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Sophia Loren Photos and Biography

Updated on March 31, 2013

The story almost reads like an Italian rags-to-riches melodrama, with the titles of some of Sophia Loren's films as chapter headings: It Started In Naples, Marriage Italian Style, and The millionairess.

Little, skinny Sofia grew up in poverty in the Neapolitan slums, the illegitimate child of a frustrated actress.

As she grew up, her mother pushed her into beauty contests, she came second in one of them, wearing a dress made from curtains. When she was fifteen, her mother took her to the Cinecitta studios in Rome where they both got jobs as extras in Quo Vadis in 1951. Sophia was now developing into a beautiful woman and when spotted by Carlo Ponti, who gave her a contract and groomed her for stardom.

Gradually she was given leading roles such as Aida, and Gold Of Naples. It was not long before Loren was known the world over, and a beautiful and excellent dramatic actress.

She commented later in life, "sex appeal is 50% what you've got, and 50% what people think you've got".

Loren starred with Cary Grant in Pride and Passion, and Houseboat, and began an affair with him. She adored Cary Grant because he was tall, distinguished, and gentle. Unfortunately, she was also having in an affair with Carlo Poni who was married for. Carlo had always said that he would not leave his wife, but upon knowledge of Sophia's serious affair with Grant, Carlo finally made attempts to divorce his wife. At this time Sophia had to call off the her affair with Grant because Cary Grant would never have shared her with Carlo.

She was given tremendous publicity and build up for her first English speaking vehicle, Boy On A Dolphin in 1957, and that same year she married Ponti, who had just obtained a divorce from his wife in Mexico. In Italy they refused to recognize the divorce and Carlo was charged with bigamy.

In 1966 Conti and Loren were forced to renounce their Italian nationality and become French citizens. Sophia's name was linked romantically with many other men, such as Peter Sellers, but she remained married to Carlo who was 21 years her senior.

Throughout the 60s Sophia made numerous movies with top stars such as Gregory Peck, Marlon Brando, and Charlie Chaplin, and was considered to be a highly gifted actress.

Loren and Ponti continued to have battles with the Italian law. He was sentenced in absentia for currency violations, and Sophia herself spent a few weeks in an Italian jail for tax evasion where she received more coverage than for her cinematic achievements.


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