Date of Birth
20 September 1934, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Sofia Villani Scicolone
5′ 8½” (1.74 m)
Sophia Loren was born as Sofia Scicolone at the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome, Italy, on September 20, 1934. Her father Riccardo was married to another woman and refused to marry her mother Romilda, despite the fact that she was the mother of his two children (Sophia and her younger sister Maria Scicolone). Growing up in the slums of Pozzuoli during the second World War without any support from her father, she experienced much sadness in her childhood. Her life took an unexpected turn for the best when, at age 14, she entered into a beauty contest where she placed as one of the finalists. It was there that Sophia caught the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, some 22 years her senior, whom she eventually married. Perhaps he was the only father figure she ever had. Under his guidance, Sophia immediately enrolled in acting classes and was soon playing bit parts in several films per year. Prior to using her current stage name, she was credited as “Sofia Lazzaro” because people joked her beauty could raise Lazzarus from the dead.
After starring in a string Italian features such as La favorita (1953) and Aida (1953), she embarked on a successful acting career in the United States, starting with her debut in The Pride and the Passion (1957) with Cary Grant. They were paired together a second time in the family-friendly romantic comedy Houseboat (1958), before Sophia returned to Europe to star in Two Women (1960). The film was a period piece about a woman living in war-torn Italy who is raped while trying to protect her young daughter. Originally cast in the role of the daughter, Sophia fought against type and was re-cast as the mother, proving herself as a genuine actress and displaying her lack of vanity. This performance received international acclaim and was honored with an Academy Award for Best Actress.
In the sixties and seventies, Sophia was a bona fide international movie star, and she continued to make films in both the U.S. and Europe, starring opposite leading men such as Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, and Charlton Heston. Her notable American films included the classic epics El Cid (1961) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), the spy adventure Arabesque (1966), the musical Man of La Mancha (1972), and the disaster film The Cassandra Crossing (1976). She gained a wider respect with her Italian movies like Marriage Italian Style (1964)) and A Special Day (1977). During these years she received a second Oscar nomination and won five Golden Globe Awards.
From the eighties onward, Sophia’s appearances on the big screen came few and far between. She preferred to spend most of her time with her husband, and raising sons Carlo Ponti Jr. and Edoardo Ponti. After starring in a biopic based off her autobiography titled Sophia Loren: Her Own Story (1980) (TV), she ventured into other areas of business and became the first actress to launch her own fragrance and design of eye wear. In 1982 she voluntarily spent nineteen days in jail for tax evasion.
In 1991 Sophia received an Honorary Academy Award for her body of work, and was declared “one of world cinema’s greatest treasures.” Later that year, Sophia also experienced a great loss when her mother died of cancer. Her return to the mainstream in Prêt-à-Porter (1994) (“Ready to Wear”) was well-received, although the film as a whole was not. She followed this up with her biggest U.S. box-office hit in years, the comedy Grumpier Old Men (1995) in which she played a sexy divorcée who seduces Walter Matthau. After this she took another break from acting, occasionally appearing in small productions abroad such as Between Strangers (2002) and Lives of the Saints (2004) (TV). Still beautiful at 72, she posed scantily-clad for the 2007 Pirelli Calendar. Sadly, that same year she lost her husband of 50 years, Carlo Ponti, who was said to have wooed her all those decades by giving her a single rose every day of their marriage. After far too much time away from film, she re-emerged in the musical Nine (2009) opposite Daniel Day-Lewis and Penélope Cruz.
These days Sophia divides her time between Switzerland and Los Angeles where she is close to her sons and their families. Despite her position as showbiz royalty, she relishes her discrete, low-profile lifestyle, claiming throughout the years “Showbusiness is what I do, not what I am.” With a career that has already spanned six decades and been honored with 50 awards, Sophia Loren remains one of the most beloved and recognizable figures in the international film world.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Jenny
Carlo Ponti (9 April 1966 – 10 January 2007) (his death) 2 children
Carlo Ponti (17 September 1957 – 1962) (annulled)
As a child, she also had the nickname, “Toothpick”.
Filed a lawsuit against 76 websites for using “fraudulent photographs” of her on adult sites (17 September 1999).
Mother of Carlo Ponti Jr. (b. 1969) and Edoardo Ponti (b. 1973). Father is Carlo Ponti.
She may have been the voluptuous sex goddess as an adult, but until the age of 14, she was a skinny child and considered an ugly duckling, nicknamed ‘The Stick’.
Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world (1991).
She had her marriage annulled to save Carlo Ponti from bigamy charges in Italy.
She served 18 days in prison in Italy in 1982 for tax evasion.
Born at 2:10pm-CET
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#25) (1995).
Derives great pleasure from rolling her bare feet over a wooden rolling pin while watching TV.
She didn’t get along with Marlon Brando during the shooting of A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), especially after the day they were doing a love scene and he commented, “Did you know you have hairs up your nostrils?”.
She performed two duets with Peter Sellers which were major hits in the UK pop chart. ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ was released in 1960 and reached four and ‘Bangers and Mash’ made it to the top 20 in 1961.
Carlo Ponti obtained a Mexican divorce from his first wife and married Sophia by proxy, while she was in Hollywood, filming Houseboat (1958) – and dating co-star Cary Grant (17 September 1957).
While filming Boy on a Dolphin (1957), Sophia was required to walk in a trench in order to give audiences the impression that her diminutive co-star, Alan Ladd, was taller than she.
Has a sister, Maria Scicolone (born 1938); and two half-brothers, Giuliano (born 1943) and Giuseppe (born 1946).
Suffered from stage fright and, therefore, never appeared in a theatrical production.
Measurements: 38C-24-38 (self-described – 1955, and from Edith Head- 1957), 36D-24-37 3/4 (at age 50 – 1985) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
Had two miscarriages prior to her first-born son Carlo Ponti Jr. Because of these complications, she had to have complete bed rest throughout her first and second successful pregnancies.
Her mother won an all-Italy Greta Garbo lookalike contest run by MGM in 1932; but, being only 17 years old, her mother wouldn’t allow her to pursue her Hollywood dream. Soon after, she became pregnant with Sofia.
Her adopted surname is a slight variation of “Toren” after the Swedish actress Märta Torén.
Her mother named her after her paternal grandmother, so when Sofia’s father abandoned her, her maternal grandmother began calling her ‘Lella’.
Won a Grammy award in 2004 for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for her work in “Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus” along with former US President Bill Clinton and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Was named #21 Actress, The American Film Institutes 50 Greatest Screen Legends
Often called the “Italian Marilyn Monroe”.
At times, male actors have been hesitant to appear with her, due to the fact that she stands nearly 5′ 9″ and wears towering heels and tall hair that can make her look over 6 feet tall.
Portrays herself and her mother in Sophia Loren: Her Own Story (1980) (TV)
Her “Best Actress” Academy Award was the first Oscar ever given for a performance in a “foreign-language” film.
Received an honorary citizenship in her hometown of Pozzuoli, Italy, on June 22, 2005 (she gave up her Italian citizenship and became a French citizen years ago because of legal and tax problems she and her husband incurred in Italy).
President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966.
Is portrayed by Sonia Aquino in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)
One of eight women, also among them Susan Sarandon and author Isabel Allende, carrying the Olympic flag at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games’ opening ceremony in Turin (10 February 2006).
She and Marcello Mastroianni appeared in 13 movies together: The Miller’s Beautiful Wife (1955), Blood Feud (1978), Lucky to Be a Woman (1955), A Special Day (1977), Sunflower (1970), Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963), Marriage Italian Style (1964), The Priest’s Wife (1971), Too Bad She’s Bad (1954), Prêt-à-Porter (1994), La pupa del gangster (1975), Ghosts – Italian Style (1967) and The Anatomy of Love (1954). They were also friends in real life. In the early ’90s, her teenage son Edoardo Ponti dated Marcello’s daughter Chiara Mastroianni.
Cited as one of Drew Barrymore’s early role models. Loren was a close friend of Drew’s godmother, Anna Strasberg (wife of famed acting coach Lee Strasberg.) Anna would bring young Drew – from age 8 until she was 12-to Sophia’s ranch outside Los Angeles where Drew would spend summers with Loren’s two sons. (Jane magazine interview March 2007).
Being a fan of soccer club S.S.C. Napoli, she told the daily “Gazzetta dello Sport”, when the team was just third in Serie B, that she would do a striptease if they achieved promotion to Serie A for the next season. When they managed to achieve promotion, she explained that she had made just a joke (June 2007).
Appeared in the 2007 edition of the famous Pirelli Calendar at the age of 72, making her the oldest model in its history.
Owns an apartment in the Trump World Tower in New York.
Mentioned in Bob Dylan’s song “I Shall Be Free”.
Hating beauty salons, she does her hair and nails herself.
Being one of the contestants at the 1950 Miss Italia competition, she earned the 2nd place and was awarded “Miss Eleganza”.
The Best Actress Oscar she won for Two Women (1960) (Two Women) was stolen by thieves from her Italian villa. AMPAS later replaced it for a small fee.
Is one of five performers to win an Oscar playing a character that spoke mostly in a foreign language. The other are Marion Cotillard, Robert De Niro, Roberto Benigni and Benicio Del Toro.
Her sister Maria Scicolone was once married to dictator Benito Mussolini’s son, Romano Mussolini.
Godmother of Drew Barrymore.
Was amongst those considered for the role of Lara Antipova in Doctor Zhivago (1965), but the part ultimately went to Julie Christie.
Mother-in-law of Sasha Alexander and Andrea Mezaros.
Turned down starring roles on the TV series “Dynasty” (1981) and “Falcon Crest” (1981) to devote more time to raising her sons.
Husband Carlo Ponti was two years older than Sophia’s mother Romilda.
Has often played the love interest of a significantly older man, such as in The Pride and the Passion (1957) when she was 22 and Cary Grant was 53; and in It Started in Naples (1960) when she was 25 and Clark Gable was 59.
Despite their strained relationship, she was present at her father Riccardo’s bedside when he died of cancer in 1976, aged 69.
Has three grandchildren: Lucia (b. May 12, 2006) and Leonardo (b. December 20, 2010) by her son Edoardo Ponti and his wife Sasha Alexander; and Vittorio (b. April 3, 2007) by her son Carlo Ponti Jr. and his wife Andrea.
Attended the funeral of her friend and two-time costar Anthony Perkins in September 1992.
Sex appeal is 50% what you’ve got and 50% what people think you’ve got.
Mistakes are a part of the dues one pays for a full life.
The two big advantages I had at birth were to have been born wise and to have been born in poverty.
Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent.
[on adultery] It’s a game I never play.
[explaining why she did not pose nude in the 2007 Pirelli calendar] When Sophia Loren is naked, that is a lot of nakedness.
Cooking is an act of love, a gift, a way of sharing with others the little secrets — “piccoli segreti” — that are simmering on the burners.
A woman’s dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.
A mother has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.
Many people think they want things, but they don’t really have the strength, the discipline. They are weak. I believe that you get what you want if you want it badly enough.
[on Tyrone Power] Tyrone Power was my ideal man.
[on Marcello Mastroianni] Marcello is a man who thinks like a man, talks like a man — is a man! He has so much magnetism, he brings out the very soul in a woman.
[on Gregory Peck] One of the most charming men I’ve ever met.
[on Cary Grant] I learned many things working with Cary Grant. He has such tremendous concentration. Many actors do not have the courage to stand still. Cary Grant knows how to concentrate, how to look directly at you, but always with great relaxation.
[on Gina Lollobrigida] Gina’s personality is limited. She is good playing a peasant but is incapable of playing a lady. That said, I don’t think she’s positively mad about me. Because I’m bigger than she? It’s possible. Who knows?
Hate is unfulfilled love.
Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.
Sharon Stone talks about sex as if it were a bowl of spaghetti or a pizza. Those things are private, you need to have a little discretion.
I am lucky. I had a very beautiful mother.
The facts of life are that a child who has seen war cannot be compared with a child who doesn’t know what war is except from television.
I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.
I hated my father all my life but in his final days I forgave him for all the suffering he caused us. As you grow older, marry, and have children of you own, you learn and forget. I do not forget easily, but I do forgive.
There IS a Fountain of Youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.
[Explaining why she, a nominee, could not attend the 1961 Academy Awards] I decided that I could not bear the ordeal of sitting in plain view of millions of viewers while my fate was being judged. If I lost, I might faint for disappointment. If I won, I would also very likely faint with joy. I decided it would be better to faint at home.
[on having made 'Two Women'] I said before I am not a sexy pot. Now I can prove it.
Man of La Mancha (1972) $ 750,000
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) $ 1,000,000
El Cid (1961) $ 750,000
The Pride and the Passion (1957) $ 200,000
Date of Birth