Famous Italian actress Sophia Loren September 20 turns 83, and she still looks great and continues to travel around the world. Her last visit to Russia took place in the spring of this year, and before that she was a frequent visitor here even in Soviet times. And then a lot of funny situations happened to her.
Sophia Loren's first visit to the USSR took place in 1965 - the actress presented Vittorio de Sica's film "Marriage in Italian" at the IV Moscow International Film Festival, where she performed the main role. For the first time, the Soviet public greeted a foreign celebrity with caution: in the newspapers they called her a "made" and "fake" star, because so often she appeared on the screens thanks to her husband, the famous film producer Carlo Ponti. In addition, then he was still her "secret" husband, because at the time of their acquaintance he was married, and the Vatican did not give him permission to divorce for a long time. Officially, they were able to formalize the relationship only in 1966.
The star was accompanied by Carlo Ponti and Simon Schifrin, his French partner, the owner of the film company. Among the Soviet escorts were the director Grigory Alexandrov and the photographer Valery Gende-Rote, who was then working in the foreign editorial office of the TASS photo chronicle. When Soviet officials saw an Italian movie star descending the plane, at first she seemed too arrogant and unapproachable to them. But, as Gede-Rote argued, in the process of communication, Sophia Loren turned out to be very simple and friendly. The actress did not mind being photographed, she only asked that it did not interfere with her work.
Unlike modern film festival ceremonies, there were no red carpets or security guards to keep audiences away from the stars. Anyone could approach Sophia Loren. Valery's daughter Gende-Rote said: "".
Often parents asked Sophia Loren to be photographed with their children, and the actress never refused. At that time, she did not have her children yet - for a long time she could not get pregnant, and therefore she treated all the babies very anxiously. The daughter of Gende-Rote says: “”.
At the 1965 Film Festival, Sophia Loren was voted Best Actress for her role in The Italian Marriage. The official part of the closing ceremony of the festival took place in the Palace of Congresses, right in the meeting room of the Supreme Council. And after that a reception was organized in the St. George Hall. Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti then showed the inner chambers of the Kremlin palaces.
Sophia Loren's next visit to the USSR was longer: in 1969 she came here with Marcello Mastroianni for two months to shoot the Soviet-Italian film Sunflowers. The duties of an interpreter on the set were performed by a KGB officer Igor Atamanenko. Later he recalled: "".
The shooting took place in the Tver region, and the local authorities showered the visiting celebrity with bear skins and painted wooden spoons. And after the end of filming, they staged a grand feast, during which the actress admitted that she had finally become a mother a year before filming. In order to give Carlo Ponti the long-awaited heir, she had to spend almost the entire pregnancy in bed. In gratitude for the birth of her son, her husband presented her with a chic set with diamonds, which was soon stolen from her in an American hotel, threatening her and the child. She was so worried about this story that her husband, in order to distract and calm her, agreed to finance the film "Sunflowers", for the shooting of which she arrived in the USSR.
After that, Sophia Loren visited Russia very often, including after the collapse of the USSR, and said that she felt at home here. She has a special relationship with a Russian artist. A novel in pictures of 30 years long: Sophia Loren and Nikas Safronov.