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Straight From Europe: The Next Great Hollywood Beauty
Posted August 11, 2010 to photo album "Straight From Europe: The Next Great Hollywood Beauty"
Anton Corbijn’s The American will give Americans the chance to discover two European actress: Italy’s Violante Placido and Dutch actress Thekla Reuten. They are only the latest in string of European discoveries.
Slide 7: Sophia Loren - The Italian Scandal
In her long career, which continues to this day, Sophia Loren, born in Rome in 1935, has epitomized a kind of earthy Italian sexuality, a radiant glamour that was born in a series of screen roles that still emphasized her poor, “peasant” roots. Although her early career was with Italian directors such as Vittorio de Sica, her first film appearance was actually in an American film — as an extra in Mervyn LeRoy’s ancient Roman epic Quo Vadis. Just as Bergman shocked American mores with her divorce, so too did Loren make an early impression in the States through her romantic liaisons. Her first English-speaking film was 1957’s The Pride and the Passion, with Cary Grant. The tabloids were full of reports of a scandalous romance between the married Grant and his beautiful co-star. In turn, Loren fell in love with the film’s producer, Carlo Ponti, and he left his own family for her, bringing condemnation from the Vatican. By the time of El Cid, her breakout picture in the States, Loren’s identity had turned into a complex mixture of sex symbol, homewrecker and demanding diva. The American press took note of her high $200,000 salary for the picture as well as the lawsuit she filed in New York Supreme Court over the size of her billing on a Times Square billboard. A five-picture deal with Paramount Pictures, co-stars like John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Peter Sellers, and Anthony Perkins and a facility for both drama and comedy went on to make Loren one of cinema’s hottest stars in the 1960s. Still, in her most prolific period, Loren alternated between U.S. and Italian productions, earning her highest critical praise for two Italian films. She won an Academy Award — the first given by the Academy for a non-English-speaking role — for Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women and was also nominated for his Marriage Italian Style. Over the years, Loren popped up in several American films, almost always playing glamorous parts — even opposite Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men. In 1990, she received an honorary Academy Award. The Academy said, “[She is] one of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form. Loren continues to work, recently playing the “Mama” character in the Rob Marshall adaptation of Nine.