Sophia Loren (born Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone on September 20, 1934) is an Italian actress. The American Film Institute called her one of the finest female stars of Classical Hollywood cinema. Loren is one of the few surviving great stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, and the only live person on the AFI’s list as of 2022. Loren began her film career at the age of sixteen in 1950, after being encouraged to enroll in acting classes after competing in a beauty competition. She had a few tiny parts and minor roles in the early half of the decade before signing a five-picture contract with Paramount in 1956, which began her worldwide career.
Her life took an unexpected turn for the better when, at the age of 14, she entered a beauty pageant and placed among the finals. Sophia attracted the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, who was 22 years her senior and whom she ultimately married. Perhaps he was the father figure she lacked as a youngster. Sophia was signed to a contract and performed as an extra in 10 films, beginning with Le sei mogli di Barbablù (1950), before progressing to supporting roles.
In her early films, she was credited as “Sofia Lazzaro” since people joked that her beauty might resurrect Lazzarus.
Sophia started portraying main parts in several Italian films by her late teens, including La Favorita (1952) and Aida (1954). (1953). She began a successful acting career in the United States in 1957, playing in films such as Boy on a Dolphin (1957), Legend of the Lost (1957), and The Pride and the Passion (1957). She had a brief but widely known romance with her co-star Cary Grant, who was over 31 years her senior. She was just 22 years old, while he was 53, and she turned down his marriage proposal.
They appeared together again in the family-friendly romance comedy Houseboat (1958). Sophia featured in Desire Under the Elms (1958), The Key (1958), The Black Orchid (1958), It Started in Naples (1960), Heller in Pink Tights (1960), A Breath of Scandal (1960), and The Millionairess (1960) while under contract to Paramount before returning to Italy to play in Two Women (1960). (1960). The film was a historical piece about a lady who is raped while trying to protect her small daughter in war-torn Italy. Originally cast as the more gorgeous kid, Sophia defied stereotypes and was recast as the mother, demonstrating a lack of vanity and establishing herself as a true performer. This performance earned worldwide recognition and was recognized with an award.
Sophia remained a legitimate worldwide cinema star throughout the 1960s and 1970s, starring in films on both sides of the Atlantic with Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, and Charlton Heston. El Cid (1961), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), Arabesque (1966), Man of La Mancha (1972), and The Cassandra Crossing (1973) were among her English-language features (1976). She acquired widespread acclaim for her Italian films, particularly Marriage Italian Style (1964) and A Special Day (1977), in which she co-starred with Marcello Mastroianni. During this time, she garnered a second Oscar nomination and five Golden Globe nominations.
Sophia’s appearances on the big screen became increasingly rare after the 1980s. She wanted to devote the majority of her time to her boys Carlo Ponti Jr. (b. 1968) and Edoardo Ponti (b. 1969). (b. 1973). During the decade, her only acting credits were five television films, beginning with Sophia Loren: Her Own Story (1980), a biopic in which she played both herself and her mother. She expanded into other fields of commerce, being the first actress to develop her own fragrance and eyewear line. She voluntarily served nineteen days in prison for tax evasion in 1982.