Born 1940 as Elke Baronesse von Schletz in Berlin, German actress, entertainer and artist Elke Sommer was spotted by film director Vittorio De Sica while on holiday in Italy, and started appearing in films there in 1958. It was also in this year that she changed her surname from ‘Schletz’ to ‘Sommer’ which was easier to pronounce for a non-German audience.
Sommer quickly became a noted sex symbol and moved to Hollywood in the early 1960s. She also became one of the most popular pin-up girls of the time, posed for several pictorials in Playboy magazine, and one of the top film actresses of the 1960s.
Sommer made 99 film and television appearances between 1959 and 2005, including A Shot in the Dark (1964), The Art of Love (1965), The Oscar (1966), Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966), Deadlier Than the Male (1966), The Wrecking Crew (1968), and The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968); she was the leading lady in each of these films, and won a Golden Globe award as Most Promising Newcomer Actress for The Prize, a film in which she co-starred with Paul Newman and Edward G. Robinson in 1964.
Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of Elke Sommer in the 1960s.