Real name: Sofia Villani Scicolone
Birthdate: September 20, 1934
Partner: Carlo Ponti
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Sophia Loren (born September 20, 1934) is a motion picture and stage, Academy Award-winning actress and former sex symbol, widely considered to be the most popular Italian actress.
Sophia Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone in Rome. Her father Riccardo Scicolone was an engineer and her mother Romilda Villani was an aspiring actress and piano teacher. Loren grew up impoverished in wartime Pozzuoli, near Naples sharing a small flat with her sister Maria, her grandparents and her uncles and aunts. She has said on many occasions that being born into and living with extreme poverty for most of her childhood gave her a strength of character that allowed her to succeed and appreciate every moment she has been given as a human being. Up until Sophia Loren was about 14, she was considered an ugly duckling. Seemingly overnight, she bloomed into a beautiful woman.
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 blond 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.
Among her best-known films of this period are The Millionairess (1960) with Peter Sellers, Vittorio De Sica’s triptych Ieri, oggi, domani (1963) with Marcello Mastroianni, Peter Ustinov's Lady L (1965) with Paul Newman, and Charlie Chaplin's final film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) with Marlon Brando.
Her struggle to have children was of worldwide interest. Having suffered two very physically and emotionally-painful miscarriages, she was referred to Swiss fertility specialist Dr. Huebert de Watteville. He determined that Loren was deficient in estrogen, and after he prescribed regular injections of the hormone and bed rest for her entire term, Loren became a mother twice. She has proudly stated that the births of her sons meant more to her than anything else she had accomplished in her life.
Once she achieved motherhood, Loren worked less. She moved into her 40's and 50's 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 1991, Loren received an honorary Academy Award for her contribution to world cinema and was declared "one of the world cinema's treasures".
She is a huge fan of the football club S.S.C. Napoli and in May 2007, when the team was third in Serie B, she told the Gazzetta dello Sport that she would do a striptease if they achieved promotion to Serie A for the 2007/08 season. “The fans have a total passion, the city deserves promotion.“ On June 10, 2007, they did achieve promotion to Serie A.