Sophia Loren discusses her preference in men in 1979

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Italian actress Sophia Loren was named by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest female stars in Classical Hollywood Cinema. The latest installation of BBC’s Talking Pictures explored the life of the actress and how her successful career catapulted her into stardom. In tapes recorded in 1979, Sophia opened up about why she was into older men and revealed she had a complex surrounding her father.

In a rarely seen archive tape, Sophia was at Pebble Mill broadcasting studios, where she was promoting her latest book.

She was asked: “Reading about the attitude to your father who abandoned your mother more than once, and who gave you his name but little else, and yet when he died you…”

Sophia interrupted and explained: “He didn’t only give me his name, he gave me life.

“I am here talking to you because of him, and that is why I forgive anything he did, and I, there is nothing I can reproach from my father.”

The interviewer added: “Well, it’s an enigmatic part of the book, a lot of people may feel differently to you, it’s remarkably forgiving.”

Defending her decision, she explained: “I am not everybody, I am myself, and that is the way I think.”

“The fact that you were without a father throughout your life,” the interviewer began. “Your husband Carlo Ponti is an enigmatic character.

“The depth of the relationship you had, was he in any way for you the father that you never had, as well as husband and lover?”

Agreeing with the observations, Sophia explained: “That is the thing, in life, we choose always the people that we think are good for us.

“I thought I had a great complex because my father never married my mother, and I had a complex, that is why I was always attracted in life by men who were always older than I was.

“Because I needed a father, because I needed to be protected, because I needed a family of my own, and I needed legality.

“I needed a family, and I needed children of my own, in a few words, just to find a balance in my life, to find an equilibrium in my life, I am very happy now that I did.”

Touching on her motivation and desire to be successful, the interviewer asked: “From the very early days, you had a sense of your own destiny.

“Even with very little evidence that it was going to be a successful life, you felt ‘I am going to be someone?'”

“It is something you feel when you are very desperate,” she revealed. “And it is the only thing, I am sure I am going to be somebody someday later in life, but I never knew what was going to happen to me.

“How could I know? But I worked very hard for what I had, I worked very hard to have a profession.

“I worked hard to have a husband, I worked hard to have two children, and I am very happy that I did.”

Sophia won six Golden Globes for her acting career and enjoyed a fruitful and long life, now at the age of 87.

She recently opened up about struggling as the world was plagued by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to AARP THE MAGAZINE previously, she explained: “Sometimes when I say I’m 86, I don’t believe it”, instead “feeling 20”.

Talking Pictures: Sophia Loran is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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