Stunning vintage pose on a contemporary photograph hand-signed in person, from her film The Millionairess.
SOPHIA LOREN (1934-) is an Academy Award-winning Italian film actress, born Sofia Villani Scicolone. She is widely considered to be the most popular Italian actress of her time and is also famous for being a major international sex symbol.
Loren became an international film star with a five-picture contract with Paramount Pictures. Among her films at this time: Desire Under the Elms with Anthony Perkins, based upon the Eugene O'Neill play; Houseboat, a romantic comedy co-starring Cary Grant; and George Cukor's Heller in Pink Tights in which she appeared with blonde hair (a wig) for the first time. Loren demonstrated considerable dramatic skills and attracted respect as a dramatic and comedic actress, especially in Italian projects where she could express herself more freely, although she acquired great proficiency in English.
In 1960, Loren's acclaimed performance in Vittorio De Sica's Two Women earned many awards, including the Cannes, Venice and Berlin Film Festivals' best performance prizes. Her performance was also awarded an Academy Award for Best Actress, the first major Academy Award for a non-English-language performance. Initially, the stark, gritty story of a mother and daughter surviving in war-torn Italy was to cast Anna Magnani as Sophia's mother. Negotiations, perhaps due to billing, broke down and the screenplay was rewritten to make Loren the mother; Eleonora Brown portrayed the daughter.
Belying the typical portrayal of the beautiful actress as vacuous and empty-headed, Loren was known for her sharp wit and insight. One of her most frequently-quoted sayings is her quip about her famously-voluptuous figure: "Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti."
During the 1960s, Loren was one of the most popular actresses in the world, and she continued to make films in both the U.S. and Europe, acting with leading male stars. In 1964, her career reached its zenith when she received $1 million to act in The Fall of the Roman Empire.
Among Loren's best-known films of this period are Samuel Bronston's epic production of El Cid (1961) with Charlton Heston, The Millionairess (1960) with Peter Sellers, It Started in Naples with Clark Gable (1960), Vittorio De Sica's triptych Ieri, oggi, domani (1963) with Marcello Mastroianni, Peter Ustinov's Lady L (1965) with Paul Newman, the 1966 classic Arabesque with Gregory Peck, and Charlie Chaplin's final film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) with Marlon Brando.
Despite the failure of many of her films to generate sales at the box office, Loren has an impressive roster of credits and work with famous co-stars. Invariably, she has turned in a charming performance and worn some of the most lavish costumes ever created for the movies. Some of her most attractive performances include A Breath of Scandal (1960), Madame Sans-Gêne (1962), Heller in Pink Tights (1960) and More than a Miracle (1967).
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