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Sophia Loren Biography...

Name : Sophia Loren
Birthdate : 20 September 1934
Birthplace : Rome, Italy
Birthname : Sofia Villani Scicolone
Height : 5' 8''
Nationality : Italian
Spouse : Carlo Ponti (Producer)
Occupation : Actress, model
Best Known As : Italian film queen and sex symbol

Born Sofia Scicolone, on Sept. 20, 1934, in Rome. An illegitimate child, she grew up in the slums of Naples during wartime in dire poverty . Her mother, a frustrated actress, instilled starring aspirations in the skinny little Sofia (she was nicknamed Stechetto--the stick--at the time). Her first taste of glamour came at fourteen when she was crowned one of twelve "Princesses of the Sea" in a beauty contest--an honor for which she earned a railroad ticket to Rome, and 23,000 lira (about $35). At the age of sixteen she left her hometown to go to Rome to try her luck at acting. From the time she was very young she was fascinated by Hollywood legends such as Tyrone Power, Cary Grant, Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. She was able to get some bit parts in films such as Quo Vadis, Hearts Upon The Sea, The Vote, Bluebeard's Six Wives and Io Sono il Capatz and she continued to enter beauty contests.

Sofia met producer and future husband Carlo Ponti while competing in another beauty contest. Though she placed second, Ponti gave her a screen test and he advanced her career in a succession of low-budget Italian productions. Sofia Lazzaro, as she was then known, became Sophia Loren in 1952. Sophia then came Hollywood. She signed a contract with Paramount for her first English-speaking role. Once on the set, she fell in love with her co-star Cary Grant. Though she had been involved romantically with Carlo Ponti (he was married with two children) from the age of eighteen, Sophia had suffered through years of frustration while he attempted to obtain an annulment from the church. Loren and Ponti, 24 years her senior, were married in 1957, following his Mexican divorce from his estranged wife. But the Italian law did not recognize the divorce and charged them with bigamy. They were forced to have their marriage annulled in 1962, and after four more years of frustration turned in their Italian passports and became citizens of France, where they were finally legally married in 1966.

Loren accepted a bit part as a scantily clad harem girl in Giorgio Bianchi's It's Him, Yes! Yes! (1951). The carefully orchestrated publicity Loren garnered, plus a role in Vittorio De Sica's Gold Of Naples (1954), landed her in Hollywood. In 'Boy on a Dolphin' (1957), audiences were treated to a vision of her famous endowments in the mesmerizing scene in which she emerges from the ocean wearing a dress made transparent and ultra-clingy by the water. In The Pride and the Passion (1957), the new sensation teamed with a bewitched Cary Grant, who impulsively proposed matrimony. To add another movie to Loren's burgeoning career, Houseboat (1958), was a solid hit. Nor did she abandon Europe, making fifteen Italian onscreen romances with Marcello Mastroianni, most notably Marriage Italian Style (1964). She reached the zenith of her career with her performance in De Sica's 1961 Italian production La Ciociara, known in the States as Two Women. For her portrayal of a wartime rape victim, she earned an Academy Award.

After several miscarriages, the actress finally bore two sons, Edoardo and Carlo, Jr., and for some time she made only promotional appearances, for her perfume, Sophia, and her line of eyewear. Her subsequent movies, such as The Cassandra Crossing (1977), declined in quality, but she continued to attract attention. In 1982 she was back in the press when the Italian authorities forced her to serve nineteen days in prison for tax evasion. Upon her release, 'La Simpatica' went back to work, making more TV movies. In 1994, she co-starred in Pret-à-Porter - her last comedy with old friend Mastroianni and the next year, in Grumpier Old Men. Sophia is still the only performer ever to win an Oscar for a foreign-language film. She received an honorary Oscar in 1980 for Lifetime Achievement. For over 50 years Sophia has continued to remain in the public eye making films, appearing on television and has won numerous awards. Even today, Sophia remains la forza - the earth mother of us all.


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