Okay, so we don’t have the rights to the picture in question, which I hate, but I guarantee you’ve seen it. It’s one of the most famous celebrity candids ever taken. It happened at the same Beverly Hills party in 1957 as the one above, which was meant to be the coming out party for Italian actress Sophia Loren, the Angelina Jolie of her day. Loren was sitting at her table when Jayne Mansfield, the Kate Upton of her day, sauntered over with her heaving breasts hanging everywhere, her nipples clinging to the last stitch of her dress like Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger. Mansfield sat down, and photographer Joe Shere caught Loren just as she gave Mansfield’s breasts the world’s most suspicious side-eye, as Mansfield smiled like an eager golden retriever, capturing an iconic moment of fourth-wall breaking years before that was even a thing.
The now 80-year-old Loren has a new memoir coming out, and recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the famous photo. Jayne Mansfield is dead, but the power of her tits lives on. Let’s learn from this.
EW: This photo was taken when you were still very new to Hollywood.
SOPHIA LOREN: Yes, Paramount had organized a party for me. All of cinema was there, it was incredible. And then comes in Jayne Mansfield, the last one to come. For me, that was when it got amazing.
What did she do when she got there?
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.
I’ve seen other photos from that same moment when you’re laughing and more light-hearted.
No, no. 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.
Can you remember the last time you saw it?
Actually, many, many times I am given this photo to autograph it. And I never do. I don’t want to have anything to do with that. And also out of respect for Jayne Mansfield because she’s not with us anymore. [EntertainmentWeekly]
It’s the ultimate testament to that photograph that everything Loren says about it is more or less redundant if you’ve seen the photo. It’s so rare for a paparazzi photo to have such lasting appeal – no one even remembers Alec Guinness telling that photographer from the Saturday Evening Post “suck my d*ck, you f*gg*t.”