She came from the working class but worked hard to become an icon in the film industry. Twice. The unstoppable Italian actress recreated her career after putting her family first. This is another installment of the Living like a Pearl series. Find the other stories here.
After working for several years in her family's pastry shop, Lucia Bosè knew she was born for more.
Born in 1931 in Milan, Italy to an industrial farmworker and a homemaker, she grew up in a small town in Lombardy, which was bombed during World War II.
The Italian actress became famous after winning the Miss Italia beauty pageant at age 16 in 1947. Shortly after, she made her debut on the big screen in ‘No Peace Under the Olive Tree’ in 1950. The film was not successful, but nevertheless launched her acting career. Soon after she was cast in Michelangelo Antonioni’s ‘Story of a Love Affair’.
Bosè was at the height of her fame in the 1950s during Italian Neorealism. This unique time period in Italian cinematography is known as the Golden Age of its national film movement, which was characterized by storylines set amongst the poor and the working class, with filming done on location and often using non-professional actors. One of Bosè’s most prominent roles during this time was playing Clara, a would-be actress, in “The Lady Without Camelias” in 1953.
With a preference for playing detached, ethereal beauties, her celebrated and sought-after trademark was her slender yet curvaceous physique.
In 1955, she gave up acting to marry the bullfighter, Luis Miguel Dominguín, Spain’s foremost bullfighter and celebrity, whom she met while filming ‘Death of a Cyclist’ in Spain.
They had three children together, born between 1956 and 1960. During this time, Lucia’s priority was to raise her kids, so her acting took a back seat for several years.
Lucia and Luis’ marriage crumbled due to their different ideologies and enduring marital infidelities, and they divorced in 1968.
After her divorce, Lucia returned to acting full time, right through until her last film in 2013. Her acting career included 59 films and spanned six decades.
Her three children all went on to become involved in the film industry as actors, directors, and musicians.
Lucia died after living a full life on 23 March 2020 at the age of 89 from pneumonia complicated by COVID-19 during the pandemic in Spain.