Crowds danced and sereneded jailed movie siren Sophia Loren...


CASERTA, Italy -- Crowds danced and sereneded jailed movie siren Sophia Loren today and the actress blew kisses to the throngs from a prison window as she was escorted by a warden who called her 'the queen of Naples.'

Franco Fabrissi, who said he grew up across the street from Miss Loren in the poverty-ridden Naples suburb of Pozzuoli, said the singing and dancing went on until 1 a.m.


The well-wishers danced the Tarantella, a traditional southern-Italian folk dance, and sang songs of Miss Loren's native Naples.

Miss Loren, 47, is serving a 30-day sentence for tax evasion although there was speculation her sentence might be reduced.

At one point, a prison official brought Sophia from her cell to a prison office window overlooking the street to wave to the singing crowd and blow them kisses. He called her 'The queen of Naples'.


Fabrissi said Miss Loren 'helped a lot of people in Pozzuoli and Naples who were poor and deserving and she doesn't deserve to stay in this jail. We are hoping the president will accept the will of the people and grant her a pardon.'

The movie star's sister Maria Scicolone, who visited her in jail today, said Miss Loren slept well in her pink cell at the rear of the jail despite the serenading. The cells of the prison have no bars at the windows and the balconies are covered with flowers.

Maria said flowers from all over Italy and many other countries were pouring into the prison for her sister. She also was making and receiving telephone calls, including one to her husband, movie producer Carlo Ponti, who remained in Switzerland with their two children when Sophia flew to Rome Wednesday to turn herself in.

Maria said it was too late to make a request for a 'semi-liberty' regime,under which certain prisners are allowed out of jail in the daytime but must return at night. She said the only hope of early liberty was President Pertini granting a pardon.

'We hope President Pertini will understand the problem,' she said.


Miss Loren began her first day in jail with a breakfast of warm milk and cookies, prison officials said.

The officials said only women -- five nuns and four female guards - had contact with Miss Loren and the other 25 inmates of the women's jail at Caserta, 25 mile northeast of Naples.

Miss Loren was taken to the Caserta prison, a 19th century building in the heart of town, under police escort after arriving in Rome from Geneva.

She knew that on arrival she would be arrested and made to serve a 30-day jail sentence imposed on her in July 1980 for failing to pay $180,000 in supplementary taxes for the years 1963-64.

She maintains the taxes were not paid because of a mistake by a tax accountant who later died.

A prison official said Miss Loren was alone in her cell, furnished with a television as well as tables, chairs, bed and a toilet. But he said two other women may be put into the same cell today.

Most of the other prisoners were in for contraband, a major activity among the poor of Naples. The women deal mainly in smuggled cigarettes. Miss Loren once played the movie role of such a woman smuggler.


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