Sophia Loren is Italy's most significant living actress. Acclaimed as "The Sun of Italy" for her wild beauty, she has over the past sixty years continued to make her presence felt globally in the cinematic world. She has starred in over 100 movies with many of Hollywood's leading male stars, such as Cary Grant. Last year, in Nine
she enthralled her fans with an outstanding performance full of intelligence and maturity. In 1991 Loren received an Academy Honorary Award for her contribution to cinema. She started her career as an actress at the age of 15, and with the recognition and support of film producer Carlo Ponti, whom she eventually married, she launched her career as a motion picture actress. She became Italy's first recipient of an Oscar with Two Women
(1960), directed by Vittorio De Sica, a leading figure of neo−realism movement. Then, with her favorite leading man as well as favorite actor, Marcello Mastroianni, with whom she worked for more than 20 years and costarred in 14 films, she performed in Sunflower
(1970), A Special Day
(1977) and other films and established herself as one of the most eminent character actresses in the cinematic world.
Sophia Loren is Italy's most significant living actress, an actress of international acclaim who has won countless awards, including two Oscars, and who has worked with many of the most significant performers in Hollywood and Europe. She is called "The Sun of Italy" for her wild beauty and for the past sixty years has continued to make her presence felt globally in the cinematic world.
Sofia Lazzaro (as she was originally known) was born in Rome. Having no means of support, her mother took her and her sister to Pozzuoli, near Naples, to stay with her grandparents during the Second World War. At the age of 14, she entered a beauty contest and was selected as one of the finalists. This experience led her to enrolling in acting classes in Rome.
In 1951 she was given a bit part in Quo Vadis
. Earlier, Sophia caught the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, whom she eventually married. She also changed her name to Sophia Loren and launched her career as a motion picture actress. Her encounter with the director, Vittorio De Sica, a leading figure in the neo−realism movement, resulted in the masterpiece Two Women
(1960), for which she was awarded her first Academy Award for Best Actress. She reflects "To have received the first Oscar as an Italian actress, was the most important memory in my life."
Hollywood embraced the young actress and she was soon regarded as an international star, playing alongside such luminaries as Gregory Peck, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, Marcello Mastroianni −the list of leading male stars she worked with in over 100 films is a history of stars of the 20th century cinema.
As her career developed she found acclaim as a character actress and, alongside her favorite leading man as well as her favorite actor, Marcello Mastroianni, she starred in such films as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
(1963), Marriage Italian Style
(1970), a film where Loren's character searched for her husband who lost his memory in the war, and A Special Day
(1977). She worked with Mastroianni for more than 20 years and costarred in 14 films..
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Loren is her enduring international popularity. Even now, with her mature performances and intelligent beauty, she continues to have a strong presence and to work actively in films. Last year, she starred in Nine
, impressing both critics and fans with an overwhelmingly charismatic performance that almost outshined her fellow actors.
With her strong belief that "an actress should be able to act both in dramatic films and comedies", she reads scripts carefully to check if they are moving enough to participate in. Among her recent films there is the Italian fiction La mia casa è piena di specchi (My House Is Full of Mirrors, 2010)
where she plays the role of her own mother.
She has two sons: the orchestra director Carlo Ponti Jr. and the film script−writer and director Edoardo Ponti. Her hundredth film Between Strangers
(2002) was directed by her son Edoardo Ponti.