Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sofia, her dreams and victory over crude reality

Sofia, her dreams and victory over crude reality.

Early childhood of Sofia spent in fight against poverty:

Born on 24th September, 1934, in Rome, Sofia Lorraine brought new aspirations for her mother Romilda Wilany, although her father Ricardo Siklon was not happy with her birth. From birth itself she had fought against poverty. Due to consumption of certain medicines her mother could not even produce milk for her daughter and her childhood was spent in misery without adequate nutrition. Her mother went to the city of Pozuoli where her grandmother lived who had been of some financial help during the infancy of Sofia.

At ten years of age Sofia performed in public function and earned handsome money but gave it to her father who denied parentage to Sofia’s younger sister Maria. He contracted with Sofia that if she paid the consideration he would accept the parentage of Maria. Sofia sacrificed her first earning for Maria as she was struggling to get admission any school in Italy. In those days it was difficult to get admission in any school without the recognition of a child through the name of the father.

Struggle during the teenage.

During the second world war, Sofia and her family had to leave Pozuoli as it became a destination for high-power bomb attacks and due to compulsion went to Naples. After the second world war, Italy just like Germany became extremely poor and the burden of the war fell back on the ordinary citizens. Sofia and her family returned back to Pozuali and converted their residence into a pub. As they had no other source of income, the mother played the Piano, Maria used to sing and Sofia washed dishes to earn their living. At that time some of the American soldiers became sympathetic towards them and Charles Doyle provided even medicine to Sofia when she suffered injury from bomb attacks.

Sofia’s passion for cinema.

Sofia started going to cinema halls in her city to watch Hollywood films and became a big admirer of Cary Grunt, Rita Hewarth, Frank Sinatra, Betty Grable, etc. She became glamourous during her teenage and even her Gym-teacher proposed to marry her at that age. She participated in One Girl-queen of the sea and other twelve other princesses competition where the beautiful ladies of Naples were invited. Her dress for the beauty contest was made from cloth used to make curtains and after some preparations she participated in the contest with a pink gown. She competed against 200 contestants and qualified as one of the twelve princesses. The victory gave her a scope of going to Rome and she won a table-cloth and one thousand lira.

Sofia’s dreams got fulfilled.

Her mother admitted her in an acting school after the victory in beauty contest. Sofia got a scope of performing in Mervin Leroy’s film Quo Vadis. She got a small role of a servant but got a beginning. At that time only her sister Maria became extremely sick and her mother went back to Pozuoli leaving Sofia alone in Rome at 16 years of age. Sofia continued her acting and got small roles in films like Hearts Upon The Sea. She also got involved in photo-shoots which were used in comic-strips. She participated in Miss Rome Competition and the judge of the contest Carlo Ponty got impressed with her and invited her for screen test, but the cameramen found a lot of defects in her face and asked her to go for cosmetic surgery but she denied it. At 18 years of age she got a notable role in the film In Africa Under The Seas. In Ida Opera Sofia got another scope of performing where her voice was dubbed by Renata Tebuldi, but her performance impressed the crowd.

Then she got one of her lifetime roles from renowned director Vettori Desica. The film was titled The Gold of Naples. Desica had unearthed the hidden talent of Sofia which was shaped due to strong struggle for existence during her life. In 1954, director Alescendro Blasetti took her in the film To Bad Sea is Bad, where her pair with Marsello Mastroini became famous. The same pair stormed the silver screen with the film The Miller’s beautiful wife and after the following film Lucky to be a woman became a greater hit.

Sofia’s success in hollywood films.

Although Sofia became the leading actress in Italian cinema her domination in Hollywood films was yet to begin. She learned English from Sarah Spain and she got a break from Director Stanley Crammer who made a period film with her titled The pride and the passion. Sofia got two million dollar for her performance and performed opposite the established actor Cary Grunt and Frank Sinatra. On one hand she got marriage proposal from Cary Grunt while performing in the film and at the same time she could not forget her relationship with Carlo Ponty who was previously married but whose wife was inclined to give him divorce.

In 1957, she performed in the successful film Legend of the lost and again performed with Cary Grunt in the film House Boat. She got married to Carlo Ponty after he got divorce from her first wife. As Roman catholics discarded the marriage that had to leave Italy. Although Cary Grunt got upset about it he still greeted Sofia and acknowledged her capability.

Sofia became a legendary actress of Hollywood films of all times.

Her successful Hollywood films followed one after the other. Her film The Key opposite William Holden became hit, the film The Millionaire opposite Peter Sailor became a bigger hit. She even got best actress award in Venis Film Festival for her remarkable performance in the film Black Orchid. She also played a notable role in the film Two Women which was partly related to story of her own life. She also gave birth to two children named Carlo Junior and Edwardo. Her performance was appreciated by people across the world including her famous film Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. She also wrote books titled Living and Loving; Women; Eat with me; etc. In 1990 she received Honorary Oscar Lifetime Achievement Award for her notable contribution in Hollywood films. Her life is a true example that even if human beings are born in unfavorable environment they can shape their destiny and through hard work and honesty very difficult tasks can be fulfilled. She had achieved extraordinary feat and has been an institution by herself.

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