When you think about Italian beauty icons the first person who comes to your mind is, without a doubt, Sophia Loren.
One of the last living goddesses of cinema, her admirers have been innumerable.
Richard Burton described her “beautiful brown eyes set in a marvelously vulpine, almost satanic face. Stupendously intelligent. Beat me at Scrabble twice. In English yet see her move, swaying like rain.”
Peter O’Toole claimed: “The more I was with Sophia, the more edible she looked.”
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote a song for her, “Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren)” and journalist Pete Hamill wrote: “Her nose is too large, her chin too small Her feet are the biggest of any movie queen since Greta Garbo. But head her in the direction of a camera, set her Etruscan eyes dancing, and Sophia is one of the most magnificent women in the world.”
But the one and only, for Sophia, was her husband Carlo Ponti:
“We were father-daughter, man-woman, producer-actress, friends and conspirators.”
Despite her deep love for her husband and mentor, when she met the handsome Hollywood star Cary Grant on the set of the film “The Pride and the Passion” it was attraction at first sight.
“He has such tremendous concentration. Many actors do not have the courage to stand still. Cary Grant knows how to concentrate, how to look directly at you, but always with great relaxation.”
- Sophia Loren
They saw each other every night, dining in little Spanish restaurants, and they soon fell in love.
Loren recalls that Grant urged they pray together for guidance about whether to leave their partners. He even sent to her daily bouquets.
“You’ll be in my prayers. If you think and pray with me, for the same thing and purpose, all will be right and life will be good.”
He wrote once.
But Sophia’ choice was unexpected:
“You know, I had to make a choice, Carlo was Italian; he belonged to my world. I know it was the right thing to do, for me. At the time I didn’t have any regrets, I was in love with my husband. I was very affectionate with Cary, but I was 23 years old. I couldn’t make up my mind to marry a giant from another country and leave Carlo. I didn’t feel like making the big step.”
After the ending of their secret relationship, the two costarred in the 1958 film “Houseboat”. The chemistry between them was still very strong, and the sexual attraction was impossible not to notice.
Ironically, the only scene left to be shot in Houseboat was the wedding of their characters. That scene would be the only time Sophia got to be the bride-in-white in a traditional wedding.