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The One Famous Photo Sophia Loren Will Never Autograph for a Fan

The iconic shot of Loren and another Hollywood star was taken in 1957.

Giving someone the "side-eye" is nothing new. Just ask Sophia Loren. One of the most famous photos in Hollywood history shows Loren giving fellow actor Jayne Mansfield a dirty look—specifically aimed at her cleavage. The 1957 photo is so famous that it has its own Wikipedia page, and a lot has been said about the picture over the years, including by Loren herself. In fact, in one interview, the now-87-year-old actor explained why she'll never sign it for a fan. Read on to find out more about the story behind the notorious shot.

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The photo was taken at an important party for Loren.

Sophia Loren and Carlos Ponti at her Paramount Pictures party in 1957
Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The famous picture of Mansfield and Loren (which can be seen here) was captured at a party thrown in Loren's honor in April 1957. The Italian star, who was 22 at the time, was already popular in Europe, and Paramount Pictures threw a party welcoming her to Hollywood.

"All of cinema was there, it was incredible," Loren told Entertainment Weekly in 2014. "And then comes in Jayne Mansfield, the last one to come. For me, that was when it got amazing."

Loren was worried about something happening.

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield at Loren's Paramount party in 1957
ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Loren explained that late arrival Mansfield knew what she was doing and that all eyes would be on her.

"She came right for my table. She knew everyone was watching. She sat down," Loren recalled. Then, she explained why her eyes are looking where they are.

"And now, she was barely… Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes?" Loren said. "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.

Loren was asked by Entertainment Weekly why other photos from the party show her looking more lighthearted and friendly with Mansfield. "Well, there may be other photos, but this is the picture," she replied. "This is the one that shows how it was. This is the only picture."

She has two reasons for refusing to autograph the photo.

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield at Loren's Paramount party in 1957
Bettmann / Getty Images

Loren told Entertainment Weekly that she's refused to sign the shot countless times over the years.

"Actually, many, many times I am given this photo to autograph it. And I never do," she said. "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." Mansfield died in a car accident in 1967 at only 34 years old.

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Mansfield pulled several publicity stunts during her career.

Jayne Mansfield at a press reception for "Oh for a Man" in 1957
Evening Standard/Getty Images

Stealing attention from Loren at her party wasn't Mansfield only publicity stunt. The actor was known for playing up a "dumb blonde" persona and orchestrating ways to get more attention from the press. For instance, as reported by Little White Lies, she once jumped into a pool at a press junket for a Howard Hughes movie and let her bathing suit top come off. According to Roger Ebert, when she and her husband Mickey Hargitay were found after their boat capsized in the Florida Keys, the press even thought that was a publicity stunt, but Hargitay denied this.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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