Sophia Loren is an Italian film actress and singer. Encouraged to enroll in acting lessons after entering a beauty pageant, Loren began her film career in 1950 at age 15. She appeared in several bit parts and minor roles in the early part of the decade, until her five-picture contract with Paramount in 1956 launched her international career.
Her talents as an actress were not recognized until her performance as Cesira in Vittorio De Sica's Two Women; Loren's performance earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1962 and made her the first artist to win an Oscar for a foreign-language performance. She holds the record for having earned six David di Donatello Awards for Best Actress: Two Women; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; Marriage Italian Style (for which she was nominated for a second Oscar); Sunflower; The Voyage; and A Special Day. After starting a family in the early 1970s, Loren chose to make only occasional film appearances. In later years, she has appeared in American films such as Grumpier Old Men and Nine.
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