BBC’s Talking Pictures explored the life of the Italian actress who became an icon of classic Hollywood cinema. In archive footage of an interview with Terry Wogan, Sophia Loren candidly reflected on her prison experience from two years prior, where she admitted her 18 days in jail had “left a scar” and suggested she regretted her decision to pay for her crime in this way.
The Oscar-winner was found guilty of tax evasion in 1982 and spent 18 days in an Italian prison.
“In 1982, you went to prison,” Terry stated during a 1984 interview with the glamorous actress.
“Yes,” she replied, looking uncomfortable. As the audience let out a small chuckle, she remarked: “There’s nothing to laugh about.”
“No I’m sure there isn’t,” Terry replied. “What sort of effect did that have on you?
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“Did it change your life, did it change your approach to life?”
“Listen, I decided to do that on my own because I thought it was the only possibility for me to go back to Italy and to see my mother, my sister, my nieces and my other relatives,” Sophie explained.
“And I couldn’t do anything else, so I went. But I didn’t know what I was going to find there.
“And… it’s something, it’s an experience that I will never forget and it’s a traumatic experience for me.”
“Yeah, because you’ve been reading the wrong papers,” she argued.
“No, it was only a question, I didn’t read it in any of them,” Terry claimed.
The then-50-year-old went on: “I read in the papers that I had pink carpet on the floor, that I had a big bathroom, and that I was treated – that I had a television, a colour television.”
She asked: “You believe me? I was in prison like everybody else and I had to be among all these girls that had committed crimes and it was not an easy experience for me.”