Sophia Loren (Sofia Villani Scicolone) was born on September 20, 1934 in Rome (Italy). She is an Italian movie actress who rose above her poverty to become universally recognized as one of Italy’s most famous movie stars and most beautiful women of all time.
Loren won the Best Actress Academy Award for the film ‘Two Women’ which showed that her talent is so much more than her looks. She became a houshold name and a synonim of beauty.
Sophia grew up in extreme poverty in Naples, with her mother and many other relatives. They all lived at her grandparents’ home, where she shared her room with many family members. Because of her skinny legs Sophia had a nickname “toothpick”. After Sophia’s birth, her mother moved back Pozzuoli, her hometown. Her father, Riccardo was a construction engineer. When she was 14, she began to attend beauty contests and appeared in a number of small movie parts.
When she appaared and won a bauty contest in Rome, Sophia met a producer Carlo Ponti and signed a film contract for him and later he casted her in smaller movie roles. Her debut film role was in ‘Quo Vadis'(1951), when she played a character of one of many slave girls. Her career was launched in a series of low-budget comedies before she attracted critical and popular attention. She did that with the character who lip-synched the singing in the movie ‘Aida’ (1953).
Carlo soon declared her ready for Hollywood and very soon, Sophia became a big international celebrity. Another leading role in ‘The Gold of Naple’s (1954) established her as one of the best young stars of Italia. A few years after she starred in ‘The Pride and the Passion’ (1957) which was her first Hollywood film, filmed in Paris and co-starring Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant. International recognition for Loren’s distinguished acting career includes a lifetime achievement Oscar in 1991.
Sophia’s most known movies are: The Black Orchid, That Kind of Woman, Desire Under the Elms, Boy on a Dolphin, Legend of the Lost, The Key, The Pride and the Passion, The Gold of Naples, Tempi Nostri, Two Nights With Cleopatra, Houseboat, Quo Vadis and Yesterday and Today and Tomorrow.
Loren also became involved young with the film producer Carlo Ponti. Their relationship spanned five decades, produced two sons, marriage and the grandchildren. Sophia even dedicated her book to him. Their marriage was a national scandal in the predominantly Catholic Italy because Ponti had already been married once before. The cuuple was togethher for 50 years until his death in 2007. Sophia now lives in Switzerland. In 2010, she received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for theatre/film. She is also known for her strong defense of animal rights.