Sophia Loren is 80

sophia-lorenWhen I was growing up, there were women who were supposed to be most beautiful: Marilyn Monroe, Bridget Bardot, among them.

Somehow, though, I was most fascinated by Sophia Loren, the poor Italian girl who became a star. Long before I ever saw her in a full-length film, I’d catch her on some part of Saturday afternoon movie on TV and was captivated. And I still am.

In Binghamton, there were “art films” at the Robinson Center when I was a teenager, and I’m sure there was a Loren film or two, though I don’t recall specifically which ones.

She was the first performer to win an Oscar for a foreign-language performance, Best Actress in 1962, playing Cesira in Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women.

Here are some links:

Ahead of her time?

A series of photos of Sophia Loren at the height of her fame — made by her great friend and LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

She sings Zou Bisou Bisou.

She dances flamenco.

The movie Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, directed by her husband, the late Carlo Ponti.

Her IMDB page.

Her life and career, from oscars.org.

A documentary – from biography.com.

Timeless beauty Sophia Loren, 79, stuns in chic pantsuit as she arrives hand-in-hand with son Edoardo Ponti to film screening.

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