Sophia Loren’s side eye photo taken by Joe Shere became the most famous side eye in paparazzi history. On April 12, 1957, Paramount, for whom Loren had doneThe Pride and the PassionandLegend of the Lost, handled the official welcome to Hollywood at Los Angeles airport, and 20th Century-Fox, for whom she madeBoy on a Dolphin, threw a huge party at Romanoff’s at which Hollywood’s famous arbiters vied for Sophia’s attention. Lorens’s welcome to Hollywood befitted her multimillion-dollar achievement. She gets $200,000 each for three American films —shots in Europe— already finished.
The party at Romanoff’s was designed as her Hollywood baptism. “All of cinema was there, it was incredible” Sophia said. The guest list also included Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, Shelley Winters, Eva Marie Saint, Rita Moreno, Fred MacMurray, Jeanne Crain and Clifton Webb, who was seated with Sophia. As photographers surrounded her table, Jayne Mansfield, the last one to come, joined her table. “For me, that was when it got amazing”, Sophia Loren said. Mansfield wore a form-fitting silver silk gown “cut so dangerously low that it made a mockery of the word neckline,” in the words of thePhiladelphia Inquirer.
According to Andrew Carthew, reporter of theDaily Herald, “She undulated over to the bar and stood next to me. She explained in a loud voice that she was wearing nothing underneath. I’d noticed already.” Jayne hated wearing what she calledunderthings: “I wore brassieres until I was fourteen and then I abandoned them forever to be free. I like to feel my body free as though I am floating in air. I hate underthings.” She said. Carthew went on. “Suddenly she said, ‘Watch this!’ and wiggled her way over to the Loren table.”
Sophia recalled that moment. “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”.
“Who can-who wants to-read the complexity of expression in Sophia Loren’s eyes as she (not exactly small-breasted herself) regards the prodigious endowments of her companion, Jayne Mansfield? Is it competition? admiration? contempt?”
F. Prose, K. Finley, D. Fo & Ch. Simic. Master Breasts: Objectified, Aestheticized, Fantasized, Eroticized, Feminized by Photography’s Most Titillating Masters. Aperture Foundation 1998.
JOE SHERE, 1917 – 2008
Here’s the description of what took place in 1958 when I took the Famous Classic Mansfield/Loren photo:
Famous restaurant owner Mike Romanoff (catering at the time to all the top Hollywood stars) put the word out to the studios and ALL photographers in Hollywood, that Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield had a reservation for lunch that day.
At the time, Sophia was consideredthesex symbol of Hollywood, while Jayne Mansfield was showing her breasts and the rest of her body to any and all magazines all over the world for the sake of publicity.
Sophia came with a date who was sitting next to her. Suddenly, Sophia’s date left his chair – for whatever reason – and when Jayne saw that, she jumped at the opportunity to grab the empty seat and show off her breasts and smile.
ALL of the 30 or more photographers started to shoot wildly—hundreds of shots—but, ALL MISSED THE CLASSIC SHOT – ONLY Joe Shere made it in that split second – a shot many people and many magazines tried to duplicate since, with models and celebrities, all without my permission, of course. Joe Shere.faheykleingallery.com
“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”, the italian actress said in reference to the photo taken by the photographerJoe Shere. Jayne was photographed at the table during the dinner as Loren looks on at her revealing dress. Mansfield’s dress, which—as she herself admitted—was worn without a bra, exposes more than a generous glimpse of cleavage and even one of her nipples in some photos.
What happened when Jayne Mansfield out-bosomed Sophia Loren
The party at Romanoff’s made Jayne Mansfield widely disliked and infamous on a global scale. Several Italian newspapers, which turned the battle into an international incident, refused to publish the photograph of Jayne in that low-cut white evening gown in wich she tried to prove that she had more of what Sophia has plenty of.
Top Secret Magazine. October 1957.
The two actresses were surrounded by photographers and immortalized in endless photographs, which would later appear in the most famous magazines of the time. The photos of Jayne Mansfield leaving her large breasts almost fully exposed in one of the most renowned restaurants where Paramount Pictures threw a party in honor of Sophia Loren caused a scandal.
As Eve Golden related in her book,Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn’t Help It, 20th Century-Fox’s press department immediately called Jayne on the carpet and stipulated “no more semi-nudes”, instructing her that she would have to have all her photos and dresses okayed by the studio. Somewhat chastened—or at least smart enough to appear so—Jayne made the Louella Parsons Apology Tour.
Mansfield tried to give an explanation by showing herself as a “very quiet home-loving girl”, something confirmed byPeter Gowland: “The thing about Jayne was that she never seemed sexy to me—which is strange because that was the image she was selling. She always came over to me as a mother, because she had animals and children around her all the time.” Someone who “would much rather stay quietly at home with my little daughter, Janie [Jayne Marie Mansfield, a featured model inPlayboyin July 1976], and have a dinner before a fireplace.” Jayne had difficulty restraining the tears because had been held up to ridicule and bitter criticism:
I would like to explain about that dress I wore. I paid $200 for it and I have worn it several times at various affairs and there never was a word said. I can’t say I blame some of the newspaper people for saying it was too low, because when I bent over Sophia Loren too much of me was exposed. I saw it in the photographs and I was shocked myself.The Indianapolis Star, 9 Jun 1957
Robust since the age of ten, Jayne bounced from girlhood into the public eye with a measurement of 41 well-stacked inches in the place where it counts the most. No catch-as-catch-can starlet, Jayne literally brought her mountains to Mohammed, and Mohammed in this instance turned out to be the corps of Hollywood’s hot- shot photographers who know exactly what to do with pulchritude when they see it in their view finders — like shooting sexy pictures for mass exposure. Only in Jayne’s case, it turned out to be a matter of double exposure. For she was willing to bare her altogether in order to attain posterity, and the eager photogs reproduced her bountiful endowments willfully and with skill. With Mansfield popping out of her bras, things came to a point where many menfolk would settle for nothing less than a duplication of Jayne’s monumental mammaries, and a run on the padded bra market appeared in the offing.
Years later, in 1963, Jaynenaivelyinsisted that she didn’t know how much of her bosom was showing, as she told her ghostwriter Leo Guild:
“I chose to wear a gown that was low cut in front. It was the only presentable gown I had which wasn’t in dry dock for repairs or cleaning. True, I didn’t wear a bra—I never do—but then many girls don’t wear bras with an evening gown…. I really had no idea how much of me was showing. I only realized how much was exposed when I saw the expression on Miss Loren’s face and I noticed that she was staring down my dress.”
Obviously Jayne played the classic dumb blond but she was anything but dumb. Maybe she didn’t foresee the consequences but Mansfield knew exactly what she was doing and where she was going. Jayne knew what would happen when she bent over Sophia Loren. She did it many times even with Louis B. Mayer, film producer and co-founder of MGM in a charity ball as cigarette girl.
There’s something mesmerizingly suggestive about great cleavage, the way the whole ingeniously configured architecture of the thing divides and conquers, drawing the eye onward and inward, toward the valley between two swelling orbs, indicating more supple delights just around the curve. Men, women and even children recognize it when they see it, which may be why I’ve always thought of it as one of the female body’s triumphs: the physical embodiment of a come-on, a wink of flesh. Daphne Merkin, “The Great Divide”,NYT Aug. 28, 2005.
As Louella O. Parsons pointed out in an interview with Jayne Mansfield: “She knows where she is going and she hasn’t missed a chance since she came to Hollywood to be seen.”
“When I came to Hollywood”, Mansfield told Parsons, “I was told you have to get in the limelight and if I wanted to succeed I had to go to all the previews and happenings. I know now I must pick and choose the places I go and I must not wear dresses too low, and try to attract too much attention.” The night before, Jayne and Mickey had showed up at theSpirit of St. Louispremiere; Jayne wore a pleated gold lamé gown, and Mickey lifted her above his head in an airplane pose.
Although Sophia Loren said that she had never heard of Mansfield, Jayne was a popular actress who acted in more than ten films between 1955 and 1957. This year Frank Tashlin produced, directed, and adapted George Axelrod’s Broadway play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? which had launched Mansfield to stardom in 1955 (and for which she had won a Tony Award). A clever satire of the world of advertising and the American obsession with consumption, Tashlin’s film version centres on a Marilyn Monroe-like sex symbol (Mansfield) whose endorsement of a lipstick will make or break the career of an adman (Tony Randall). Featuring what most critics believe to be Mansfield’s best work. In this same year—the year that Sophia Loren came to Hollywood—Jayne co-stars with Cary Grant inKiss Themfor Me, directed by Stanley Donen. But Mansfield was also famous because she modeled for the newly mintedPlayboymagazine various times during the 1950s. Photographed by Hal Adams,Playboyknew what it was getting in choosingJaynefor Playmate of the Month in February 1955. In just nine months, from September 1956 to May 1957, Mansfield reportedly appeared in 2,500 newspaper photographs.
Jayne knew how to get the attention of the press, but she was looking for something more than a photo at Romanoff’s. She wanted a duel with the italian beauty. A duel in which the weapons were breasts. Mansfield was a well-endowed woman, Jack Paar once introduced her onThe Tonight Showby saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, what can I say about my next guest, except—Here they are.” A line written by Dick Cavett that enjoyed a measure of fame and became the title of Mansfield’s biography by Raymond Strait. With her 41-21-35 Jayne was in a position tofightwith Sophia, who in recent weeks trimmed her 38-24-38 body to a more svelte 37½-22-36½ because, according toLive, “she knows Americans like their stars bosomy but not too fleshy.”
Jayne Steals The Show At Lindberg Opening
Jayne Mansfield in “Circus Act” at premiere—Actress Jayne Mansfield, who will do most anything to get her picture taken, appropriately resembles an airplane as she signs autographs at “The Spirit of St. Louis” premier here last night. Holding her up is her muscular boyfriend Mickey Hargitey, a onetime Mr. Universe.
The Times San Mateo, California 12 Apr 1957, Fri, Page 20.
Actually Jayne saw herself as betterarmedthan Sophia, so when Loren said “I would never wear a dress like that.” Mansfield answered: “Maybe she can’t afford to wear dresses like this. You know, if you raise a flag it has to have something to hold it up.” She was always very confident in her body and herduelat Romanoff’s, when somebody pointed out to her that she had ruined Sophia’s pubic debut, Jayne just said: “Did I really do that? All I wanted was to show Sophia that we also have bosoms in Hollywood.”
The marvelous breasts of Elaine Reynolds (39 in/100 cm). Playboy‘s Miss October 1959. The symbol of a time, when sex was a quiet topic but breasts were supposed to look like bullets. “Psychiatrists attach a profound significance to the nation’s bosom craze. They point out that the breast is a mother symbol and that the inordinate male interest for the female bosom stems from a subconscious desire to return to the peace and security they experienced as infants at their mother’s breast. Psychiatrists believe that this subconscious motivation has expressed itself to an abnormal degree as a natural outgrowth of the tension and insecurity that characterizes the times.” Frank Thistle, “Big Bosom Boom”. Jem, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1957).
A matter of breasts and also a kind of defensive strategy. The interest in breast was steadily increasing ever since the advent of the plunging neckline, after women emancipated themselves from the flat, boyish look of the Roaring Twenties. Jayne capitalized on the growing bosom craze. In the late 50s, as Frank Thistle pointed out “it seems that our young— and not-so-young— actresses are more concerned with their decolletage lines than their speaking lines. And so is the audience”. Dan Christopher expressed a similar opinion in an article about the benefits of bosom operation in burlesque business: “This is the age of the big bosom and the girl without the proper pectoral attributes is not likely to make much headway in the profession”. In January 1957, Thistle wrote inJeman article entitled “Big Bosom Boom”, in which tried to explain the American fascination for large breasts. “The Bosom has, indeed, reached such proportions as to become a national fetish.” Thistle wrote. “As topics of polite conversation, the mammary glands now rival such red hot subjects.” Wondering about how “did the current big bosom craze get started”, he found the answer in the filmThe Outlaw:
Back in 1939, the eccentric bachelor [Howard Hughes] decided to make a movie glorifying the life of Billy the Kid. As it turned out, Billy’s big guns became virtually soundless compared to the noise created by the bigger weapons of the female lead in the picture. Because, in his search for another Jean Harlow, Hughes had come across a chiropractor’s receptionist named Jane Russell. The Junoesque proportions of this would-be young actress filled both bill and bra.
Noting the sudden success that had come to Jane by flaunting her overflowing bodice in the public’s collective face, a few women who have an overwhelming desire to exhibit a permanent bigger bust went to the extreme and submit to plastic surgery to make their bosom dreams come true. “Then, all of a sudden, the customers started asking for bigger and bigger busts. It was discouraging”, said René André, stripper and for three years a stellar attraction at the El Rancho Club in Los Angeles. She went to a plastic surgeon and emerged with a bustline of 39 in/99 cm (she was possessed of a reasonable 34 in/86 cm). “Nothing has given me more poise” she said. Not only was her bosom increased, but its shape was perfect, its uplift permanent. According to Dan Christopher “René will never again need to wear a bra”. In this age of the big bosom, the duel of Mansfield and Loren was just one of many battles. Evelyn West —who capitalized on the growing bosom boom by insuring her bosom for $50,000 with Lloyd’s of London— claimed that the biggest bosoms in Hollywood were strictly falsie. She said that Marilyn Monroe was way below her claimed 36, can bust the tape at no higher figure than 32 and Jane Russell was “way down from her erstwhile 38 bosom”. Evelyn West even was arrested in 1958 after throwing a tomato at the well endowed Swedish actress Anita Ekberg.
“Highly dangerous bosom-consciousness”
Dr. Schauffler went on to say: “Sex hysteria is instilled in youth by Hollywood influences and the insane emphasis by modern advertising and the press on this semi-respectable sex appendage. The array of bosoms now available to the naked eye is simply appalling.
“Girls scarcely into adolescence already are subject to a bosom inferiority complex and are wearing miniature falsies. As physicians we must under no circumstances disregard the psychic, I may even say psychotic, influence of such matters upon our youngsters. It can easily be serious. Recently in my own practice I have had one attempted suicide and several serious and total mental derangements… caused by real or fancied breast irregularities.”
Blonde film star Mamie Van Doren (who has no bust problem herself) agrees on this point and adds: “I know a girl who has a beautiful bustline but she has worked herself into a near psycho because she measures only 32 inches. She even resorted to falsies to achieve that perfect 36 measurement. On her it looked grotesque.” Frank Thistle,“Big Bosom Boom”.Jem, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1957).
Image: advertising published in Lovelorn, No. 9. Dec.-Jan. 1950-1951
The big bosom boom was a common theme in the press and many men’s magazines published articles about the new fascination for large breasts. Booker Bradley analyzed the “mammary mania” in Duke, the first black men’s pinup magazine, launched in 1957:
In the bosoms versus bottoms controversy, our males go along with Mother Nature who endowed most females with the most where it counts most—in the downstairs department.
But the past decade has seen some radical departures from this concept among free-with-their-hands, white and over-21 males. Where once feminine pulchritude was judged by such old-fashioned concepts as a charming smile, shapely legs and a well-rounded personality down South, beauty today seems measured in inches from right and around to left. The mammary mania has reached its peak, to abuse a cliche, with the “wow-whatta-pair” worship of such kingsize bosom queens as Jayne Mansfield and Anita Ekberg. What it adds up to is that a girl who has it upstairs doesn’t have to worry too much about her substructure any more.
Frank Thistle also mentions the Swedish actress Anita Ekberg, but add “a few of the better-known chest champs”, American and foreign, “who have climbed on the bosom bandwagon”, Diana Dors, Joan Collins, Denise Darcel, Martine Carol, Gina Lollobrigida and, obviously, Sophia Loren. The magazine even published a photo with the cutline: “Sophia Loren, the Italian actress, shows that good legs also go with b.b.’s”. The Loren’s leadership of the well-endowed foreign legion is more evident in other men’s magazines published that same year of 1957:
Sophia Loren Discovers America!
“Following in the tracks of her countryman, Columbus, Italy’s hottest export since pepperoni, strapping Sophia Loren, arrived in this country recently to take the U.S. male by storm. She hit these shores accompanied by her mother, her sister, and a distinct but acquired Irish accent. Sophia’s brogue will be heard in her next film, Desire Under The Elms, with Spencer Tracy. Americans eager for a glimpse of her rangy (5’8″), swelling (38-24-38), from will have plenty of chances in the coming months. Scheduled for early release are The Pride and the Passion with Frank Sinatra and Legend of the Lost with John Wayne. In the future are plans for Bandula, with Ernest Borgnine, and Houseboat, a comedy with Cary Grant. Sophia finds the thought of meeting all these American men stimulating.” Show, June 1957, Vol. 5, No. 6.
In the same line, an article about the Italian movie queens also published in 1957 suggests the idea of a land, Italy, where breasts grow extraordinarily. “Abroad expanse of feminine chest, wide-screen cinema and several million male admirers of bosoms have combined to create fame and fortune for a handful of shapely young Italian ladies, blessed with abundant busts. No one would be rash enough to make the flat statement that bosoms grow bigger in Italy than anywhere else, but with some of the beautiful women who have been transplanted from Italy to the U. S. by means of Cinemascope and Technicolor, one is hard pressed not to make this generalization.” One of those women blessed with abundant bust was, of course, Sophia:
Gina, Sophia and company
Starting out in the 1950 Miss Italy contest (which she didn’t win either) Sophia’s beautiful body, with those two outstanding characteristics which have been the mark of success for many stars, attracted a lot of attention, and got her start in pictures the next year. It was a most auspicious start, too—for at 17, Sophia was already well on the way to the 38-inch bust she now boasts at 19—and the picture gave her a chance to show them off with absolutely nothing concealing them. Sophia is admittedly the chestiest of all Italian film stars, and so far in her young career, is not as embarrassed about her title as Gina Lollobrigida (36″) became shortly after her screen successes.After Hours, Vol. 1 No. 3. 1957.
But Sophia Loren wasn’t only “the chestiest of all Italian film stars” or even the “Italy’s bosom queen”, during the early part of her career before she won world renown she appeared in some pictures that featured her stripped down to the waist. In France—where censure was much less oppressive than in Italy—the filmEra lui… sì! sì!(1951) included a few shots of a topless Sophia as a sculptural odalisque in damask and veils. Likewise Loren swam naked (to be exact semi-nude) inDue notti con Cleopatra(1954). Finally she arrested audiences internationally with her wet, see-through attire inJean Negulesco’s filmBoy on a Dolphin(1957) as she emerges from the sea the wet, skimpy clothes highlighting her most outstanding assets.
In this context, Jayne Mansfield could see in Sophia Loren the most prominent actress of a new batch of well-endowed competitors from Europe. A real threat. Loren was right when she said that she was so frightened that everything in Jayne’s dress was going to blow”. Because everyhing in her dress was an explosive device, a weapon with which to defeat someone who Mansfield saw as a threat to her position in Hollywood.
Six years later Jayne Mansfield made history when she appeared nude inPromises! Promises!(1963), the first to feature a mainstream star during Hollywood’s sound era. Marilyn Monroe had filmed her nude scene skinny dipping in a pool forSomething’s Got to Givea year earlier, just before her tragic death in 1962, but it was scrapped after she was fired from the project.
“Sophia at Peak of Her Busy Career”,LIFE6 May 1957.
May Mann, Jayne Mansfield: A biography. Drake Publishers, 1973
A. E. Hotchner,Sophia, Living and Loving: Her Own Story. Bantam Books, 1979
Marinella Carotenuto,Sofia Loren. The quintessence of being an italian woman. Mediane sr, Milano 2009.
Pauline Small,Sophia Loren: Moulding the Star. Intellect Briston, UK /Chicago, USA 2009.
Eve Golden:Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn’t Help It. University Press of Kentucky, 2021.
Sophia Loren Net Worth.
|Net Worth:||$150 Million|
The 84-year-old is wheelchair-bound for her part in the movie, the title of which translates from Italian to The Life Before Us. She was spotted shooting in Bari, Italy, in a red dress with a gold floral pattern, covered in a red shawl or large scarf. Her hair unkempt, she looked virtually unrecognisable.
Loren Yellow, new to AW16, was inspired by the magnificent eyes of Sophia Loren- that have just a tint of yellow to her hazel eyes. This colour represents her as an actress and reflects her playful, cheerful roles.
Both the 38‐year‐old Italian movie star, who suffered four miscarriages during the childless first 11 years of her marriage, and the baby were reported to be in fine health.