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Italian actress Mariangela Melato dies at 71

The Associated Press, Friday, January 11, 2013, 3:23am (PST)

ROME (AP) — Italian actress Mariangela Melato, known for her critically acclaimed performance as a spoiled socialite stranded with a sailor she had tormented in the 1974 film comedy "Swept Away," has died in a Rome hospital at age 71.

The Antea hospital said she died Friday. The LaPresse news agency said she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The blond actress had most success in a series of films in the 1970s directed by the Italian Lina Wertmuller, including "The Seduction of Mimi" and "Love and Anarchy."

One of the most acclaimed was the role of a socialite who finds herself stranded with Giancarlo Giannini. Her role was played by Madonna in a 2002 remake.

Melato had less success in Hollywood roles, which included a supporting part in "Flash Gordon" in 1980.

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