SOPHIA LOREN Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » sophia loren


Name: Sophia Loren                                                                         
Birth name: Sofia Villani Scicolone                                                         
Born: 20 September 1934 Rome, Italy                                                         
Sophia Loren (born September 20, 1934) is an Academy Award winning Italian film             
actress. She is widely considered to be the most popular Italian actress of her             
Sophia was born Sofia Villani Scicolone at the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome           
on September 20, 1934 to Riccardo Scicolone and Romilda Villani. Riccardo                   
refused to marry Romilda, leaving her, a piano teacher and aspiring actress                 
without support. Romilda, Sofia and sister Maria returned to Pozzuoli, near                 
Naples, to live with Sofia's grandmother in order to survive. She would                     
eventually change her name to Sophia Loren.                                                 
During WWII the harbor and munitions plant in Pozzuoli were a frequent bombing             
target. During one raid, as Sophia ran to the shelter she was struck by shrapnel           
and wounded in the chin. Subsequently the family moved to Naples and begged                 
distant relatives to take them in.                                                         
After the war, Sophia and her family returned to Pozzuoli. Grandmother Luisa               
opened their living room as a pub selling homemade cherry liquor. Romilda played           
the piano, Maria sang and the shy Sophia waited tables and washed dishes. The               
place was very popular with the American GIs stationed nearby.                             
When she was 14 years old Sophia entered a beauty contest in Naples and, while             
not winning, was selected as one of the finalists. Later she enrolled in acting             
class and was selected as an extra in the Mervyn LeRoy film, Quo Vadis, thus               
launching her career as a motion picture actress.                                           
By the late 1950s, Loren's star had begun to rise in Hollywood, with films such             
as 1957's Boy on a Dolphin and The Pride and the Passion in which she co-starred           
with Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant. Grant, reportedly, fell so deeply in love               
with Loren that he ardently proposed marriage, despite her obvious loyalty to               
Carlo Ponti and Grant's own union with actress and writer Betsy Drake. It is               
possible that Loren had an affair with Grant but how serious their relationship             
was is now known only to her. Stargazers and celebrity biographers consider the             
putative Loren-Grant romance to be one of the more mysterious and elusive                   
romantic involvements in Hollywood history.                                                 
Loren became an international film star with a five-picture contract with                   
Paramount Studios. Among her films at this time: Desire Under the Elms with                 
Anthony Perkins, based upon the Eugene O'Neill play; Houseboat, a romantic                 
comedy co-starring Cary Grant; and George Cukor's Heller in Pink Tights in which           
she appeared with blonde hair (a wig) for the first time. Loren demonstrated               
considerable dramatic skills and attracted respect as a dramatic and comedic               
actress, especially in Italian projects where she could express herself more               
freely, although she acquired great proficiency in English.                                 
In 1960, her acclaimed performance in Vittorio De Sica's Two Women earned many             
awards, including the Cannes, Venice and Berlin Film Festivals' best performance           
prizes. Her performance was also awarded an Academy Award for Best Actress, the             
first major Academy Award for a non-English-language performance. Initially, the           
stark, gritty story of a mother and daughter surviving in war-torn Italy was to             
cast Anna Magnani as Sophia's mother. Negotiations, perhaps due to billing,                 
broke down and the screenplay was rewritten to make Sophia the mother; Eleonora             
Brown portrayed the daughter.                                                               
Belying the typical portrayal of the beautiful actress as vacuous and                       
emptyheaded, Loren was known for her sharp wit and insight. One of her most                 
frequently-quoted sayings is her quip about her famously-voluptuous figure: "Everything     
you see, I owe to spaghetti."                                                               
During the 1960s Loren was one of the most popular actresses in the world, and             
she continued to make films in both the U.S. and Europe, acting with leading               
male stars. In 1964, her career reached its zenith when she received $1 million             
to act in The Fall of the Roman Empire.                                                     
Among her best-known films of this period are The Millionairess (1960) with                 
Peter Sellers, It Started in Naples with Clark Gable (1960), Vittorio De Sica's             
triptych Ieri, oggi, domani (1963) with Marcello Mastroianni, Peter Ustinov's               
Lady L (1965) with Paul Newman, the 1966 classic Arabesque with Gregory Peck,               
and Charlie Chaplin's final film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) with Marlon             
Despite the failure of many of her films to generate sales at the box office,               
she has an impressive roster of credits and work with famous co-stars.                     
Invariably, she has turned in a charming performance and worn some of the most             
lavish costumes ever created for the movies. Some of her most attractive                   
performances include A Breath of Scandal (1960), Madame Sans-Gone (1962), Heller           
in Pink Tights (1960) and More Than A Miracle (1967).