Classic Hollywood #16 – Sophia Loren & Jayne Mansfield

When Legends Meet – Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield

One of the more infamous publicity incidents in Hollywood history captured in photographs, took place on April 12, 1957 at a party held at Romanoff’s Restaurant, 240 South Rodeo Drive, to welcome Sophia Loren to Hollywood.

Loren, the Italian beauty, was sitting at a table with gossip columnist Louella Parsons and film star Clifton Webb.

Then Jayne Mansfield walked in.

Mansfield cordially came up to Sophia Loren, shook her hand and then proceeded to lean over for the photographers crowding around Loren’s table. They snapped away as Mansfield sat down to join Loren.

The plunging neckline on Mansfield’s dress displayed too much skin (for 1957) and Loren was captured a few times casting furtive glances of Mansfield’s overexposed breasts.

A night that was supposed to have the spotlight shine upon Sophia Loren was stolen by the queen of one upmanship.

This photograph below says it all. You’ve heard the saying, “if looks could kill.”  What was Sophia Loren thinking at this exact moment?

UPDATE 2018 – The question “what was Sophia thinking?” was answered by Sophia herself at the TCM Film Festival in 2016.

Sophia said, “I was worried and because I said how does she do? Being so much like this that everything does not fall off. I was curious I wanted to know what it was. Technically.

But even now when I receive a picture to sign (from the encounter) I never sign the picture. No, no, no. For her, for her memory.”

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13 thoughts on “Classic Hollywood #16 – Sophia Loren & Jayne Mansfield

  1. Paola

    Ms. Sophia Loren was thinking what all of us girls think when we see a classless specimen around us: “This dirty, filthy animal”. Just look at her upturned lip at the corner, that is a half of smile, mixed is with pure disgust. Sophia looks like she’s just about to crack up laughing, and puke. All at the same time. While the specimen….well….she’s just a filthy specimen.

    Reply
    1. Jim

      Sophia Loren would never look down on another actress like that. Instead Ms. Loren probably pointed out to Ms. Mansfield that one nipple had been exposed and the other was about to play peek-a-boo as well. I can just think of Jayne politely excusing herself and going to the ladies room to readjust a few things. When she returned to the table she had to have been still embarrassed. I am sure Sophia Loren said something like “Relax Miss Mansfield. We all get stuck in situations we don’t want to be in.” Whether they became friends, and possibly good friends, is anybody’s guess. I would like to think they were friends until Jayne Mansfield had died.

      Reply
  2. Beatrice Maude

    Indeed Jayne’s cleavage is over the top but I wish my boobs looked that fantastic. Sophia Loren simply couldn’t compete on that particular occasion. Vulgar? Yup, but unforgettable.

    Reply
  3. SuzyQ~

    “Sophia was & Is All Class!!” Jayne often looks like she was trying way too hard!! She came across as a very insecure person…

    Reply
  4. Desiree

    If you look closely, Jayne’s left nipple was about to be exposed. I’m sure the furtive glance meant “Those things are going to fall out of her dress if she’s not careful!”

    Reply
  5. BB

    The famous “if looks could kill” photo on the bottom was parodied in the TV show “Modern Family” fifth-season episode, “iSpy” with Julie Bowen as Ms. Loren and Ms. Vergara as Ms. Mansfield. Very funny episode.

    Reply
    1. Veronica Starlite

      Sophia was thinking no such thing. She was interested in how the gown was constructed as to be able to contain Ms. Mansfield on a technical level. In fact when people ask Sophia for her autograph and offer her the “side-eye” photo, she refuses and says “No,no, no, not that one. I will not tarnish her memory, Jane was a lovely person and a better friend.” Before you run your forked tongues perhaps you may want to read up on the topic being discussed so you don’t look like rude, cuthless idiots, like you do right now. I hope you enjoy your read.

      Reply

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