It was a vibrant fall day in Geneva, Switzerland, when Sunday Morningfirst visited the home of this true queen of the cinema--a woman who, for half a century now, has possessed the rare glamour, elegance and presence that draws millions to the silver screen.
Sophia Loren, the Italian actress, now 66, has made more than 80 movies since she burst onto the screen as a teen-ager. Virtually a fatherless child of the slums near Naples, she was 15 when the director Carlo Ponti plucked her out of a beauty contest to guide her film career. She and her 88-year-old husband have been together ever since and have raised two sons.
Loren was interviewed for CBS News Sunday Morning at her home in Geneva by Italian TV journalist Lilli Gruber.
If your mother hadn't pushed you so much toward becoming an actress, would you have chosen a completely different career?
"No, of course not, of course not. I think I was born to be an actress. I wanted to be an actress. I still want to be an actress."
Let's make a little footnote on your father. You've seen him only a couple of times in your life.
"No, a little more than that -- I mean three, four times -- I mean little times, yes, yes."
So what have you learned from your father about men?
"No. Nothing, because otherwise my life would have been a mess."
"Well, because my father was not a father. My father was somebody that was coming on and off, without really treating us like we were his own children. So I had to look somewhere else to be able to have a normal life
and I was very lucky to meet on a very young age
my husband, Carlo. And without knowing, I was looking then also for a father figure. And that's what I found in him. What I needed was protection
a person that I could trust
would make me feel serene and tranquil, because I had a very tough childhood. And all these kind of things, I really found in Carlo when I met him."
It seems to me that what is lacking here is passion, which is actually something that you want in a relationship as well.
"Who is lacking passion?"
"Not at all. I mean, I think it goes with it. If you came from the background I came from, the last thing you think about is passion. Because there are so many things that you have to explain to yourself that you want. Essential things. And you can eat anytime you want to. You can have money any time
Then you start thinking years later-- about two or three years later about passion
When I was 19 years old, passion was always there."
Are you sure?
"Yes, I'm sure. But
when you meet a person, you fall in love with a person, and you are in love with this person, do you think that love is always the same from 20 years until they die? No. Love changes. According to the events of life. It must change. I think it's the law."
Is to b sexy something that a woman can learn, do you think?
"Madonna, I don't know. I think if-- I don't know. You are or you are not. It depends on how people look at you, I don't think it's something that you can decide to do."
When did you realize that you were very sexy?
"Never. I don't even know now if I'm sexy."
Come on. You're joking.
"It's true, it's true. I don't know."
But you are known all over the world as a sex symbol, actually. Do you like it?
"When they say so, I like it. Yes. Yes. And I like
to seduce and to be seduced. Yes. I like that."
Have you done it many times in your life?
"No, no, you know my life. Absolutely not. And if I do that, I do it always for joking. Not seriously."
Always just joking.
"Not seriously, no, no, no, no."
"Well, because I'm a woman of a certain age, and I can't do that. I'm a mother to wonderful boys. One is 30, the other is 26 years old. And I would never do that
seriously. I would just do that for joking, playing like an actress. Yes, I do that."
Sophia, let's talk about beauty. Is there a recipe for how to keep young and beautiful?
"Well, I think that you have to -- I think you have to renew life day by day
I think you have to be serene and satisfied for what you are and take from life what generously life offers you still."
Sophia, are you still firmly against plastic surgery, or do you ever think of getting some nips and tucks?
"Well, I'm not against plastic surgery. I think that if a woman is obsessed by her beauty, and she looks at herself in the mirror every day, and she sees a wrinkle here, a wrinkle there, and she
gets this kind of a nightmare all day long, I think you have to do something about it. But otherwise, I think it's absolutely fine not to have plastic surgery. Because if you have plastic surgery, first of all, you change completely your features. And there is no coming back. I like for a person of a certain age to look as she is
and nice healthy wrinkles.
But you have no wrinkles. I mean you're perfect.
"What can I do?"
Are you on a diet?
"No, no, no, no, I cannot diet. I don't overeat. I eat things that are good for me. And I exercise. I walk for an hour every morning in the park, which is very good for your health. And that's all. That's all."
Clark Gable said once about you: "That girl makes you think all the wrong thoughts." And William Holden said, "I never saw so much woman coming at me in my entire life."
Now, with all due respect, Carlo Ponti has never been considered very handsome. And he's 22 years older than you.
"Because they never saw him with my eyes
At the base of the relationship, it's a great love and a great respect for each other. Otherwise, it's impossible. But it's always the woman who keeps the marriage together, not the man. I don't now why."
Why did you say that?
"Because it's true."
Did you ever think of breaking up your marriage?
"No, never, never, no, no."
For more about Sophia Loren, including a filmography, go to Hollywood.com.
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