- Birth name:
- Giovanna Scoglio
- Date of Birth:
- 30 April 1934 Liverpool, England, UK
- 5' 8" (1.73 m)
This tall, dazzling, yet shy and painfully sensitive foreign import was born Giovanna Scoglio in Liverpool, England but moved to Sicily with her aristocratic Sicilian father and Irish mother at three months of age. She migrated to New York at age 14 and attended Bayside (Queens) High School, graduating in 1952. She worked various jobs as a file clerk and airline reservations taker while studying with Stella Adler and the Actors Studio. While appearing as a contestant on a television game show, a Universal Studios agent spotted her and placed the young beauty under contract in 1954.After a few starlet bit parts, Gia earned good notices for her "second lead" role in The Price of Fear (1956), which led to even better love interest parts in The Garment Jungle (1957) with Kerwin Mathews, Don't Go Near the Water (1957) opposite Glenn Ford, The Two-Headed Spy (1958) paired with Jack Hawkins, The Angry Hills (1959) starring Robert Mitchum, and Wernher von Braun (1960) [aka I Aim at the Stars] with Curd Jürgens. Her best known film role came as Anna, the Greek resistance fighter, in the classic all-star epic film, The Guns of Navarone (1961).From there things began spiral downhill for Gia personally and professionally. Riding on the coattails of her ever-rising glamour and success were those deep-rooted insecurities, and she began to drink heavily as compensation. She eventually lost her contract at Universal due to her unreliability, which forced her to seek work overseas. Her marriage to actor Don Burnett burnt itself out, and, at one point, she threw herself off the Waterloo Bridge in desperation. She would have drowned in the Thames River had a passing cab driver not plucked her out of the water in time. Her alcoholic addiction led to numerous arrests, and her bouts with depression grew so severe that she was forced to undergo frequent psychiatric observations. On April 30, 1972, it all ended for her. Gia was found dead in her Hollywood Hills bedroom of an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills, another Tinseltown statistic. It was listed as a suicide.