"Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got."

Italian actress, born on September 20, 1934, in Pozzuoli, Campania, Italy. Real name: Sofia Villani Scicolone. As a child, the future sex symbol was so skinny, she was nicknamed "Toothpick" and "the Stick". She was born very poor, but she always dreamed of being an actress. She began entering beauty contests when she was a teenager and met her future husband, Carlo Ponti, when he was judging a contest that she had entered. He signed her to a movie contract, and she appeared in bit roles in a couple of films in the early 1950s. She earned the leading role in a 1953 version of "Aida", though her singing was dubbed by a professional. She was a hit in Italy, quickly appearing in more movies, including "Attila", "The Gold of Naples", "Two Nights with Cleopatra", "Too Bad She's Bad", and "Lucky to Be a Woman".

Loren soon attracted the attention of Hollywood, and she appeared in a number of American movies shot in overseas--"Legend of the Lost", "The Pride and the Passion", and "Boy on a Dolphin"--before finally traveling to Hollywood to make, among others, "Desire Under the Elms", "Houseboat", "The Black Orchid", and "A Breath of Scandal".

She returned to Italy in the 1960s, where she made "Two Women" in 1961, primarily to show that she was more than a pretty face and a gorgeous body. As it turned out, Loren won an Academy Award for Best Actress--she was the first performer to win an Oscar for a performance given entirely in a language other than English. She stayed in Italy for many years, appearing in both Italian and international pictures, including "El Cid", "The Fall of the Roman Empire", "Lady L", "Arabesque", and "A Countess from Hong Kong". In many of her best known movies, such as "Boccaccio '70", "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow", and "Marriage Italian-Style", she was directed by Vittorio De Sica and starred opposite Marcello Mastroianni.

Loren has worked sporadically since the 1970s, most notably appearing in 1971's "A Special Day", a drama with Mastroianni, 1984's "Aurora", in which her son, Edouardo Ponti, had his acting debut, and 1994's "Ready to Wear", in which she again teamed up with Mastroianni. She received a special Oscar in 1991, in recognition of her lengthy career.

As always, much research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)

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