Sophia Loren Fast Facts

On Sophia Loren's 78th birthday, LIFE.com presents a series of warm, informal portraits of the film legend by her friend, Alfred Eisenstaedt, made at the height of her international fame in the early '60s. Here, a previously unpublished picture of Sophia Loren in Italy in 1961.
Sophia Loren, Italy, 1961.
Sophia Loren, Italy, 1961.
Sophia Loren, 1962.
Sophia Loren on her bed in her Italian villa, 1964.
Sophia Loren, 1964. <a href="http://life.time.com/icons/sophia-loren-rare-and-classic-portraits/" target="_blank">See the complete gallery on LIFE.com.</a>


Birth date: September 20, 1934

Birth place: Rome, Italy (grew up in Pozzuoli, outside of Naples)

Birth name: Sofia Villani ScicoloneFather: Riccardo ScicoloneMother: Romilda Villani

Marriages: Carlo Ponti (April 9, 1966-January 10, 2007, his death; September 17, 1957-September 3, 1962, annulled)Children: Edoardo, Carlo Jr.

Other Facts

At six, her chin was cut by shrapnel during a bombing in World War II.Other screen names used before becoming Sophia Loren were Sofia Lazzaro and Sofia Scicolone.Nominated for two Academy Awards and won one. She also received an honorary award.Nominated for eight Golden Globes and won five. She also received the honorary Cecil B. deMille Award.Nominated for one Grammy Award and won.An accomplished cook, she has written three cookbooks.


1949 – Enters the Queen of the Sea beauty contest and comes in second, winning a train ticket to Rome, where she begins modeling and acting in B-movies.Early 1950s – Is the runner-up in a nightclub beauty contest for Miss Rome. Movie producer Carlo Ponti is one of the judges.1951 – Makes her US film debut as an uncredited extra, with no lines, in the film “Quo Vadis?”Early 1950s – Adopts the last name Loren.October 23, 1953 – “Aida” opens; it’s her first major leading role.1957 – Loren appears in her first English-speaking leading role, “The Pride and the Passion.” She learns her lines by using cue cards of English words written phonetically.1962 – Wins the Best Actress Academy Award for “La ciociara (Two Women).”September 3, 1962 – Her marriage of almost five years to Carlo Ponti is annulled. Neither the Vatican nor Italian law recognizes Ponti’s 1957 divorce by proxy from Giuliana Ponti. Loren and Ponti are forced to annul their marriage after warrants for their arrest are issued.1964 – Stars in the movie, “Matrimonio all’italiana (Marriage Italian Style).” Nominated for an Academy Award.1964-1965 – Moves to France with Carlo Ponti and becomes a French citizen.1965 – Giuliana Ponti obtains a French divorce recognized by Italian law.April 9, 1966 – Loren and Carlo Ponti marry for the second time.July 24, 1968 – Loren and Ponti cleared of bigamy charges by Rome’s criminal court.January 23, 1979 – Loren is tried (in absentia), and acquitted, of complicity with Ponti in income tax evasion, misuse of government subsidies, and illegal export of Italian funds and artwork. Carlo Ponti is convicted and sentenced to four years in prison (two years were pardoned) and fined 22 billion lire ($24 million). All charges against him were cleared in 1987.1980 – Portrays both herself and her mother in the made-for-TV movie “Sophia Loren: Her Own Story,” based on her 1979 autobiography, “Sophia: Living and Loving, Her Own Story,” written with A. E. Hotchner.May 20, 1982 – Loren begins her 30-day jail term for tax evasion, for unpaid supplementary taxes for 1963-1964.June 5, 1982 – Serves 17 days of her 30-day jail term.1991 – Receives Honorary Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.2003 – Winner, Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children (along with Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev) for reading Prokofiev’s “Peter and The Wolf.”2009 – Appears in the movie “Nine,” her first role in five years.

November 2014 – Loren’s memoir, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: My Life,” is published.November 13, 2020 –“The Life Ahead” premieres on Netflix. The film stars Loren and is directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti.

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