”Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” -Sophia Loren
— Pop Goes On (@AlexisKorner) May 17, 2015
Born in Rome on Sept. 20, 1934, Sophia Loren — the Italian queen of Tinseltown — is one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Encouraged to enroll in acting lessons after entering a beauty pageant, Loren began her film career at age 16 in 1950.
She appeared in several bit parts and minor roles in the early part of the decade, until her five-picture contract with Paramount in 1956 launched her international career. Notable film appearances around this time include The Pride and the Passion, Houseboat, and It Started in Naples, according to Wikipedia.
But critics didn’t fall in love with Loren until her performance as Cesira in Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women. Loren’s performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1962 and made her the first actress to win an Oscar for a foreign-language performance.
Seemingly overnight, Loren went from a girl in poverty to silver screen royalty.
She holds the record for having earned six David di Donatello Awards for Best Actress: Two Women; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; Marriage Italian Style (for which she was nominated for a second Oscar); Sunflower; The Voyage; and A Special Day.
After starting a family in the early 1970s, Loren chose to make only occasional film appearances. In later years, she has appeared in films such as Grumpier Old Men (1995) and Nine (2009).
Aside from the Academy Award, she has won a Grammy Award, five special Golden Globes, a BAFTA Award, a Laurel Award, the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the Honorary Academy Award in 1991.
In 1995, she received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievements. In 1999, Loren was named by the American Film Institute as one of the 25 greatest female stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema, and at age 84, she is the only living actress on the list.
Loren is in good health, and now lives with her family in Geneva, Switzerland.