Sophia Loren Overview:

Legendary actress, Sophia Loren, was born Sofia Villani Scicolone on Sep 20, 1934 in Rome, Italy. As of December 2023, Sophia Loren was 89 years old.

Early Life

Sophia Loren was Born Sofia Scicolone on September 20th, 1934 in Rome, Italy. Her parents never married, leaving her mother to raise two young daughters alone. In 1938, Sophia and her siblings moved to the village of Pozzuoli, near Naples, to live with her grandparents. Because of the towns munitions plants, Pozzuoli was frequently targeted by allied soldiers and Loren grew up amongst some of the worst civilian bombing of WWII. After one particularly ferocious raid, Loren was struck by a piece of shrapnel, wounding her face. She and her family then fled to neighboring Naples until the end of the war. Following the war Loren's grandmother converted their living room in to a bar and sold homemade spirits. The whole family became involved with Sophia acting as hostess, waitress, and dishwasher. In 1950, at the age of 14, Loren entered the Miss Italia beauty pageant where she was runner up. Soon after, she and her mother traveled back to Rome to pursuer a career in acting.

Early Career

When arriving in Rome, Loren found modeling work and continued to participate in pageants to make ends meet. Soon after film producer (and future husband) Carlo Ponti, took notice in the beautiful young women. The man had eye for spotting talent as he had recently helped launched actress/model, Gina Lollobrigida into international superstardom.  He soon began working with Loren, enrolling her in acting classes and managing to find her extra work on the Mervyn LeRoy epic Quo Vadis. He eventually put Loren under contract and immediately casting her as an extra in ten feature films. She continued to act in small, unremarkable roles in 1950 and 1951, appearing in over a dozen films including: Lebbra Bianca and It Padrone del Vapore. She began using her final stage name of Sophia Loren in the 1952 film La Favorita.

The next year, Loren had her first starring role in Clemente Fracassi's adaption of the famed Giuseppe Verdi opera Aida. She received great critical acclaim for her efforts. She played the dual of Cleopatra and Nisca in Two Nights with Cleopatra. In 1954 she teamed with director Vittorio De Sica in Gold of Naples. The film demonstrated Loren'stremendous acting range and put to rest any notions that Loren was nothing more than a busty pin-up star. The film helped establish her screen persona of sensual, salt-of-the-earth working class family woman and mark the first of Loren and De Sica's many collaborations. Her next film, 1954's Too Bad She's Bad also began the start another lasting partnership, this time with Italian matinee star Marcello Mastroianni. They teamed again in the 1956 comedy Lucky to Be a Woman with Charles Boyer. The 1957 film, Boy on a Dolphin, marked Loren's English Language film debut. She next starred with John Wayne in the joint America-Italian production Legend of the Lost.

International Stardom

In 1957, Loren starred opposite Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant in the Stanley Kramer war film The Pride and Passion. Soon after, Paramount knew they had a star in their hands and offered Loren a five-picture contract. In 1958 she starred in four films including  opposite Anthony Perkins in the silver screen adaption of Eugene O' Neil's Desire Under the Elms. She then starred with Cary Grant in the comedy Houseboat, playing sophisticated European nanny responsible for Grant's estranged children. Although Paramount expected a huge hit, audeinces seemed off-put by Lorens new image, a far cry from the "salt mother" they had learned to love. After the box-office failure of George Cukor'sHeller in Pink Tights, Paramount chose not to renew Loren's contract and Loren headed back to Italy.

In 1960, Loren starred in De Sica's wartime drama Two Women. In the film, Loren portrayed a traumatized mother who is brutally raped while protecting her 12-year old daughter in World War Two Italy. The film was an international success and Loren's performance was universally praised. She received over 20 awards for her performance in the film including Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Awards for Best Actress.  This also marked the first time a non-English language performance won a major award at the Oscars. The next year Loren starred opposite Charlton Heston in the Historical Epic El Cid. She continued to find both steady across the globe, appearing in Italian, English and French Productions.  She teamed with Marcello Mastroianni and Vittorio De Sica in the 1963 Best Foreign Film Academy Award winner Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and once again, the next year, with the comedy Marriage, Italian Style. For the latter film, Loren was nominated for an Academy Award.

By this time time, Loren was one of the most popular entertainers in the world. She received an almost unheard of one million dollar paycheck to star the on the Historical Epic The Fall of the Roman Empire. Two years later, in 1966, she starred opposite Gregory Peck in the Stanley Donen's comedic spy thriller Arabesque. The film was hit with both critics and audiences. The next year she starred opposite Marlon Brando in Charlie Chaplin's last directorial feature, A Countess from Hong Kong. It failed at the box office. She next starred opposite Omar Shariff in the 1967 fairytale adventure More than a Miracle. That year she also married longtime manager and lover, Carlo Conti. The two would remain married until his death in 2007.

Later Career

After the birth of her first son, in 1968 Loren returned and worked mostly out of Italy. She starred with Mastroianni in De Sica's 1970 war drama Sunflower. Four years later, Loren would work with De Sica one last time in his final directorial effort The Voyage. The next year she starred with Mastroianni in La pup del gangster as a irreverent prostitute who gets accidently gets mixed-up with the mob. In 1976, Loren appeared in the ensemble disaster flick, The Cassandra Crossing along side Richard Harris, Martin Sheen and Ava Gardner. She again starred with Mastroianni in the sophisticated chamber drama A Special Day, which received much international acclaim from critics, winning the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Feature. Following the success of A Special Day, She was cast in two American productions. The first was the John Hough post-war suspense film Brass Target opposite John Cassavetes and Max von Sydow. The second was 1979's action-thriller Firepower with James Coburn and Eli Wallach.

In 1979, Loren penned the international best selling autobiography Sophia Loren: Living and Loving. The next year she would portray herself and her mother in the made for television adaption Sophia Loren: Her Own Story. She appeared very sporadically in the 1980's, preferring to spend her time with her growing children rather than act. In 1981, she was the first celebrity to launch her own fragrance, thus sparking a trend that has now become a multi-billion dollar industry. She would appear in only 5 made for television production in the 1980's.

 Later Life and Now

After an 11-year hiatus from the big screen, Loren returned with Lina Wertmuller's 1990 comedy Saturday, Sunday, Monday. The next year she would receive an Honorary Oscar for hr contribution to global cinema. In 1994 she appear in the Robert Altman ensemble Pret-a-Porter with Marcello Mastroianni, Jean-Pierre Cassei, Kim Basinger, and Forest Whitaker. She next year she starred in the hit comedy Grumpier Old Men, opposite Jack Lemmon, Walter Mathau, and Ann-Margret. Later that year she also was the recipient of the Golden Globe's Cecil B. DeMille Award. Although she appeared in the occasional art-house film, such as 1997's Soleil or 2002's Between Strangers, Loren remained largely absent from the silver screen in 1990's and 2000's to care for her ailing husband. He passed away in 2007, after a 50-year marriage. In 2009, she appeared in the 2009 musical remake of the Fellini's classic 8 1/2 titled Nine. Still a working actress to this day, Loren is slated to star in the upcoming short film Human Voice. 

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).



Sophia Loren was nominated for two Academy Awards, winning one for Best Actress for Two Women (as Cesira) in 1961. She also won one Honorary Award in 1990 , one of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form .

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1961Best ActressTwo Women (1960)CesiraWon
1964Best ActressMarriage Italian Style (1964)Filomena MarturanoNominated

Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)

1990Honorary Award, one of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form


She was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Sophia Loren's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #120 on Jul 26, 1962.

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Sophia Loren Quotes:

Victor Parmalee: You'll dive with Calder - dive all over the Aegean Sea. Except in one spot: the spot with the boy on a dolphin.
Phaedra: But sir...
Victor Parmalee: [Cutting her off] Dive until he runs out of patience, runs out of ambition, out of money, out of oxygen, and hope!
Phaedra: [Tapping her finger to her temple] Oh, Mr. Parmalee, you have plenty of noodle, you know?
Victor Parmalee: Thank you.
Phaedra: Now, we all have wine!

Cinzia Zaccardi: Mr. Donatello, you have a certain native charm. Please reserve it for the natives.

Filumena Marturano: [subtitled version] The problem is that our hearts used to be so big...
[holds up pebble]
Filumena Marturano: and now look how small they are.

read more quotes from Sophia Loren...

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Sophia Loren Facts
Despite their strained relationship, she was present at her father Riccardo's bedside when he died of cancer in 1976, aged 69.

Mother of Carlo Ponti Jr. (b. 1969) and Edoardo Ponti (b. 1973). Father is Carlo Ponti.

Her adopted surname is a slight variation of "Toren" after the Swedish actress Märta Torén.

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