Film producer Carlo Ponti, the husband of screen legend Sophia Loren, has died. He was 94.
The filmmaker had been hospitalized 10 days ago in Geneva, Switzerland for pulmonary complications and died overnight (Jan. 9), report news souces.
Ponti produced over 150 films and worked with top directors including Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, Michaelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard and David Lean. Despite these career accomplishments, he's best known for discovering a teenage Loren, casting her in a small role, watching her star rise and then marrying her.
Ponti was born near Milan in 1913 and worked as a lawyer before entering showbiz. He stumbled into filmmaking in 1938 when a film producer client at the law firm where he was working was fleeing a fascist-run Italy and needed a replacement.
Throughout his career, he was responsible for producing films such as "La Strada," "Two Women," "Boccaccio '70," "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," "Marriage Italian Style," "Doctor Zhivago" (for which he received an Oscar nomination), "Blow-Up" and "Zabriskie Point."
Ponti was married to his first wife, Giuliana, when he met Loren, who was entered in a beauty pageant. They began a relationship even though she was 20-odd years younger than he. After an failed attempt to receive a Vatican annulment for his first marriage since Italy had no divorce laws at the time, he sent lawyers to Mexico to obtain a divorce. It was there that they were married by proxy. Ponti was charged with bigamy in Italy, causing him to flee to Hollywood. The couple annulled their Mexican marriage and then later married in France when they became citizens in 1965.
He is survived by his wife and their sons Carlo, Jr. and Edoardo. He also had two children from his first marriage, Guendolina and Alessandro.
Loren's Husband, Film Producer Ponti Dies
Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti
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