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Sophia Loren

portrait of Sophia Loren
At London, England, photo by Prince Power (13 June 2009)

Born: 20 September 1934, Rome, Italy

Born Sofia Villani Scicolone, her mother a music teacher and aspiring actress. Despite having two daughters, her father refused to marry which left the family dependent on family for shelter and exposed Sofia and Maria to the stigma of illegitimacy. At fourteen, Sofia entered a beauty contest at Naples and was among the finalists; two years later she came to the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, 22 years her senior. After that first beauty contest she won small parts in Italian films as Sofia Lazzaro, adopting Sophia Loren starting with La Favorita in 1952. In both Italy and the US she played opposite the best-known leading men of her time, often co-starring with the stars of the previous generation. Her list of films would be even longer but she was choosy about her roles and wanted to spend time at home with her sons. She married Conti in 1957, the union was annulled in 1962 to avoid bigamy charges because Italy did not recognize divorce. They remarried in 1966 in France and both took French citizenship; they had two sons and remained married until Conti's death in 2007. From 1950 to date she has appeared in over ninety films, winning over fifty awards including two Oscars, seven Golden Globes, a Grammy, and a host of other film-industry honors. She is a Chevalier (Knight) in the French Legion of Honor, a Knight Grand Cross in of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and was given the Praemium Imperiale by the Imperial Family of Japan. Loren's primary residence is Geneva, Switzerland.

Biography from Wikipedia and IMDB

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