Ms. Milo had three children by two partners, and her private life was often fodder for tabloids and glossy magazines. With gaps of varying lengths — including a lull that began in the late 1960s when she raised her children — she worked until her death, most recently on reality television shows.
At 77, she participated in the Italian edition of “Celebrity Island,” in which low-buzz celebrities are plunked into a wild habitat to fend off nature; she was eliminated in the semifinal round. Last year, she was a contestant on the Italian edition of “The Masked Singer” and participated in the second season of an Italian reality program tracking the adventures of three so-called golden girls (average age: 80).
Sandra Milo was born Salvatrice Elena Greco in Tunis on March 11, 1933. She moved with her family to Tuscany as a toddler and recalled experiencing fear and hunger during the war.
Her mother called her “Lily,” she said in the 2019 documentary, but she didn’t like it. “It felt too light,” she said, and it did not reflect who she was. She chose the name Sandra, she explained, because the first syllable, “san,” is soft “like a caress,” she said, while the second, “dra,” “is very harsh, very dry, and resembles me because I am that too.”
She chose the last name Milo after a photo shoot she had done in a town outside Rome was published with the caption “The Milo of Tivoli,” a reference to the “Venus de Milo,” she said in an interview.
After a marriage at 15 that lasted only 21 days, she moved to Milan to model and then to Rome to act. She found work and got her big break in 1959 when she acted in Rossellini’s “Il Generale Della Rovere,” a critical and box-office success. Two years later, she worked with him again on the drama “Vanina Vanini,” but that movie flopped so badly, and her performance was so viciously panned, that it nearly derailed her career.