Celebrity Then And Now
Sophia Loren
Name: Sophia Loren
Birthdate: September 20, 1934
Famous Years: 1956-Present
Currently Known For: Semi-Retired Actress
Networth: $75 MillionFamous For: Two Woman, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style
Sophia Loren
Name Sophia Loren
Birthdate September 20, 1934
Famous Years 1956-Present
Currently Known For Semi-Retired Actress
Networth $75 Million
Famous For Two Woman, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian Style

One of the most talented, beautiful and recognizable actresses in Hollywood history, Sophia Loren also happens to be one of the most decorated. People around the world are certainly familiar with Loren these days, though she had been a bit of a hidden gem for much of her early career. Even though her workload had gone down by the time many of us were born (and by her choice), almost all of us are at least familiar with her name.

Loren was born in Rome, Italy on September 20, 1934 where she had struggled for money as a child. Her father had had plenty of it, but left the home on several occasions, leaving a strain on the relationship between he and his daughter. It had an impact on the young Loren, who says that “You want to make peace. You want the normality, which we didn’t have...What I always wanted, because all my friends had it, was a father. I wanted to be like them, to be normal. But this was not possible.”

Without her father around, Loren had been growing up in Pozzuoli, but had to relocate during World War II when her city was bombed, prompting the family to have to move to Naples. Her family would move back following the war, and decided to start entering beauty pageants when she was just 16 years old, doing quite well in competition. At the time, her name was Sofia Scicolone, but that would change when she met Carlo Ponti, a producer that was more than 20 years older.

At 17 years old, Loren had started to take acting classes where she appeared in some very minor roles, mostly in the background. Meeting Ponti would prove to be the changing point in her career as she changed her name to broaden her appeal. When talking about him, Loren says that “I felt at home (when meeting). When I was leaving him to go home after we’d seen each other I would feel calm. I would ask myself, why do you feel like that? Because I trusted him. I was terribly young. I was 17 and we didn’t have anything together until a long time later. It’s not like today. He gave me confidence.”

After the name change, Loren would land her first starring role in the 1953 film “Aida”, which opened up the door for her to become a star in her native Italy, with other films such as “Two Nights with Cleopatra” and “The Gold of Naples”. Paramount Pictures in the United States would soon come calling for the Italian actress, signing her to a lengthy contract that included the film “Houseboat” where she was paired with Cary Grant.

“Many times I needed help with the language and Cary would help me,” Loren said about her time on set. “Cary belonged to another world in America. I felt that I would never fit in there. I would never have a future there because of my nationality. I was scared to change completely in life without knowing if this relationship or quasi-relationship was going on.”

Following her American debut, Loren would continue to become a bigger star, and was among the highest paid performers in the world heading into the 1960s. She’d earn her first Oscar nomination (and her only win) for her role in “Two Women”, and followed that up with another nomination for “Marriage Italian Style” four years later. Some of her bigger hits that would continue through the decade included “More Than a Miracle” and “The fall of the Roman Empire”.

Heading into the 1970s, Loren would have two young children, which meant she had to cut her workload down a bit. That doesn’t mean that she was done acting, but found herself doing more Italian films and reached a point of semi-retirement in the 1990s when she appeared in just four films, including the 1995 American comedy “Grumpier Old Men”. Since then, Loren has been in a handful of films including 2009’s “Nine” that received critical acclaim, and her last non-documentary feature film appearance came in 2011 in “Cars 2”. If you don’t recognize her from the movie, that’s because she played Mama Topolino, but only in the version that aired in countries where English isn’t the primary language.

Is there anything that Loren would’ve done differently if she could go back in her career? “No, I don’t think so,” she said. “I’m very glad. But in a long, long career like I had...it’s very difficult to be able to criticize some of the moments that you do by yourself that you never tell to other people. It’s a very normal thing to do because you cannot every time have a big victory - no, there have been moments, maybe weak moments, where you did something that you are not really very happy about.”

For her to take on another film or television role, Loren says that one would have to come along that she really likes. She added that she looks great for her age (which would be hard to disagree with), so Loren won’t ignore calls if the right job comes up. At 84 years old, hopefully that call will soon come and give us at least one more chance to see Loren do what she does best.