Inside the secret life of Silvana Pampanini: She was once dubbed “The Italian Marilyn Monroe”

The 1950s saw the rise to prominence of Silvana Pampanini, who was sometimes likened to Marilyn Monroe. She began performing and singing shortly after her 1925 birth in Rome. A male singing teacher, encouraged by Silvana’s famous aunt Rosetta Pampanini, entered her in the Miss Italia competition, and suddenly the young woman found herself in the spotlight. She came in second at first, but she eventually became well-known all around the country.

She got her start as a vocal interpreter in music videos, but her stunning good looks propelled her to the status of Italian sex icon. With immediate success in Italy, France, and Spain, Pampanini made the leap to the silver screen in 1947. Her dad became her agent and helped steer her career.

Opportunity knocked in Hollywood when she was dubbed “The Italian Marilyn Monroe” by the New York Mirror, but she struggled with English and stayed in Italy. She later tried her hand at producing and presenting on television.

Silvana left in the early 2000s to take care of her aged parents, and she eventually came back. In 2016, at age 90, she passed away. She lived an unsettlingly alone existence, never marrying or having children.

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