The “Femme Fatale” segment on NoirWhale.com is designed to highlight the life and merits of exceptional film noir actresses. These women are the embodiment of the femme fatale archetype, and propel possibly the most recognizable and integral theme in the noir genre.
“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.”
Born Sophia Villani Scicolone on the 20th of September in 1934 in Rome Italy, Sophia is the oldest of 4 siblings (one sister and two half brothers). During World War II, the area in which she lived was a frequent bombing target of the Allied forces. As one such bombing raid commenced she was struck on the chin by a piece of shrapnel as she ran for cover. At age 14 she entered a formal beauty contest in Naples, and although she was not crowned the winner, she was named as one of the finalists. A short time later she enrolled in acting classes and received her first assignment as an actress being an extra in the film Quo Vadis (1951).
Sophia’s first starring role was in the film Aida (1953), but her breakthrough role was in The Gold of Naples (1954). Over the next three years she starred in films opposite great leading men such as: Marcello Mastroianni, John Wayne, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra. A five film contract with Paramount Pictures saw her launched into the realm of international stardom in 1958. In 1961, she starred in the film Two Women, which was the story of a mother trying to protect her daughter in war-torn Italy. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance and became the first actress to win the award for a non-English performance.
Throughout the 1960s, she was one of the most famous actresses in the world. Her fame reached it’s pinnacle when she was paid a whopping $1 million dollars to appear in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). During this era, her list of famous co-stars grew: Anthony Perkins, Peter Sellers, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, and Marlon Brando.
She has continued to act and contribute to cinema up to the current day, starring in the film Nine (2009) opposite modern greats: Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard, and Nicole Kidman.
Sophia owns homes in Geneva Switzerland, Naples, and Rome. In 1999, she filed lawsuits against 76 pornographic websites for posting altered nude photos of her on the internet. She’s a devout Roman Catholic.
Sophia Loren is number 21 of 25 greatest female film stars of all time. She’s an Italian femme fatale, and an incredible addition to the noir genre.
“A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.”
*All biographical information was snagged from:
*Quotes were snagged from: