MAGENTA, Italy (January 12, 2007) — Sophia Loren, flanked by her two sons, led mourners Friday at the funeral of her husband, film producer Carlo Ponti, with about 200 residents standing outside the church in silence during the Mass.
Ponti, who died Tuesday at age 94, was buried in the family tomb in this small northern town where he was born. Afterward, the cemetery was opened to the public and dozens of people paid their respects.
Loren waved briefly as she left the San Martino church with her two sons, Edoardo and Carlo Jr., on each side. Italian designer Giorgio Armani, a friend of Loren’s, also attended.
Ponti died at a hospital in Geneva, where he had been hospitalized about 10 days earlier because of pulmonary complications. Ponti and Loren had been living in Switzerland for years.
He produced more than 100 films, including “Doctor Zhivago,” “The Firemen’s Ball” and “The Great Day,” which were nominated for Oscars. In 1956, “La Strada,” which he co-produced, won the Academy Award for best foreign film, as did “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” in 1964.
But his filmmaking career was overshadowed by Loren, whom he discovered and later married.
He was married to his first wife, Giuliana, when he met Loren — then Sofia Lazzaro — about 1950. At the time she was only 15 and he was a quarter-century older.
They tried to keep their relationship a secret, while Ponti’s lawyers went to Mexico to obtain a divorce from Giuliana. Divorce was not yet legal in Italy.
Ponti and Loren were married by proxy in Mexico in 1957, but Ponti was nonetheless charged with bigamy. The couple first lived in exile and then, after the annulment of their Mexican marriage, in secret in Italy. Ponti and Loren became French citizens, and were eventually married in Paris in 1966.