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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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    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 4 months ago from London England

      The photograph at the top of this article (the one in colour) is the quintessential Sophia in my mind.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 19 months ago from London England

      I've heard but only from one internet source that Sophia Loren has the gift of clairvoyance.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      Is there a slight disparity in Sophie's birthdates? One officilly the other in biographical articles.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      One of Sophia Loren's more recent interviews (with the American commentator Barbara Walters) afterward a few critics rated La Divina's command of English as not very good. In my opinion Sophia speaks English far better than Sir Sean Connery who is Scottish.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      When 'Boy on a dolphin' was screened in our nearby cinema the management increased the price of admission on opening night and put the prices back to normal when the next picture was shown which i'm sure is due to Sophia Loren being in the cast.

      For me Sophia Loren is an enigma,in addition to Her Many roles as a leading Lady i also enjoyed Her cameo appearances as well as interviews She did with TV commentaters. Sophia speaks very articulately and has poise and a sense of humour. Sophia inherited Her beauty from Her mother who also had classic good looks. i am the slave of Sophia Loren forever!

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Thank you cam8510,

      I appreciate your visit and comment.

      She sure has had an interesting life:)

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 years ago from Missoula, Montana at least until August 2018

      I was having a hard time choosing which interesting looking hub to read until I came across Sophia. No contest. Very nicely done. You communicated the humble beginnings, the climb to stardom, and the affairs very well. I wonder if that impoverished little girl is somewhere inside even now.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I believe she had a natural beauty that is unequaled by today's women. Her look is classic and unique. Thanks for the background.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

      What a beautiful woman. SIGH...

      The Frog

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Ah, the ultimately beautiful woman -- and has continued to be so even in her dotage. Thanks for the background on Sophia -- I didn't know it! Best/Sis