An archetypal blonde bombshell in the tradition of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, Elke Sommer had been born amid the devastation of World War II and raised by her Protestant parents to revere God and animals. Maturing into a strapping young woman who seemed the personification of beauty in nature, Sommer was discovered by an Italian film producer while on vacation in Italy and cast in a string of features, graduating in time from bit parts to lead roles. After a short Continental career and work in France, Spain, England and Germany, Sommer's goddess-like demeanor and sly comic timing drew the attention of the Hollywood studios. An international superstar thanks to plum (and often semi-clad) roles alongside Paul Newman in "The Prize" (1963), Peter Sellers in "A Shot in the Dark" (1964) and Bob Hope in "Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number" (1965), Sommer augmented her celebrity status by posing nude for Playboy , cementing her reputation as a jet set sex kitten. When opportunities dried up in Hollywood, she returned to the Continent for a wide variety of projects, among them Mario Bava's "Lisa and the Devil" (1972), Peter Collinson's "Ten Little Indians" (1975) and Richard Quine's "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1979), which reunited her with Sellers. A fixture on talk shows, award ceremonies and quiz programs, and a fierce competitor at tennis, golf and Formula 1 racing, Sommer sailed past retirement age at full steam, living life to the extreme and entirely on her own terms.