More than six million Italians tuned in for the first installment of a television biopic of screen goddess Sophia Loren, in which she plays her own mother.
With an audience share of 26 percent, "La Mia Casa E Piena di Specchi" (My House Is Full of Mirrors) on Sunday left the Italian version of "Big Brother" in the dust, the Auditel ratings agency said Monday.
Loren, now 75, plays her mother, a tenacious stage mom bent on ensuring stardom for her daughter.
Presenting the film at a news conference last week, Loren could not hold back the tears, saying: "Things stay inside you, you never forget and you can't help it."
"My life was a wonderful fairytale (but also) a story of war, hunger and begging, because that's what my mother did for us: she fought to give her daughters a name and a future that would not be poor."
The two-part series, based on a book by the actress's sister Maria Scicolone, covers Loren's dazzling career, beginning with her role as an extra in "Quo Vadis" (1950).
Margareth Made, 28, who starred in Giuseppe Tornatore's Sicilian village blockbuster "Baaria," plays the young Loren.
But the central character is the mother, Romilda Villani, whose parents thwarted her ambitions for the silver screen, stoked when she won a Greta Garbo look-alike contest.
Villani was determined to realise this broken dream vicariously through Sophia, whom she raised alone along with sister Maria after the father abandoned the family.
In a career spanning more than five decades, Loren played opposite Clark Gable, Peter Sellers, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra, winning a best actress Oscar for her role in "La Ciociara" (Running Away) in 1962.
The biopic also recounts Loren's meeting with the producer Carlo Ponti, whom she married in 1966 and who died in 2007.
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