Sun, Sep 21, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Style icon Sophia Loren celebrates her 80th birthday


Italian actress Sophia Loren participates in a press conference in Mexico City, Mexico, on Friday.

Photo: EPA

Sophia Loren turned 80 yesterday — a landmark birthday feted across Italy with celebrations of the beauty and talent of the country’s revered cinema icon.

Loren herself was spending the day in Mexico City, where telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim had organized a gala dinner to mark the occasion.

Slim, one of the world’s richest men, was also hosting an exhibition at his private museum entitled “Yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

That is also the title of a new memoir Loren has produced to mark her octogenarian birthday and which is full of anecdotes detailing, for example, how enamored Cary Grant was of her, and how she once resisted Marlon Brando’s amorous advances by hissing at him like an angry cat.

The illegitimate daughter of an actress, Loren is adored in her homeland for that kind of feistiness — as well as for her triumph over extremely humble origins, her acting talent and for the voluptuous good looks that made her synonymous with simmering sensuality.

Born Sofia Scicolone to an actress single mother, Loren was nicknamed the “toothpick” because she was so thin in her early teens. However, she soon filled out sufficiently to be able to earn a living for herself and her impoverished family by winning beauty contests.

At one of them, aged 15, she met Carlo Ponti, a man two decades older than her who was to become her husband, manager and constant companion until his death in 2007.

Loren had two children and picked up an Oscar for best actress for her role in Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women.

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