The Extraordinary Life of Sophia Loren

by Elsa Stringer

If one were to see her as a young girl, they would not think much of Sophia Loren. She was a tiny and shy little girl, very skinny and closed.  She was born in Rome on 20 September, 1934, to Riccardo Scicolone, a construction engineer of noble roots, and a piano instructor Romilda Villani.

 The pair were not married, and young Sophia only saw her father three times in her life. Sophia had one sister, Maria, and two half-brothers, Giuliano and Giuseppe.

Romilda lived with her two daughters and her own mother in a small and poor city of Pozzuoli, close to Naples. They had a hard time during World War II, and Loren was even injured in one bombing attack. Following this accident, they moved to Naples and lived with relatives.

Following the war, the four ladies opened a pub in their living room and worked there. Sophia waited on tables and washed dishes, her mother played the piano, Maria sang, and her grandmother brewed and sold a homemade cherry liquor drink. Sophia later said that this part of her life made her stronger and helped her succeed alter in life.

At 14, Sophia won the local beauty contest and at 16, she attended the Miss Italy competition, winning the “Miss Eleganza” award. She started auditioning in Rome at 15, and she began to provide for her family with her modeling salary. She worked for illustrated romantic story magazines.

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Following some minor movie roles, she met Carlo Pont Senior in 1957, a director 22-year her senior. Their love story is worth of a Hollywood movie. On Sophia’s 23rd birthday, the pair got married, but the groom was already married. Divorce was illegal in Italy back then, so they had to break off their relationship.

This was hardly the end of their romance, as the young actress accepted the role of a mistress. Ponti’s feelings for her were so strong that he decided to change his citizenship in order to finally marry his love. He made plans with his first wife and moved to France, gaining French citizenship. They could finally get a divorce and he married Sophia.

During the next several years, Loren was already becoming the Femme Fatale everyone knows today. Many marriages failed because men could not get enough of her and were unhappy of their wives. Most of Loren’s colleagues from the movie industry were obsessed with her as well. She would regularly receive marriage proposals on the set of her movies, from actors who had been married for years.

In 1962, Sophia Loren won an Academy Award. This is not her only reward, as she has five Golden Globes too. She has appeared in over 100 movies and TV shows during her six decades of acting. She was considered one of the most beautiful women ever, and “Empire” ranked her 25th on their list of the hottest stars in the history of movies.

She has experienced some hardships as well. In 1982, she spent 18 days behind bars for avoiding tax. Except legal issues, she has had personal problems too, namely the fact she could not conceive a child for a long time. She had wanted to become a mother but she suffered two miscarriages before finally giving birth to a son, Carlo Ponti Juanior. She then had another son, Edoardo.

Her husband sadly passed away in 2007 at the golden age of 94. They were married for 41 years and had always had a happy and stable marriage. Sophia never remarried and remained faithful to her late husband. In September of 2020, she will turn 86 years old. She has had an extraordinary life and she says she regrets nothing.

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