(AGI) Rome, June 22 - Actress Laura Antonelli died in her homeat Cerveteri, near Rome at the age of 73. She was found dead byher carer at about 8.30 a.m. on Monday. Laura Antonelli wasborn in Pola on November 28, 1941 to parents of Istrian origin,and fled the area as a refugee. When she arrived in Rome, shetaught physical education at Liceo Artistico in Via di Ripetta.She worked on Coca Cola TV commercials, took part inphotonovels, and made her debut in cinema. Her first importantrole was in 1969 when she was selected to play the lead inMassimo Dallamano's "Venere in Pelliccia", which was based onthe novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. It was not released dueto the strict censorship of the time and came out six yearslater as "Le Malizie di Venere". In 1971 she became famous withher role in "Il Merlo Maschio", with Lando Buzzanca anddirected by Pasquale Festa Campanile. In 1973 she played thesensual maid in "Malizia", directed by Salvatore Samperi, withTuri Ferro and the young Alessandro Momo. The film made sixbillion lira and became a cult movie, evoking the eroticimagination in Italians and established her as a "sexy icon".She was awarded the Nastro d'Argeto as best leading actress andthe Globo d'Oro as best new actress. As she became famous herfees rose from four million lira to 100 million lira a film.Her rise to fame ended on April 27, 1991, when she wasdiscovered at her villa in Cerveteri with 36 grams of cocaine.She was sentenced to three years and six months for drugtrafficking, but was acquitted nine years later, when the Courtof Appeal in Rome decided she was a habitual drug user but nota supplier. The actress underwent several periods of physicaland psychological distress. These culminated during a longlegal dispute when she sought damages for a cosmetic surgeryoperation which she claimed had disfigured her face. Her claimfailed. .
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