The Story Behind the Photos of Sophia Loren First Met Elvis Presley in 1958

Sophia Loren met Elvis Presley at the Paramount Studios cafeteria while he was filming King Creole, in February 1958. Photographer Bob Willoughby happened to be there and took these memorable shots of Sophia and the King.

According to Bob Willoughby, Loren spotted 23-yr-old Presley eating lunch in the Paramount commissary and decided to go over and introduce herself. Which is to say, she promptly sat in his lap, gave him a kiss, and began mussing his carefully sculpted pompadour. He didn’t mind.

“I bet you wish they would stop screaming” said the beautiful Italian actress. “Never” answered Elvis. “And I’ll tell you why; they cover up my mistakes. Lots of times when I start reaching for a high note I know I’m not going to make it so I just make some crazy movement and the kids scream and no one knows the difference.” He also makes the movements when the music moves him. “You know” he mused, “the hardest thing in the World is to be yourself. Every time I’m myself I get criticized for it”. At this Sophia comforted him: “Elvis I think you are a very nice boy.” “Thanks a lot!” answered Elvis. “You know that’s the worst thing you can say about me”.

The King of Rock ’n’ Roll is one of Miss Loren’s most devoted fans. He turned to one reporter: “You know, I’ve seen every picture she’s ever made. She’s only seen one of mine.” He’d like to team up with the Italian actress when he finishes his two years in the Army. His boss, Hal Wallis even has the script.

When Sophia Loren plopped herself down in Elvis Presley’s lap at a Hollywood lunch and tousled his famous pompadour. “He was very self-conscious, but when one of the most beautiful women in the world musses your hair, there’s not a lot you can do”, Mr. Willoughby told the London newspaper The People in 1994.

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