During World War II, the harbor and munitions plant in Pozzuoli was a frequent bombing target of the allies. During one raid, as Sofia ran to the shelter, she was struck by shrapnel and wounded in the chin. Subsequently the family moved to Naples and begged distant relatives to take them in.
After the war, Sofia and her family returned to Pozzuoli. Grandmother Luisa opened their living room as a pub, selling homemade cherry liquor. Romilda played the piano, Maria sang and the shy Sofia waited tables and washed dishes. The place was very popular with the American GIs stationed nearby.
When she was 14 years old, Sofia entered a beauty contest in Naples and, while not winning, was selected as one of the finalists. Later she enrolled in acting class and was selected as an extra in the Mervyn LeRoy film, Quo Vadis, thus launching her career as a motion picture actress. She would eventually change her name to Sophia Loren.
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 emptyheaded, 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).
In 1980, Loren portrayed herself, as well as her mother, in a made-for-television biopic adaptation of her autobiography. Actresses, Ritza Brown and Chiara Ferrari played Loren at younger ages. She made headlines in 1982 when she served an 18-day prison sentence in Italy on tax evasion charges, a fact that didn't damage her career or popularity.
In her 60s, Loren became selective about choosing her films and ventured into various areas of business, including cook books, eyewear, jewelry and perfume. She also made well-received appearances in Robert Altman's Ready to Wear and the 1995 comedy Grumpier Old Men playing a femme fatale opposite Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.
In 1991, Loren received the Academy Honorary Award for her contributions to world cinema and was declared "one of the world cinema's treasures." In 1995, she received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Loren is a huge fan of the football club S.S.C. Napoli. In May 2007, when the team was third in Serie B, she told the Gazzetta dello Sport that she would do a striptease if they achieved promotion to Serie A for the 2007/08 season. "The fans have a total passion, the city deserves promotion", Loren said. Although they achieved promotion to Serie A on June 10, 2007, Loren did not do a striptease.
Loren's eyes can be found on the Italian wine Fattoria Paradiso bottles.
|I am the Capataz||Secretary of the Dictator|
|Barbablu's six wives||Girl kidnapped|
|I Devote, Thee||A popular to the party of piedigrotta|
|Hearts at Sea||Extra||Uncredited|
|1951||White Leprosy||A girl in the boardinghouse|
|Owner of the Vapor||Ballerinetta|
|Magician for Force||The bride|
|Quo Vadis||Lygia's slave||Uncredited|
|''It's Him!... Yes! Yes!||Odalisca|
|Anna||Night club assistant||Uncredited|
|1952||And Arrived the Accordatore||Amica di Giulietta|
|I Dream of Zorro||Conchita|
|1953||The Country of Campanelli||N/A|
|Pilgrim of Love||N/A|
|We Find Ourselves in Arcade||Marisa|
|Two Nights with Cleopatra||Cleopatra/Nisca|
|Girls Marked Danger||Elvira|
|Good Folk's Sunday||Ines|
|Africa Under the Seas||Barbara Lama|
|A Day in Court||Anna|
|The Anatomy of Love||The girl|
|Poverty and Nobility||Gemma|
|The Gold of Naples||Sofia|
|Too Bad She's Bad||Lina Stroppiani|
|1955||The Sign of Venus||Agnese Tirabassi|
|The Miller's Beautiful Wife||Carmela|
|The River Girl||Nives Mongolini|
|Scandal in Sorrento||Donna Sofia|
|1956||Lucky to Be a Woman||Antonietta Fallari|
|1957||Boy on a Dolphin||Phaedra|
|The Pride and the Passion||Juana|
|Legend of the Lost||Dita|
|1958||Desire Under the Elms||Anna Cabot|
|The Key||Stella||Based on the novel Stella by Jan de Hartog|
|The Black Orchid||Rose Bianco|
|1959||That Kind of Woman||Kay|
|1960||Heller in Pink Tights||Angela Rossini|
|It Started in Naples||Lucia Curio|
|The Millionairess||Epifania Parerga|
|A Breath of Scandal||Princess Olympia|
|Two Women||Cesira||Academy Award for Best Actress (Won)|
|Madame Sans-Gêne||Catherine Hubscher aka Madame Sans-Gêne|
|The Condemned of Altona||Johanna|
|Five Miles to Midnight||Lisa Macklin|
|1963||Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow||Adelina Sbaratti/Anna Molteni/Mara|
|1964||The Fall of the Roman Empire||Lucilla|
|Marriage Italian-Style||Filumena Marturano||Academy Award for Best Actress (Nominated)|
|Lady L||Lady Louise Lendale/Lady L|
|1967||A Countess from Hong Kong||Natascha|
|More Than a Miracle||Isabella Candeloro|
|1968||Ghosts - Italian Style||Maria Lojacono|
|1970||I Girasoli (Sunflower)||Giovanna|
|1971||Lady Liberty||Maddalena Ciarrapico|
|The Priest's Wife||Valeria Billi|
|1972||The Sin||Hermana Germana|
|Man of La Mancha||Aldonza/Dulcinea|
|1974||The Voyage||Adriana de Mauro|
|Brief Encounter||Anna Jesson|
|1976||The Cassandra Crossing||Jennifer Rispoli Chamberlain|
|1977||A Special Day||Antoinette|
|Blood Feud||Titina Paterno|
|1980||Sophia Loren: Her Own Story||Herself/Romilda Villani|
|1984||Aurora by Night||Aurora|
|The Fortunate Pilgrim||Lucia|
|1990||Saturday, Sunday and Monday||Rosa Priore|
|1994||Prêt-à-Porter||Isabella de la Fontaine|
|1995||Grumpier Old Men||Maria Sophia Coletta Ragetti|
|2001||Francesca and Nunziata||Francesca Montorsi|
|2004||Lives of the Saints||Teresa Innocente|
|Too Much Romance... It's Time for Stuffed Peppers||Maria|