Sophia Loren - imdb.com/name/nm0000047/
Sophia Loren (born September 20, 1934) is an Academy Award-winning actress widely considered to be the most famous Italian actress.
Sophia Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone in Rome, Italy, the illegitimate daughter of married engineer Riccardo Scicolone and aspiring actress and piano teacher, Romilda Villani. Loren grew up impoverished in wartime Pozzuoli, near Naples.
At age 16, Loren began her film career with bit parts in mostly minor Italian films. In 1951, Loren and her mother worked as extras in Quo Vadis, which was filmed in Rome and provided Loren with an early brush with Hollywood. She also appeared as Aida in Aida (1953), in which the singing of Loren's role was dubbed by opera star Renata Tebaldi.
Loren worked as a model in the weekly illustrated romantic stories, called fotoromanzi under the name, Sofia Villani or Sofia Lazzaro. She also took part in regional beauty contests, where she won several prizes. Loren was discovered by her future husband, the much older film producer Carlo Ponti, and they married on September 17, 1957, three days before her 23rd birthday. Their first marriage had to be annulled to keep Ponti from being charged with bigamy, and they remarried on April 9, 1966. They would have two sons together, Carlo Ponti, Jr., and Edoardo Ponti.
Under Ponti's management, Sofia Scicolone changed her name to Sophia Loren and appeared in film roles that emphasized her voluptuous physique, even appearing topless in the films Two Nights with Cleopatra and It's Him, Yes! Yes! Loren's acting career took off upon meeting Vittorio De Sica and Marcello Mastroianni in 1954.
By the late 1950s, Loren's star began 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. Loren became romantically attracted to Grant for a time.
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 for the first time. Loren demonstrated considerable dramatic skills and gained respect as a dramatic and comedy actress, especially in Italian projects where she more freely expressed herself, although she gained profiency in the English language.
In 1960, her acclaimed performance in Vittorio De Sica's, Two Women, earned many awards including the Cannes, Venezia and Berlin 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.
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 on her diet, "Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti."
During the 1960s Loren was one of the most popular actresses in the world, and continued to make films in both the U.S. and Europe, acting with the leading male stars. In 1964, her career came full circle 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. Peter Ustinov's Lady L (1965) with Paul Newman, and Charlie Chaplin's final film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) with Marlon Brando, She also recorded a best-selling album of comedic songs with Sellers and reportedly had to fend off his romantic advances.
After becoming a mother of two sons her career slowed down and Loren moved into her 40s and 50s with roles in films including the last De Sica movie, The Voyage, with Richard Burton and Ettore Scola's A Special Day with Mastroianni.
In 1980, she portrayed herself, as well as her mother, in a made-for-television biopic adaptation of her autobiography. Actresses, Ritza Brown and Chiara Ferrari played Loren at younger ages. She made headlines in 1982 when she served an 18-day prison sentence in Italy on tax evasion charges, a fact that didn't damage her career or popularity.
In her 60s, Loren became selective in choosing her films and ventured into various areas of business including cook books, eyewear, jewelery and perfume. She also made well-received appearances in Robert Altman's Ready to Wear and the 1995 comedy Grumpier Old Men playing a femme fatale opposite Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.
In 1991, Loren received an honorary Academy Award for her contribution to world cinema and was declared "one of the world cinema's treasures".
Loren is expected to appear in the 2007 Pirelli Calendar at the age of 72, although she has denied rumors that she will appear nude.