Name at birth: Sofia Scicolone
Sophia Loren was one of Italy's great 20th-century sex symbols. She hit it big in the movies in 1950s, thanks especially to film producer Carlo Ponti (whom she married in 1957). In 1961 she won an Oscar for the Italian wartime drama Two Women (La Ciociara). In addition to her va-va-voom image, Loren has always been a respected actress; in 1991 she won an honorary Oscar in recognition of her full body of work. Her films include The Pride and the Passion (1957, with Frank Sinatra), It Started in Naples (1960, with Clark Gable) and El Cid (1961, with Charlton Heston and based on the life of Spanish legend El Cid).
Loren is sometimes compared with another Italian star of the era, Gina Lollobrigida.