Ms. Ekberg had kept a low public profile in recent years. She did make an appearance in 2010 at a film festival in Rome, where a new restoration of “La Dolce Vita” was having its world premiere.
In December 2011 it was reported that she was almost penniless, had no family to help her and was seeking financial assistance from the Fellini Foundation while living at a nursing home in Italy, her adopted country. Ms. Ekberg won a Golden Globe, sharing the 1956 award for most promising newcomer with Dana Wynter and Victoria Shaw, but most of her roles focused on her face and figure.
When she traveled overseas to entertain American troops in the 1950s, it was as a sex symbol.
In 1951 she won the Miss Sweden competition, after being recommended to enter by organizers who saw her on the street, and went to the United States to compete for the Miss Universe title.Bob Hope introduced her as “the greatest thing to come from Sweden since smorgasbord” and joked that her parents had won the Nobel Prize for architecture.
Ms. Ekberg’s first credited film role was in “Abbott and Costello Go to Mars” (1953), in which she played a voluptuous guard on the planet Venus.
During the next decade or so she was kept busy in Hollywood movies, including “Blood Alley” (1955), a drama with John Wayne, in which she played a Chinese woman; “4 for Texas” (1963), a western with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin; “Call Me Bwana” (1963), a comedy with Hope; and two comedies with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, “Artists and Models” (1955) and “Hollywood or Bust” (1956).
Romantically linked with Hollywood actors including Sinatra, Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power, Rod Taylor, Yul Brynner and Errol Flynn, she married and divorced twice.
Her husbands were Anthony Steel, a British matinee idol (1956 to 1959), and Rik Van Nutter, an American actor who also appeared in films under the name Clyde Rogers (1963 to 1975).
Mr. Steel died in 2001, Mr. Van Nutter in 2005. She had no children. Hosting a Swedish radio program in 2005, Ekberg recalled shooting the scene in the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
She said it was shot in February, the water in the fountain was cold and Mastroianni was falling over in the fountain drunk on vodka.
In an interview with Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet in 2006, Ekberg said her only regret in life was never having children.
“I would have liked to have a child, preferably a son,” she was quoted as saying. “It didn’t turn out that way. That’s life; you just have to accept it.”
In the interview, published in connection with Ekberg’s 75th birthday, she also said she wasn’t afraid of death.
“I’m just angry because I won’t get the chance to tell others about death, where the soul goes and if there is a life afterward,” she was quoted as saying.