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.
But, as the book shows, behind the mesmerizing olive green eyes
and silken cappuccino skin of her youth was a will of steel and
an exceptional talent.
Such has been her unfading allure that one Roman Catholic
cardinal quipped several years ago that while cloning was
ethically wrong, an exception might be made for Loren.
FROM "TOOTHPICK" TO DIVA
The book starts with Loren preparing a recent Christmas dinner
for her two sons and four grandchildren in her house in
Switzerland. She retires to her bedroom to open the "trunk of
secrets", and begins telling her amazing story.
Sofia Scicolone (she later changed the spelling of her first
name to 'ph' and took the stage name Loren) was born in Rome on
Sept. 20, 1934, the daughter of a frustrated actress whose lover
had refused to marry her.
[to top of second column]
She grew up in Pozzuoli, a poor town near Naples, and remembered
begging for food from U.S. soldiers during World War Two. She was so
thin her nickname was stuzzicadenti (toothpick).
Her mother took her to Rome, where she earned a small income for
both of them by modeling for pulp magazines and winning prizes in
beauty contests. At one contest in the early 1950s she was spotted
by Carlo Ponti, who secured her first roles and was for the rest of
his life the chief architect of her career. She and Ponti, who died
in 2007 at the age of 94, were married for five decades.
In the book she describes her relations with several leading men and
reveals how she cut off an advance by Brando when they were filming
1967's "A Countess from Hong Kong".
"All of a sudden he put his hands on me. I turned in all
tranquillity and blew his face, like a cat stroked the wrong way and
said, 'Don't you ever dare to do that again. Never again!'," she
writes. "As I pulverized him with my eyes he seemed small,
defenseless, almost a victim of his own notoriety. He never did it
again but it was very difficult working with him after that."
Grant was a different story. The two became infatuated in 1956 when
she was only 22 and already romantically linked to her future
husband Ponti. Grant was 52 and on his third marriage.
He asked her to marry him while they were filming "The Pride and the
Passion," and the book includes photographs of his love notes. One
says: "Forgive me, dear girl. I press you too much. Pray - and so
will I - until next week. Goodbye Sophia. Cary".
Prayer was a word that appeared repeatedly in notes from Grant, who
died in 1986. Another reads: "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".
She also describes the 17 days she spent in jail in Italy in 1982 as
part of a plea bargain over a failure to file an income tax return.
At the time she blamed her accountant.
The book is published by Rizzoli in Italy and is due to be published
in English in the United States in December by Atria Books, a
division of Simon and Schuster.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Michael Roddy and Sonya
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.