Rosanna Podesta “Helen of Troy”

Italian sex goddess ROSSANA PODESTA who starred as “HELEN OF TROY” has died in Rome at age 79.

Italo news bureaus brought the sad news to her legion of worldwide fans.

Her first big break in the international film market was “Ulysses” (1954) with square jawed titan KIRK DOUGLAS as the titular Odyssean of Homeric legend.

She then attained screen immortality as “the face that launched a thousand ships” as Helen of Troy.

Reportedly, Rossana beat out such screen beauties as Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner but director Robert (“Sound of Music”) Wise selected Podesta while attending the Cannes Film Festival.

Rossana who didn’t speak English is said to have taken a crash course and probably learned her lines phonetically like so many other foreign stars trying to  transition to Hollywood.

Wise’s epic Cinemascope production was beset with problems, including a fire that ravaged much of the film’s Italian set at Cinecitta.

Rossana was injured as well and then developed problems with her eyes.

While the super-spectacular failed to a box office smash, Podesta toplined  other Italo peplum sword-and-sandal flicks of the muscular era including “Slave of Rome”.

She also lent her certain sensuality to director Robert Aldrich’s widescreen epic “Sodom and Gomorrah” (1962).

Rossana’s beauty graced several films directed by her then-hubby screenwriter/director Marco Vicario including “Seven Golden Men” and its sequel "The Big Swindle of the Seven Golden Men".

One of her Rossana’s last film appearances was with Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno as Hercules (1983).

Arriverderci, Rossanna – you walked in beauty like the night…