Sophia Loren

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Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren - Photo: Allan Warren
Sophia Loren is the most renowned actress in Italy.

She was born as Sofia Villani Scicolone on September 20th 1934 in a ward for unmarried mothers in a hospital in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

Her Mother, Romilda Villani was a piano teacher and would-be actress. Her Father, Riccardo Scicolone refused to marry Romilda consequently leaving her without any financial support.

Four years later they had a second daughter together, Anna Maria Villani Scicolone, but Riccardo Scicolone still refused to take responsibility for his family. Out of desperation Romilda Villani was forced to take both girls to Pozzuoli near Naples where all three of them lived in near poverty with her mother.

Pozzuoli was not a safe place to be during World War II due to the harbour and a munitions plant, both of which were constant bombing targets. During one raid Sofia was hit by shrapnel as she ran to the shelter and received an injury to her chin which left a lasting scar. Immediately after the war times were so hard that Sofia's grandmother made cherry liquor in her kitchen and opened a bar in her living room. Romilda played the piano and Anna Maria sang while Sofia acted as waitress and did the washing up. This impromptu bar was very popular with the American GIs who were stationed nearby and provided a much needed income for the family.


Sophia Loren in 'The Gold of Naples' in 1954

Life began to change for the better for Sofia when she was fourteen and began to develop quite rapidly from a skinny, plain child into the voluptuous, beautiful woman she eventually became. She entered a local beauty contest in Naples and although she didn't win she was a runner up. Immediately after this success she enrolled in acting classes and soon began securing parts in films as an extra. The roles increased and in 1952 she changed her name to Sophia Loren shortly before her first starring role in Aida in 1953, for which she received critical acclaim. She quickly rose to fame in Italy and shortly afterwards began making films in English and was well on the road to becoming a worldwide star.


Sophia Loren eating spaghetti in 1955

She worked hard, was in popular demand and during her career she has built up an impressive catalogue of roles, a full list of which is set out below.

Sophia Loren met her husband, Carlo Ponti, in 1950 when she was just sixteen and he was 22 years older and married. He was subsequently divorced and they married in 1957 but Italian law did not recognise the divorce and they had their marriage annulled in 1962 in order for him to escape charges of bigamy.


Sophia Loren in 'Houseboat' in 1958

Carlo Ponti finally managed to obtain an official divorce in France which left him free to marry Sophia for a second time in 1966. They became french citizens and had two sons, Carlo Ponti Jr on 29th December 1968 and Edoardo Ponti on 6th January 1973. She took time out from acting to raise her children and the family kept a low profile enabling them to live a near normal life.

The couple remained married until Carlo Ponti died in 2007 and Sophia Loren has never remarried. She has stated that it would be impossible for her to love anyone else.


Sophia Loren in 2009

Today Sophia Loren is still active and working, has four grandchildren and lives mainly in Geneva but also has houses in Naples and Rome.

Sophia Loren Film Career
20th Century Fox romantic film set in Greece
Title (Italian) Title (English) Role Genre
1950
Io sono il Capataz I Am the Captain Secretary to the Dictator
Credited as Sofia Scicolone
Italian western-comedy
Le Sei mogli di Barbablù Barbablu's Six Wives Kidnapped girl
Credited as Sofia Lazzaro
Italian comedy
Totò Tarzan   A fan
Not credited
Italian comedy
Cuori sul Mare Hearts at Sea Extra
Not credited
Italian comedy
1951
Lebbra Bianca White Leprosy A girl in the boarding house Credited as Sofia Lazzaro
Italian Film
Il Padrone del Vapore Owner of the Vapor Young dancing girl
Credited as Sofia Lazzaro
Italian Film
Milano Miliardaria Milan Billionaire Extra
Not credited
Italian comedy
Il Mago per Forza Magician for Force The bride
Credited as Sofia Scicolone
Italian film
  Quo Vadis Lygia's slave
Not credited
American epic film - MGM
Era lui... sì! sì! It's Him!... Yes! Yes! Odalisca
Credited as Sofia Lazzaro
Italian comedy
Anna   Night club assistant
Not credited
Italian drama
1952
È arrivato l'accordatore The Tuner Has Arrived Friend of Giulietta
Credited as Sofia Lazzaro
Italian film
Il sogno di Zorro I Dream of Zorro Conchita
Credited as Sofia Scicolone
Italian film
La Favorita The Favorite Leonora  
1953
Il Paese dei Campanelli The Town of Bells Bonbon
From now on became known as Sophia Loren
Italian film
Pellegrini d'amore Pilgrim of Love   Italian film
Ci troviamo in galleria We Find Ourselves in the tunnel Marisa Italian film
Due notti con Cleopatra Two Nights with Cleopatra Cleopatra/Nisca Italian comedy
  Girls Marked Danger Elvira  
La Domenica della Buona Gente Sunday of good people Ines Italian film
  Aida Aida Italian film version of the opera 'Aida' by Giuseppe Verdi
  Africa Under the Seas Barbara Lama  
1954
Carosello Napoletano Neapolitan Carousel
Sisina Italian comedy
Un giorno in pretura   Anna Italian comedy
  The Anatomy of Love The girl  
Miseria e Nobiltà Poverty and Nobility
Gemma Italian comedy
L'oro di Napoli The Gold of Naples
Sophia Italian anthology. Was entered into the 1955 Cannes Film Festival
Il Flagello di Dio Honoria Attila   Honoria French/Italian film about Attila the Hun
Peccato che sia una Canaglia Too Bad She's Bad
Lina Stroppiani Italian comedy
1955
Il segno di Venere The Sign of Venus
Agnese Tirabassi Italian comedy
La Bella Mugnaia The Miller's Beautiful Wife
Carmela Italian comedy
La Donna del Fiume The River Girl
Nives Mongolini Italian drama
Pane, Amore e... Scandal in Sorrento Donna Sofia Italian comedy
1956
La Fortuna di Essere Donna Lucky to Be a Woman
Also known as What a Woman!
Antonietta Fallari Italian comedy
1957
  Boy on a Dolphin Phaedra
  The Pride and the Passion Juana An American war film
  Legend of the Lost Dita Italian/American adventure film
1958
  Desire Under the Elms Anna Cabot American film. Entered into the 1958 Cannes Film Festival
  The Key Stella British film set in 1940 during World War II
  The Black Orchid Rose Bianco American film (Paramount Pictures). Volpi Cup - Venice Film Festival
  Houseboat Cinzia Zaccardi American romantic comedy (Paramount Pictures)
1959
  That Kind of Woman Kay American drama
1960
  Heller in Pink Tights Angela Rossini A western adapted from Louis L'Amour's novel 'Heller with a Gun'.
  It Started in Naples Lucia Curio American romantic comedy. Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
  The Millionairess Epifania Parerga British romantic film set in London
Olympia A Breath of Scandal Princess Olympia An Italian/American film
La Ciociara Two Women Cesira Italian film.
Academy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Bambi Award for Best Actress - International
Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Sant Jordi Awards Best Performance in a Foreign Film
1961
  El Cid Chimena An historical 'epic' about El Cid. English language film.
  Madame Sans-Gêne
a.k.a. 'Madame'
Catherine Hubscher known as Madame Sans-Gêne A Spanish-Italian-French film co-production distributed by Embassy Pictures in the USA.
1962
Boccaccio '70   Zoe Italian anthology film in four episodes.
  Five Miles to Midnight Lisa Macklin French-Italian-American drama film in English.
1963
Ieri, Oggi, Domani Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Adelina Sbaratti/Anna Molteni/Mara Italian comedy, anthology film in three parts. Won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 37th Academy Awards.
1964
  The Fall of the Roman Empire Lucilla An American epic which was a financial failure.
Matrimonio all'italiana Marriage Italian-Style Filumena Marturano David di Donatello for Best Actress
Moscow International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Golden Laurel Awards for Best Actress (2nd Place)
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1965
  Operation Crossbow Nora British spy thriller
  Lady L Lady Louise Lendale
(Lady L)
A British comedy film directed by Peter Ustinov
1966
  Judith Judith A drama in English
  Arabesque Yasmin Azir An American thriller
1967
  A Countess from Hong Kong Natasha British comedy film.
The last film directed, written, produced and scored by Charlie Chaplin.
  More Than a Miracle Isabella Candeloro An Italian/French film in English. Also known as 'Cinderella Italian Style' and 'Happily Ever After'.
1968
Questi Fantasmi Ghosts - Italian Style Maria Lojacono An Italian comedy film
1970
I Girasoli Sunflower Giovanna Italian drama.
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Nominated - Fotogramas de Plata Best Foreign Performer
1971
La Mortadella Lady Liberty Maddalena Ciarrapico French/Italian comedy film
La Moglie del Prete The Priest's Wife Valeria Billi Italian comedy
1972
  Man of La Mancha Aldonza/Dulcinea An American film which is an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name
1973
Bianco, Rosso e... The Sin Hermana Germana An Italian comedy film
1974
Il Viaggio The Voyage Adriana de Mauro Italian drama
David di Donatello for Best Actress
San Sebastian International Film Festival Best Actress
  Verdict Teresa Leoni French-Italian drama
  Brief Encounter Anna Jesson British-Italian drama
TV movie(Hallmark hall of fame)
1975
La Pupa del Gangster Sex Pot Pupa Italian comedy
1976
  The Cassandra Crossing Jennifer Rispoli Chamberlain British disaster style thriller
1977
Una Giornata Particolare A Special Day Antoinette Italian film.
David di Donatello for Best Actress
Globo d'Oro Award for Best Actress
Nastro d'Argento for Best Actress
1978
  Blood Feud Titina Paterno Italian thriller
  Brass Target Mara/cameo role American post war suspense film
  Angela Angela Kincaid A Canadian film
1979
  Firepower Adele Tasca  
1980
  Sophia Loren: Her Own Story Sophia Loren
Romilda Villani
Sophia Loren plays both the part of herself and that of her Mother (Romilda Villani) in this film
1984
  Aurora Aurora Italian drama film
1986
  Courage Marianna Miraldo Television film
1988
  The Fortunate Pilgrim Lucia From the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo. It was a mini-series made for Television.
1989
  Running Away Cesira TV mini-series remake of 'Two Women'
1990
  Saturday, Sunday and Monday Rosa Priore Premiered during the Chicago film festival
1994
  Prêt-à-Porter Isabella de la Fontaine An American satirical comedy.
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1995
  Grumpier Old Men Maria Sophia Coletta Raghetti Goldman An American romantic comedy
1997
  Soleil Maman Levy A French film
2001
  Francesca e Nunziata Francesca Montorsi Television mini-series
2002
  Between Strangers Olivia This film was written and directed by Edoardo Ponti, son of Sophia Loren. It was the first time they had worked together.
2004
  Too Much Romance... It's Time for Stuffed Peppers Maria Italian comedy
  Lives of the Saints Teresa Innocente Television mini-series
2009
  Nine Mamma Musical romance
Satellite Award for Best Cast - Motion Picture
Nominated - Broadcast Film Critics
Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated - Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2010
  My House Is Full of Mirrors Romilda Villani TV mini-series
2011
  Cars 2 Mama Topolino Computer animated comedy spy film.
Voice over(in non-English speaking countries)
2013/14
La Voce Umana   One-woman film role Currently filming
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Profile Information
Facts & Figures
Area: 301,225 km²
Population: 60,157,214
Capital: Rome
Currency: Euro (€)
Calling code: +39
Internet TLD: .it
Italian Flag
Italian Coat of Arms
Jack of the Italian Navy
Current time in Italy
Euro exchange rates
Weather in Italy
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