. Taste of home coffee ice cream
German postcard by Kruger, nr. 902/446. Photo: Ufa.
Academy Award-winning film actress Sophia Loren
(1934) rose to fame in post-war Italy as a voluptuous sex goddess. She became one of the most successful international stars of the 20th Century and is still a major sex symbol.
Sophia Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone in Rome in 1934, to engineer Riccardo Scicolone and piano teacher and aspiring actress Romilda Villani. Riccardo refused to marry Romilda, leaving her without support. Romilda, Sofia and sister Maria returned to Pozzuoli, near Naples, to live with Sofia's grandmother in order to survive. During WW II they lived in abject poverty in the war-torn slums of Naples. At 14, Sofia entered a beauty contest and, while not winning, was selected as one of the finalists. She also was one of the contestants at the 1950 Miss Italia competition, earned the 2nd place and was awarded ‘Miss Eleganza’. Sophia first met producer Carlo Ponti in 1950 during such a beauty contest in which he was a judge. He was some 22 years her senior. He had helped launch Gina Lollobrigida's career, and now began grooming Sophia for stardom. He hired an acting coach to tutor her, and at 16 she was in her first film, the Toto comedy Le Sei Mogli di Barbablu/ Bluebeard’s Six Wives (1950, Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia) under the name Sofia Lazzaro. She also appeared as an extra in Luci del varieta/Lights of the Variety (1950, Federico Fellini), the smash hit Anna (1951, Alberto Lattuada) and Quo Vadis (1951, Mervyn LeRoy), and posed for a flurry of pin-up photographs which emphasised her body. At 17 Ponti cast her in her first larger role as the commoner who caught the prince's eye in the filmed opera La Favorita (1952, Cesare Barlacchi). The next year she earned third billing after Silvana Pampanini and Eleanora Rossi-Drago in La Tratta Delle Bianche/The White Slave Trade (1953, Luigi Comencini) and played the lead in another filmed opera, Aida (1953, Clemente Fracassi), but her songs were dubbed by a better singer. Ponti eventually changed her name to Sophia Loren.
Sophia Loren appeared for the first time with Marcello Mastroianni in the romantic comedy Peccato che sia una canaglia/Too Bad She's Bad (1954, Alessandro Blasetti),. They would make 13 films together, including Tempi nostri/A Slice of Life (1954, Alessandro Blasetti, Paul Paviot), La bella mugnaia/The Miller's Wife (1955, Mario Camerini), and La fortuna di essere donna/What A Woman (1956, Alessandro Blasetti). Sophia’s first film to find international success was La Donna del Fiume/The River Girl (1955, Mario Soldati). She came to the attention of Stanley Kramer who offered her the female lead in The Pride And The Passion (1957, Stanley Kramer) opposite Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. Sophia played a Spanish peasant girl involved in an uprising against the French. This was the turning point in her career, and the film became a big commercial success. Her next English-language film was Boy on a Dolphin (1957, Jean Negulesco) with Alan Ladd, where she was memorable mostly for emerging from the water in a wet, skin-tight, transparent dress. With her va-va-va-voom image she became an international film star and got a five-picture contract with Paramount Pictures. Among her films at this time were Desire Under the Elms (1958, Delbert Mann) with Anthony Perkins, based upon the Eugene O'Neill play; Houseboat (1958, Melville Shave
lson), a romantic comedy co-starring Cary Grant; and the western Heller in Pink Tights (1960, George Cukor) in which she appeared with blonde hair (a wig) for the first time, but most of these films were received lukewarmly at best.
In 1960 Sophia Loren returned to Italy to star in the brutal wartime drama La Ciociara/Two Women (1960, Vittorio De Sica) with Jean-Paul Belmondo. She won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance, and also the Cannes, Venice and Berlin Film Festivals' best performance prizes. Initially, the stark, gritty story of a mother and daughter surviving in war-torn Italy was to cast Anna Magnani as Sophia's mother. Negotiations broke down and the screenplay was rewritten to make Loren the mother; Eleonora Brown portrayed the daughter. She next shot in Spain Samuel Bronston's epic production of El Cid (1961, Anthony Mann) with Charlton Heston, followed by the De Sica episode of the anthology Boccaccio '70 (1962, Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti). On the strength of her Oscar win, she also returned to English-language fare with Five Miles to Midnight (1963, Anatole Litvak), followed a year later by The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964, Anthony Mann), for which she received $1 million. Among Loren's other films of this period are The Millionairess (1960, Anthony Asquith) with Peter Sellers, It Started in Naples (1960, Melville Shave
lson) with Clark Gable, Lady L (1965, Peter Ustinov) with Paul Newman, Arabesque (1966, Stnaley Donen) with Gregory Peck, and Charlie Chaplin's final film, A Countess f