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Originally published in The New York Daily News on September 19, 2003

Sophia and son

It's nice to have a mom who can work a crowd. Sophia Loren did an expert star turn for photogs at the Bryant Park Hotel party for "Between Strangers," the WE cable movie in which she's directed by her 30-year-old son, Edoardo Ponti.

Ponti huffed when asked about an Italian reports that Loren has an illegitimate daughter, fathered by Marcello Mastroianni, living in Naples.

"It's completely ridiculous," Ponti told The Daily News's Joe Dziemianowicz. He suspects the tabloid tale stems from his own movie's story about an unhappy housewife who comes to know the daughter she abandoned as a baby.

* * *

To: Editor, New York Daily News
From: John Palcewski


There is entirely more substance to the Sophia Loren illegitimate daughter story than is suggested by Edoardo Ponti’s huffy denial, as described in the Daily News story of September 19.

Very recently I learned from three independent sources here on the island of Ischia that all the old-timers know that Sophia gave up a daughter named Maria for adoption in 1964. They say it’s common knowledge on the island, but nobody speaks openly about it out of respect for Sophia.

Here is what amounts to a compelling circumstantial case.

In 1963, Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni were working on the film "Ieri, oggi, e domani," in Naples. Despite Sophia’s being married to Carlo Ponti, there is no question she and Marcello were lovers. Their affair began in earlier movie projects. In Sophia's 2001 authorized biography she openly acknowledges she got pregnant “for real” during the filming of a story of a pregnant woman--but subsequently "lost" the baby in the fourth month. (“Sophia,” Stefano Masi, p.99)

Assuming there was no miscarriage as she claimed, it’s reasonable to speculate that Sophia couldn't terminate the pregnancy by way of abortion. And she couldn't keep it because Carlo would never accept a child not his own. Giving it up for adoption was the only available choice.

As cited in your article, Sophia's most recent film, “Between Strangers,” in 2002, is one she co-wrote with her son, Edoardo Ponti, the director, in which she plays the role of a woman with a dark secret--a daughter she gave up for adoption a long time ago and has been struggling with guilt and regret all these years.

Obviously the actress has a great interest in advancing the writing and directing career of her son Edoardo. Drawing upon personal experience would be useful in her giving a powerful and convincing performance. It also could be seen as an oblique expression of her guilt and longing to reconnect with her daughter.

Sophia was an illegitimate child, as was her sister, Maria. When Sophia got rich being a movie star, she approached her biological father, Riccardo Scicolone, and paid him a large sum of money to formally recognize her sister Maria, also Scicolone’s daughter. She insisted he do this because she couldn't stand Maria being taunted by schoolmates as a child born outside marriage. This underlines how much Sophia loves her sister. So it's not surprising that she'd name her own daughter Maria.

Although it’s an ironclad Italian tradition to name a child after parents, grandparents, or other close relatives, there are no Marias in her adoptive family.

Finally, there is a strong physical resemblance between Maria and Sophia, and a resemblance as well to Marcello, her co-star. Maria looks like no one in her adoptive family. Some recent photos of her--and other more detailed information--appear on the websites below.

If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.


John Palcewski

Media Coverage of Sophia Loren Story

More Media Coverage

About John Palcewski & Imagenovel Concept

Photographs of Maria

In her authorized biography, Sophia acknowledges pregnancy
during 1963 Filming of “Ieri, oggi, e domani”

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This is brilliant and exciting! It's better than that movie she's shooting!

Wow...this is great reading! Thanks for sharing

You've done such a complete job with this. How blessed she is to have someone who loves her so much.

Hopefully, soon Sophia will perhaps at least agree to bloodtests, if only to silence you. I mean that in the nicest way, everyway I type it comes out odd, I do hope you know what I mean.

Please tell Maria that I continue to hope for the best with her.


We both deeply appreciate your kind, supportive words. As for bloodtests, Maria's position is that by now Sophia knows exactly who her daughter is. And what Sophia says--or doesn't say--in the following days will reveal a part of her character that has not yet seen by her audience. Thanks again for your comments. They are of tremendous help in this sad & painful situation.

One would think that a human being, who presumably has a heart beating inside them, would want to find the truth in a situation like this... and if it turns out to be the case, get to know their own child.

It's disturbing to think that someone would think/act otherwise.

Whenever Maria gets into a crisis the very first thing she does is disappear and hide in silence for four to six weeks, which is precisely what she did last August when she learned she was adopted.

It takes Maria a LONG time to work through things. So it does not surprise me that Sophia might be inclined to employ the same defensive strategy.

Plus, Sophia doubtless is concerned about how her husband Carlo, now 90, might react. Or how her multitude of fans around the world might view her in this new light.

It's a highly complex and painful situation, with no apparent easy solutions.

But I believe love and honest communication have a better chance of bringing a resolution than silence.

'But I believe love and honest communication have a better chance of bringing a resolution than silence'

I agree 100%.

Any way you look at it this situation seems difficult for everyone, especially Marie. She must be feeling both excited and scared.

But communication is the only way to find resolution and hopefully peace.

Best wishes to you both.

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