Sophia Loren? Apocryphal? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: I am trying to recall an observation made in the 1950s or 1960s by a great beauty. I do not remember the precise wording. The essence of the quotation was that her attractiveness was 50 percent actual and 50 percent projected by others. Would you please help me to identify the quote and who said it?
Quote Investigator: The earliest relevant evidence QI has found appeared in a gossip column called “The Smart Set” by Cholly Knickerbocker in December 1957. The adage was ascribed to the film star Sophia Loren, and she combined the insightful remark with a modest self-evaluation. Boldface has been added: 1
So help us, Sophia Loren said it: “Sex appeal is 50 per cent what you’ve got and 50 per cent what people think you’ve got. People think I’ve got far more than I really have. I must not try to disillusion them.”
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1957 December 13, Anniston Star, The Smart Set by Cholly Knickerbocker, Quote Page 6, Column 2, Anniston, Alabama. (NewspaperArchive) ↩