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Sophia Loren

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Sophia Loren (born September 20, 1934) is a motion picture and stage, Academy Award-winning actress and former sex symbol, widely considered to be the most popular Italian actress of her time.

Early life and career
Sophia Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone in Rome. Her father Riccardo Scicolone was an engineer and her mother Romilda Villani was an aspiring Neapolitan actress and piano teacher. Loren grew up impoverished in wartime Pozzuoli, near Naples sharing a small flat with her sister Maria, her grandparents and her uncles and aunts. She has said on many occasions that being born into and living with extreme poverty for most of her childhood gave her a strength of character that allowed her to succeed and appreciate every moment she has been given as a human being. Up until Sophia Loren was about 14, she was considered an ugly duckling. Seemingly overnight, she bloomed into a beautiful woman.

In 1949, at age 15, Loren left for Rome and about a year later began her film career with bit parts in mostly minor Italian films. In 1950 she was among the contestants of the Miss Italia beauty pageant, earning the 2nd place behind the winner Anna Maria Bugliari. In 1951, Loren and her mother worked as extras in Quo Vadis, which was filmed in Rome and provided Loren with an early brush with Hollywood. She also appeared in the title role of the movie Aida (1953), in which the singing of Loren’s character was dubbed by opera star Renata Tebaldi, and which caught the eye of Cecil B.

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