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.
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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.
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”