Significant People in Sophia Loren's Life and Career


F - I

"She is a survivor and she is a beautiful human being. She's phenomenal!" - Tab Hunter

Sabrina Ferilli

Giuliana Fiastri

Ella Fitzgerald

Basilio Franchina

Angelo Frontoni

Scilla Gabel

Clark Gable

Valentino Garavani

Vittorio Gassman

Cary Grant

Edith Head

Charlton Heston

William Holden

FAVELLA, Adalgisa  (Italy)
Italian hair stylist. She did Sophia's hairdo in most of her films since 1976. Films include: The Cassandra Crossing, Sophia Loren: Her Own Story, Aurora, Courage, The Fortunate Pilgrim, La Ciociara, Sabato, domenica e lunedi, and Soleil. Sometimes credited as Gisa Favella.

FERILLI, Sabrina (Rome, 1964 - )
Italian actress sometimes referred to as Italy's 1990's answer to 1960's Sophia Loren. Although she is not well known internationally, she remains one of the most photographed and most talked about celebrities in Italy. Sabrina and Sophia played together in the mini-series Lives of the Saints.

FERRÉ, Gianfranco
(Legnano, 1944 - Milan, 2007)
Italian fashion designer who as stylistic director - succeding Marc Bohan in 1989 - for Dior designed all Sophia's wardrobe for Prêt-à-Porter in 1994. "She is an adorable woman with a great sense of humor, overwhelming humanity, and charisma. A woman any designer would love dressing, also because she has a perfect grasp of what makes the most of her figure and thus is able to choose her clothes with great confidence." (Ferré)

FIASTRI, Giuliana (Italy - )
Carlo Ponti's former wife, daughter of an Italian general, wedded in 1946 and mother of two children, Guendalina (1948) and Alex (1950). She accepted divorcing Carlo Ponti after she, Carlo and Sophia all became French citizens in 1965. "She was a woman without a trace of bitterness or hostility in her," recalls Sophia, "a woman who, having accepted the fact that her marriage was over, tried to make the transition as easy on herself and her children and on Carlo as she possibly could."

FITZGERALD, Ella (Newport News, VA, 1917 - Beverly Hills, CA, 1996)
Considered one of the most influential jazz vocalist of the 20th century, Fitzgerald has been Sophia's favorite for years. At one time it was said that Sophia's hobby was knowing and singing by heart everything Ella Fitzgerald ever did. Her music was introduced to Sophia in 1956 by Frank Sinatra on the set of The Pride and the Passion. Sophia met the singing legend at the Americana's Royal Box in New York City in April 1963 and at Palais des Congrès in Paris in 1976.

FRANCHINA, Basilio (Palermo, 1914 - Rome, 2003)
Italian producer and screenwriter, ex-history professor and longtime friend of Ponti, he wrote with Alberto Moravia the first story expressly made for Sophia in La donna del fiume. He also participated to the Italian script of The Fall of the Roman Empire and wrote the narration for Sophia in Rome. Always present around Sophia, sometimes seen as her bodyguard or chaperon, he was among Sophia's best friends and people who have influenced the most her career.

FREDA, Franco (Foligno, 1925 - )
Italian makeup artist sometimes credited as Francesco Freda. He has done Sophia's makeup in most of her movies from 1977 on. Films include: Una giornata particolare, Sophia Loren: Her Own Story, Aurora, Courage, Running Away, Sabato, domenica e lunedi, Soleil, Between Strangers, and Lives of the Saints. He appeared in the movie Courage as Henri De Salles and is interviewed in the documentary Cercando Sofia. He published an autobiography in 2006 titled "50 Anni allo specchio senza guardarsi". da.

FRONTONI, Angelo (Rome, 1929 - Rome, 2002)
Italian photographer who followed Sophia's career from the 1960's up to his death in 2002. Frontoni was not a still photographer but rather an art photographer whose pictures have always promoted the beauty of women. He also worked with Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, Ornella Muti, Ursula Andress and many other famous actresses. His photo book Le mie dive/Étoiles dévoilées, published in 1989, features many pictures of Sophia.

GABEL, Scilla (Rimini, 1938 - )
Italian actress (b. Gianfranca Gabellini) and former swimmer who won several Italian championships. She was Sophia's stand-in Boy on a Dolphin for underwater scenes and, because she looked so much like Sophia, she was hired again for Legend of he Lost. Blue-eyed redhead, with the perfect body measurements and the same sort of face, she had in the late 1950's two cosmetic operations that left her face distinctly different from her look-alike Sophia Loren. She appeared in about 48 films in her acting career.

GABLE, Clark (Cadiz, OH, 1901 - Los Angeles, CA, 1960)
American actor and movie legend, he is still known for his role in the American movie classic Gone with the Wind (1939). His role next to Sophia, in It Started in Naples, was his second last before he passed away. Working with him was fun for Sophia and she felt like working with a member of her family, especially because he looked like her grandfather.

GALATERI, Lelio (Naples, - )
Italian dressmaker bearing the title of Count who dressed Sophia and showed her good manners between 1953 and 1955. He sued Sophia in February 1956 in a claim that argued that he did not receive any compensation and that she did not respect a verbal contract. He lost his case in 1957.

GARAVANI, Valentino (Voghera, 1932 - )
Italian fashion designer known as Valentino; in the 1980's Sophia began to patronize Italian designers, particularly Valentino, starting in 1984. He made his reputation as the couturier of the international jet set, including such luminaries of chic as Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Margaret, Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Taylor. He officially retired in January 2008 from the fashion world. Sophia describes Valentino's creations as "feminity, and glamour and beautiful things. His class, his talent, his unparalleled "red", his favorite color, seduced the entire world."

GASSMAN, Vittorio
(Genoa, 1922 - Rome, 2000)
Italian actor who was established as one of Italy's best stage performers before his cinema career took off with Riso amaro in 1949. Gassman was married with Shelley Winter for two years only, from 1952 to 1954. He played opposite Sophia in Questi fantasmi but both actors also appeared together in earlier productions like Anna, Il sogno di Zorro and La tratta delle bianche.

GIANCOLOMBO (Venice, 1921 - Milan, 2005) * born Gian Battista Colombo
Photo reporter in the 1940's and 1950's who founded his own agency in 1950. His pictures appeared over the years in most Italian magazines (L'Europeo, Tempo, Settimo Giorno, Epoca, Le Ore, Gente, Oggi) as well as other leading magazines in the world, such as Paris-Match, Jours de France, Stern and Life. He has probably taken more pictures of Sophia than any other photographers, with the exception of Tazio Secchiaroli. He was considered as a gentleman and a professional although he did the job of a paparazzi. Most celebrities, including Sophia, would oftentimes accept to have their picture taken by him and not by others.

GIROSI, Marcello (Naples, 1902, - 1965)
Carlo Ponti's associate and main man for the production of pictures starring Sophia, especially in America. In Italy, he co-produced L'oro di Napoli, Il segno di Venere, Pane, amore e... and, in the USA, The Black Orchid, That Kind of Woman, Heller in Pink Thights and A Breath of Scandal.

GIUSTI, Carlo ( )
Sophia's agent since the mid-1990's Giusti manages Sophia's career like a typical businessman. He has been criticized several times for the way he has treated parties he dealt with, especially during the preparation of Sophia's son wedding in Budapest in 2004. He was also Sophia's official voice during the making of the 2007 Pirelli calendar.

GOSS, Helen (London, 1903 - London, 1985)
British actress turned speech-and-drama coach who served as Sophia's English coach in the early 1960's on the set of the movies A Breath of Scandal, The Millionairess and El Cid. Goss was seen in British movies in the 40's and the 50's, often cast as a domestic servant. Her roster of film stars has included Vittorio De Sica, Maurice Chevalier, Ava Gardner, Peter Sellers and Ingrid Bergman. "Sophia is a love! I'm devoted to her. She has a marvelous ear for language. She's funny, lively, and so intelligent that I really believe she could master absolutely anything she put her mind to."

GRANT, Cary (Bristol, 1904 - Davenport, IO,1986)
British actor, handsome, witty and charming; he played twice opposite Sophia in The Pride and the Passion and Houseboat. He fell madly in love with Sophia and if she had not been in love with Carlo she would probably have accepted his marriage proposal. In fact, Ponti might have ordered the 1957 proxy marriage - as Houseboat was being filmed - by fear of losing Sophia to Grant. A strange fact is that he called Sophia about two weeks before his death as if he were giving her his farewell words.

HARRIS, Warren G. (USA, 1936 - )
American biographer who has written many critically acclaimed works on celebrities, including Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. His book on Sophia, probably the best biography up to date, was published in 1998 under the name Sophia Loren: A Biography.

HEAD, Edith (San Bernardino, CA, 1897 - Los Angeles, 1981)
Head costume designer at Paramount from 1938 to 1967. Her 34 Oscar nominations and 8 awards make her both the most honored costume designer and woman in Academy Award history to date. The costumes in Houseboat, That Kind of Woman, The Black Orchid and Heller in Pink Tights are all of her creations. "Sophia is the most poised person with whom I've ever worked, thoroughly organized, dignified and slightly formal."

HESTON, Charlton (Evanston, IL, 1924 - Beverly Hills, CA, 2008)
American actor who played in an endless list of larger-than-life roles such as Ben-Hur, Moses, Michelangelo and, with Sophia, Spanish hero El Cid. Sophia got most of the public attention during the shooting which left Heston somewhat bitter at the time. He was picked by the Academy to give Sophia her honorary Oscar in 1991. "She's one of the most remarkable actresses I've ever worked with... and quite an extraordinary woman."

HOLDEN, William (O'Fallon, IL, 1918 - Santa Monica, CA, 1981)
American actor known for his parts in Sunset Blvd. and Born Yesterday, he played opposite Sophia in the British production The Key.  He once said of Sophia: "I never saw so much woman coming at me in my entire life". He reportedly had numerous affairs with Hollywood actresses, including Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Capucine. He found in Sophia a friend who enjoyed working with him despite his bad temper.

HOPPER, Hedda (Hollidaysburg, PA, 1885 - Hollywood, 1966)
American gossip columnist and actress. After the reception party at the Romanoff's in 1957 she wrote about Sophia in her column: "Perfectly enchanting - and very tired. If she weren't such a strong healthy peasant, she would have collpased."

HOTCHNER, Aaron E. (St. Louis, MO, 1920 - )
American writer who put together with Sophia's collaboration the biography Sophia Loren: Living and Loving. Sophia's contribution is not credited. TV film Sophia Loren: Her Own Story is based on Hotchner's book. He is interviewed in the documentary Sophia Loren: Actress Italian Style.

INCONTRERA, Isabella (Milan, 1943 - )
TV and film actress who became a very close friends of Sophia in the mid-seventies.


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Updated 12/31//2013