Sophia Loren is the illegitimate child of Romilda Villani and Riccardo Scicolone. She grew up in the slums of Pozzuoli, just outside Naples. After insignificant parts in Variety Lights (1950) and Quo Vadis (1951), she met movie-director Carlo Ponti, some 22 years her senior, whom she later married. Perhaps he was the father figure she never experienced as a child. In 1961, she received an Academy Award for La Ciociara (1960). This beautiful woman became one of the major sex symbol of the sixties, competing with Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda.
She gained wide spread respect with her later movies like The Cassandra Crossing (1976), and Prêt-à-Porter (1994). Many of her movies were produced by her husband.