Not Your Everyday News

Sunday, January 14, 2007

another obit

Sadly, this will be the 3rd obituary I have written here in the last week.
It started with the Ramen noodles king, Momofuko Ando, who died in
Japan last week at the age of 96. Then I spoke of the one and only Yvonne
De Carlo, who died earlier this week at 84. They always say that deaths
seem to come in threes, so here is the 3rd. Carlo Ponti, the famed Italian
film director, died a few days ago at the age of 94. Ponti, who directed
and produced a myriad of films, was actually more famous for being
Sophia Loren's husband. More than 20 years older than Loren, Ponti
'divorced' his first wife and married the starlet in Mexico in 1957. This
resulted in a huge scandal, as divorce was not recognized by the church
or government in Italy at this time (and would not be until the mid
1970's). The Vatican called them "public sinners"; this forced Ponti and
Loren to become French citizens and get remarried in 1966. They would
become part of the jet-set, a power couple on par with Elizabeth Taylor
and Richard Burton. Ponti would go on to produce famed films such as
'War and Peace, starring Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn, and Fellini's
'La Strada', which would go on to win a best foreign film Oscar and pro-
pelled Anthony Quinn into stardom. Ponti was also key in promoting
Loren's career; he produced the bulk of her films, including 'Two Women'
in 1962, which garnered Loren an Oscar for best actress. However, Ponti's
efforts to have his wife star in the 1965 classic 'Dr. Zhivago' failed. As the
producer of the famed epic, Ponti tried to convince director David Lean
to cast Loren as the leading woman, Lara. Lean, however, had made it
clear that 'Dr. Zhivago' would start showing Lara as an innocent 16 year
old schoolgirl. Lean declared that "if anyone can convince me she's a
virgin, I'll let her play the part." That statement was enough to force Ponti
to change his mind about Loren playing the role, and Julie Christie got
the part. Oh well, Sophia Loren may not have been virginal, but Ponti
never wavered in his convictions about his wife. In 2002 he declared "I
have done everything for love of Sophia, I have always believed in her."


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