelli maintained. “I’m so tall, so lean, so I stand out.” But at 5’7, 122 pounds and measuring 34A-21-34, that wasn’t always a given. Which is why the acclaimed world’s ‘Most Stylish Woman’ became a genius at accentuating her assets to the fullest.  

“Smuggling raisins” as a braless starlet (below left), the signorita pusha dem up for this swimsuit cover.

null

And seemingly went from busty to bony as she aged:

null

Forget the ‘Italian Audrey Hepburn’ hype … Sleuth thinks she looks more like the ‘Julian’ Joan Collins!  

And where there was smoke {and cleavage, below left} there was fire—only the passionate paisan knew how she grew (below right).

null

But there’s no question she became a fixture on the glitterati scene—huffing and puffing her way in the best cars and bars along Italy’s most exclusive avenue.

null

“Rough and muscular,” recounts the Dark Side of Rome, “young studs paraded up the Via Veneto convinced that they, too, could take a starlet or actress to bed before returning home to their mothers.”  

No word on how many might’ve ‘made it’ with Martinelli—but no doubt the amorous actress came to epitomize the ‘Jet Set’ life (below left) of opulence and orgies (below rt.)

null

Her motto, she once said, was: “Nights in Rio, Mornings in New York” … and by all accounts Elsa’s erotic life also traveled at the speed of sound!

null

And if ever there was a rare lull or layover, the brazen brunette could always take matters into her own hands.

null

Yet the course of one fateful night was out of her hands … and it’s said to be the infamous incident “that spelt the end for the fast life of the Dolce Vita era.”  

Elegant Elsa was one of the principal onlookers (below right)—and according to a source, the one “who applauded the most”—when Turkish belly dancer Aiche Nana crashed a private party on November 6, 1958 and “ended up writhing on writhing on the floor in just her black knickers, while being egged on to go even further by drunken aristocrats” (below left).

null

Martinelli’s tablemate was Swedish actress Anita Ekberg, whose disheveled dance had inspired the sultry strip … and though Elsa eventually turned her back on the bawdiness—while sitting on her hubby’s lap (below left) to engage Ekberg—Nana’s nudity (below right) prompted a police raid  at 3:20 a.m. and her arrest for “performing obscene acts in public” and "immoral behavior."

null

But all of the elite attendees like Elsa got off: “The Nude Turk became the ‘fall guy,’” explained an observer, “simply because the Roman authorities knew they had powerful people with whom to contend.”  

“It was the kind of party Nero would have enjoyed,” grinned a guest, and the so-called ‘Greatest Roman Orgy of Them All’ quickly became a legendary event credited with exposing the wild, swinging Jet Set for its decadence and bringing La Dolce Vita {‘The Sweet Life’} international infamy (below left).

null

While inspiring famed Federico Fellini to immortalize Aiche’s act in his 1960 classic film (above right) which brought back attendee Anita Ekberg but couldn’t quite bring off the actual event—due to stiff censors. Thus, Nadia Gray’s floor X•ercises (below left) were quite fur from the factual fleshfest.

null

Though shades of the real deal were present in the persons of Martinelli and Marcello (above right).  

Recognized as ‘The Leading Jet Setter in the Entire World,” Elsa was always ahead of the pack no matter what the mode of transportation!

null

Which made her a favorite of trendsetting designers like Yves Saint Laurent (below left) and Gianni Versace (below right)—whose shocking 1997 murder is the subject of the next American Crime Story season.

null

Perhaps the “first fashion model to make the crossover into film,” Elsa earlier had been the muse of couture icons Coco Chanel and Pierre Cardin. And it’s easy to see why—she pioneered the concept of headwear as ‘hot’ wear (below) …

null

… and hot pants as high fashion.

null

Or even no pants!

null

Martinelli first made lesbianism chic in director Roger Vadim’s 1960 Sapphic shocker Blood and Roses.

null

“Mel Ferrer is planning to be married to Georgia (Elsa Martinelli, below right),” explains the Cult Film review, “who has become good friends with his cousin Carmilla (Annette Vadim). Lust enters into it as well, with Carmilla becoming confused in her sexual attractions” (below left).

null

The book Captive Bodies is more direct in its description: “Blood and Roses stars the director’s then-wife Annette Vadim as a reincarnated vampire who is consumed by lesbian desire for Elsa Martinelli {who wouldn’t be?, below right}. In one particularly memorable scene, Carmilla seduces Martinelli in order to fulfill her same-sex impulses”—culminating in a sensual kiss (below left) which wouldn’t even get cut if this was being made now.”

null

But what was censored was Elsa’s ever-pioneering nip slip … hastily—and amateurishly—blacked out for the film’s promo poster:

null

“Certainly Martinelli and Stroyberg {Annette’s maiden name} rarely look more beautiful,” commented Cult Film, “—one of the benefits of being shot by Vadim, who knew his way around presenting ladies at their physical best.” Randy Roger also knew his way around threesomes—even engaging wives Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda in the practice—so one wonders if he talked Elsa and Annette into continuing their ‘chemistry’ off screen as well {that’s the comely co-stars eating out around the time, below}.

null

“Martinelli was rarely short of something to say,” it was noted upon her passing. “She stayed in Europe because of her declared disdain for the Hollywood system and her dislike of Los Angeles.” Alas, the dark diva’s demanding temper would not be the only explosive thing about her time in Italy.

null

“A letter bomb addressed to her was discovered by Italian police on January 30, 1973,” the press proclaimed. “Fortunately, the device went off in route—catching fire at the Pisa postal station just before delivery to her Rome address.” And we doubt she was wearing a helmet back then (above right)!  

“The best known target was Elsa Martinelli,” detailed the Daily Tribune, “a star in many of the saucier Italian movies of the 1960s. Like her, two other actresses best known for scantily clad roles were earlier sent packages containing bombs—Italian brunette Laura Antonelli and German blonde Solvi Stubing” (below).

null

Two detonated and one was defused, so all three sexpots survived … with Stubing succumbing exactly two weeks before Elsa expired this month!  

Antonelli met her END two years ago … and now we get to meet Martinelli’s both outfitted and outside:

null