This photo of Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield was taken 57 years ago, but it still looms large. Very large. In fact, it may be the most famous side eye in paparazzi history: Loren, the breakout Italian beauty at the Beverly Hills party designed as her Hollywood baptism reacts to the antics—and assets—of va-va-voomy Jayne Mansfield.
All these years later, Loren spoke to EW on the phone from her home in Switzerland. In the days before the AFI Fest’s tribute to her and the release of her memoir Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: My Life, 80-year-old Loren shares the story behind the stink eye.
EW: This photo was taken when you were still very new to Hollywood.
SOPHIA LOREN: Yes, 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.
What did she do when she got there?
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.
I’ve seen other photos from that same moment when you’re laughing and more light-hearted.
No, no. Well, there may be other photos, but this is the picture. This is the one that shows how it was. This is the only picture.
Can you remember the last time you saw it?
Actually, many, many times I am given this photo to autograph it. And I never do. I don’t want to have anything to do with that. And also out of respect for Jayne Mansfield because she’s not with us anymore.
Read more of Loren’s recollections of her life in photos, including her most memorable roles and the men who punctuated her professional and personal life.