Sometimes, between the clicks of a shutter, a magical, enduring relationship can develop between photographer and subject. Such was the case with legendary LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt and the luminous Italian movie star Sophia Loren. And so, when presented with 19 gorgeous, never-before-published photos taken by her old friend, Loren is delighted to see them — but not at all surprised. “Oh, he must have shot thousands of pictures that never came out, Eisie,” Loren tells LIFE.com during a recent interview, fondly remembering her camera-toting “shadow.”
Well-played, Alfred Eisenstaedt.