Sophia Loren is the epitome of a Hollywood movie star, representing beauty and a glitzy way of life.
Her ascent to popularity was difficult; she was born into a life of poverty, and even when she did become well-known, her appearance drew criticism.
Today, she is regarded as the most attractive woman to have ever been on our screens, even at the age of 88.
It’s amazing to think that someone with the start she did could go on to inspire music, decline a marriage proposal from Cary Grant, and become the first actor to win an Oscar for a foreign-language picture.
Her mother, an actress and piano teacher who was born Sofia Villani Scicolone Rome in 1934, attracted Hollywood’s attention with her attractive looks. Sophia’s lovely mother once won a Greta Garbi impersonator competition, but her conservative family forbade her from pursuing a career in film.
Instead, the mother would instruct her child and support Sophia in her destiny as a movie star.
Sophia’s father, who was also the father of her younger sister Maria, did not provide any support for her as she grew up because he would not wed her and did not participate in family affairs.
”I saw my father only six times in my life,” she mentioned. “He was a great of pain and humiliation for my mother, whom he seduced and abandoned, for my younger sister, Maria, who suffered terribly because he would not give her his name, and for myself.”
Being raised by a single mom was financially challenging.
“She was raised in severe poverty, sharing a bedroom with eight people at her grandparents’ home and living with other relatives,” writes Direct Expose. “Conditions eventually got so bad… that Loren’s mother would sometimes take water from the car radiator to feed to her daughters.”
Sophia experienced World War II; she was hit by shrapnel and knocked to the ground during one aerial raid, leaving her with a scar on her chin.
”I was a little girl, but the sound and the experiences of the war never, never leave you,” she once said..
She had mites and lice, and because she was so thin, she experienced bullying at school.
However, she soon developed into the popular beauty we know today. She later attended the National Film School in Italy after finishing as a finalist in the Miss Italia 1950 beauty contest.
She was still made fun of for her appearance, told she needed to lose weight, and that her nose was crooked.
“It was an interesting nose, which is why I still have never changed it. Sometimes when you are very young, you have to wait for nature to shape you on the face or on the body. Then little by little, people see the nose was much nicer than they thought,” she told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
When she was 19 years old, she got her big break by portraying an Ethiopian slave in the movie Aida, which brought her critical praise.
She co-starred in The Pride and the Passion with Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra four years later, and in 1960, she won an Oscar for her performance in Two Women as a mother who is desperately trying to provide for her daughter in a war-torn Rome.
The honors didn’t end there; Loren also went on to receive five additional Golden Globes for extraordinary performances, a Grammy Award, an Honorary Academy Award, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes for lifetime accomplishment, to name a few.
Marriage to Carlo Ponti
Despite rumors of relationships and bigamy in her personal life, she managed to maintain a 50-year marriage to Italian film producer Carlo Ponti until his passing in 2007.
When Sophia was just 16 years old, they first dated. Carlo gave her a job offer, took on the role of her mentor, and saw to it that Sophia became a household name in Italy before she turned 25.
”It was love at first sight for both of us. We met at a beauty contest in Rome when I was 16, and he was on the jury. He saw me sitting at a table with friends and sent me a note asking me to join the contest,” she said.
Sophia and Carlo were married in 1957, but because Carlo’s divorce from a previous marriage was not recognized in Italy, they were accused of bigamy. Carlo was 21 years older than her, and when they were first married, he was already a husband.
As a result, the marriage of Sophias and Carlo was dissolved in 1962. The problem was resolved when the couple lawfully wed and became French citizens.
They later had two sons: Eduardo, a filmmaker, and Carol Jr., a conductor of orchestras. Sophia has four grandchildren as of right now.
Sophia’s romantic history has frequently made headlines; for instance, she previously declined a marriage proposal from Cary Grant.
She never paid attention to her gorgeous looks, remained true to herself and making sure she gave her children the stable family environment she never had.
“My character is my best feature,” she told the Telegraph newspaper. “I was really a nobody, a little girl, unhappy, in desperation because of the life I was living with my family and no father.”
We still don’t know a lot about this screen diva because she burns her personal journal every year, but we do know that at 88 years old, she is still acting and committed to her family and career.
Sophia Loren had her first major screen appearance in more than a decade in 2020. Sophia plays Madam Rosa, a Holocaust survivor and former sex worker, in the American-Italian drama The Life Ahead, which was directed by her son Edoardo Ponti.
”I [tapped] into my own experiences during the war and [found] Madame Rosa’s truth and honesty by uncovering my own,” Sophia said.
The Italian actress who won an Oscar is now a successful businesswoman. She is the name of two restaurants in Italy, one in Florence and one in Milan. The latter establishment began operations in 2022, and Sophia was present.
“In my life I have had many passions, one of them is undoubtedly food” – Loren is quoted on the restaurant website.
”No director has ever managed to put me on a diet and I have never given up a good plate of pasta in favour of the figure.”
It is admirable how this movie diva overcame a difficult childhood and setbacks to carve out a successful career for herself.
Please share with all the Sophia Loren fans you know.