It’s one of the most iconic old Hollywood photos of all time – Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield sitting at a dinner table, with Loren eyeing Mansfield’s risqué dress and exposed nipple. Loren, now 80 years old, finally talked about what was going on in the photograph. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she discussed the events that led to the famous photo.
"Paramount had organized a party for me. All of cinema was there, it was incredible. And then comes in Jayne Mansfield, the last one to come. For me, that was when it got amazing,” Loren said.
Loren continued, “She came right for my table. She knew everyone was watching. She sat down. And now, she was barely… Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes? I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow — BOOM! — and spill all over the table.”
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) November 6, 2014
The party happened back in 1957 and was thrown to welcome Loren to Hollywood. It was also the same year when she starred in one of her earliest Hollywood films, The Pride and The Passion. She was 22 years old, while Mansfield was about to turn 24.
Mansfield was a popular sex symbol at the time, and when she arrived at the party, she clearly upstaged the Italian film star.
While the photo was the most famous photograph of Loren and Mansfield together, Loren refuses to sign any autographs on it. She discussed her reasons for not signing it in her memoir Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: My Life which was released on November 4. In it she says, “I refused to autograph it. Hidden behind Hollywood's enchanted kingdom were some coarse and grotesque sides, which I refused to have anything to do with.”