Ponti was born on December 11, 1912. He is an Italian film producer who just happens to have been the husband of Italian movie star Sophia Loren. Ponti studied law at the University of Milan and joined his father's law practice to negotiate film contracts.
In 1941 Ponti began working for Lux Films in Rome where he produced commercially successful films featuring the Italian comedian Toto. In 1954 he produced La Strada. His production credits include Marriage Italian Style in 1964 and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in 1965. His most popular and successful film was Doctor Zhivago in 1965. Ponti also produced three high end films with Michelangelo Antonioni, Blowup, Sabriskie Point and The Passenger.
In 1950 while serving as a judge in a beauty contest Ponti met Sofia Lazzaro. He cast her in Anna (1951), and his friend Goffredo Lombardo changed her name to Sophia Loren. In 1957 Ponti married Sophia Loren by proxy. By Italian law he was still married to his first wife and if he returned to Italy would be charged with bigamy. Ponti remained in Hollywood and produced films starring Loren.
Ponti and Loren moved to France, legally married, and became a French citizen. Ponti is also famous for his art collection that contains paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali and Henry Moore. He also has collections from Francis Bacon that include early Van Gogh triptychs and self-portraits. His art collection is never publicized or lent to public museums. However, one of the Ponti's collected paintings sold for $27.5 million at an auction at Christies.
Ponti died in Geneva Switzerland due to pulmonary compilations on January 10, 2007. He was survived by Sophia Loren and his sons Carlo, Alessandro, Edoardo and daughter Guendalina.