Sophia Loren, Italy's national icon, turns 80 with book of memoirs

Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:56pm EDT
 
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By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Sophia Loren, Italy's national cinema icon and eternal diva, turns 80 this week and is marking the milestone with a book of memoirs revealing details of her rags-to-riches life.

For the 300-page "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - My Life," Loren went into what she called her "trunk of memories" to fish out old pictures, letters and notes from the likes of Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Richard Burton, not to mention Italian soul mate Marcello Mastroianni.

The result includes plenty of juicy tales, such as how she stopped Marlon Brando's physical advances with a fulminating glare and how Grant suggested they should pray to make the right decision when they were falling in love on a film set.

The book reads like a who's who of world cinema in the past 60 years as it chronicles the life of an illegitimate southern Italian street urchin who became one of the world's most glamorous film stars.

Its title comes from the 1963 three-part comedy anthology directed by cinema great Vittorio De Sica in which she played three different roles. The "tomorrow" part appears to be her way of saying her career is not over. Her last film - an adaption of Jean Cocteau's "The Human Voice" - was released this year.

Each time Loren marks a major milestone it is almost a national event, in part a bittersweet reminder that the boom times she epitomized at the height of her fame are gone.

One television channel has been running only Loren films all week as a tribute to the woman who won two Oscars, first in 1961 for her tragic portrayal of a war-time mother in De Sica's neo-realistic classic "La Ciociara" (Two Women).

Photo exhibitions and roundtables are being held about the extraordinary rise to planetary stardom of a poor teenager discovered by a film producer who later married her and made her what one critic called Italy's greatest export after pasta.   Continued...

 
Italian actress Sophia Loren (L) jokes with Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim after cutting the ribbon for her exhibition at the Soumaya museum in Mexico City September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo