Cardinal prays for dying Fellini

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The Independent Online
ROME (Reuter) - A cardinal visited the deathbed of Federico Fellini yesterday and prayed for the soul of the Italian director who often satirised the Catholic Church in his films.

An evening medical bulletin said the 73- year-old director's condition was critical but unchanging. Doctors had earlier said hopes for his survival were fading. Fellini suffered cardio-respiratory failure on Sunday night.

Italian news agencies said Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, a senior Vatican official, visited the director yesterday at the request of his wife, the actress Giulietta Masina. The hospital chaplain's office meanwhile confirmed Italian media reports that Fellini was administered the Roman Catholic Church's sacrament of the sick, once known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction, on Tuesday night.

Anthony Quinn, who starred in the 1956 Oscar winner La Strada, said he was praying for Fellini: 'I am praying that he remains among us not because he needs us but because we need him.' Anita Ekberg, who played the sex goddess Sylvia in La Dolce Vita, said: 'I am crying and my heart is crying with me.'