Sunday, 30 September 2018

Cissy Houston born 30 September 1932

Emily "Cissy" Houston (née Drinkard; born September 30, 1933) is an American soul and gospel singer. After a successful career singing backup for such artists as Dionne Warwick, Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin, Houston embarked on a solo career, winning two Grammy Awards for her work. Houston is the mother of singer
 Whitney Houston, grandmother of Whitney's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, aunt of singers Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, and a cousin of opera singer Leontyne Price.

Houston, the youngest of eight children, was born Emily Drinkard on September 30, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey to Nitcholas ‘Nitch’ and Delia Mae (McCaskill) Drinkard. The Drinkard children attended revival-style weekday services where they discovered gospel music. At the age of five, Houston began singing with her sister Anne and two brothers Larry and Nicky. They formed the gospel singing group, the Drinkard Four, performing regularly at the New Hope Baptist Church. After graduating from Newark’s South Side High School, she and her group, now The Drinkard Singers, continued performing and were featured on a 1951 program at Carnegie Hall starring Mahalia Jackson.

Following her father’s death in 1955, Houston married her first husband, Freddie Garland and the couple had one child, Gary. Two years later, the two divorced and she met John Houston. Later that year, The Drinkard Singers breakthrough performance at the Newport Folk Festival led to the album A Joyful Noise on the RCA Victor label. The group included Houston’s nieces and their adopted sister Judy Guions (Clay). In 1959, Cissy and John Houston were married. Then, in 1963, while pregnant with her daughter Whitney Houston, she formed the Sweet Inspirations with Doria Troy and Dee Dee Warwick 
Cissy & Johm
(Dionne’s sister), and over the course of the next few years they provided backup vocals to prominent artists including Aretha Franklin (Natural Woman) and Van Morrison (Brown Eyed Girl). The group released their debut album in 1967 and toured the country with Aretha Franklin and sang back up in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley.

Houston left the Sweet Inspirations in 1969 to pursue a solo career. She recorded an impressive album for Commonwealth United in 1970, Presenting Cissy Houston, which yielded a couple of small R&B/pop hits: "I'll Be There" and "Be My Baby." Much in the manner of the Sweet Inspirations, although the material consisted of fairly well-worn soul, rock, and pop tunes, the state-of-the-art arrangements and gospel-ish vocals made them sound fresh.

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Her contract was sold to Janus Records later in the year, and while she issued a few singles there until the middle of the '70s, she never received the support and promotion she deserved. A case in point was her little-known original version of "Midnight Train to Georgia," taken to the top of the charts about a year later by Gladys Knight & the Pips.

In the early 1980s, Whitney joined her mother while Cissy performed regular club dates in New York. In 1985, Whitney Houston’s first album won a Grammy Award and catapulted her to pop super stardom. In 1987, Whitney Houston’s second album, Whitney, was released, including the duet “I Know Him So Well,” recorded by Whitney and Cissy. In 1988, the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children was established, and Cissy was appointed president and CEO.

In 1992, Cissy was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Humanitarian Leadership by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Two years later, she was honoured again, receiving two honorary doctorates, and on March 2, 1995, she received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award. Houston won her first Grammy for “Face to Face” in 1996 and her second in 1998 for the all-gospel release, He Leadeth Me.

Houston remained active in both her community and the music industry. In 2005, she released a compilation CD, The Cissy Houston Collection, and in 2006, she recorded the song "Family First" with Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston for the soundtrack to the movie Daddy's Little Girls. Additionally, she led the New Hope Baptist Church 200-plus member Youth Inspirational Choir and in 2004 she was honoured by the church for 50 years of service.

The tragic deaths of her daughter Whitney in 2012 and her granddaughter Bobbi Kristina Brown in 2015 have certainly taken its toll on Cissy and now she is now said to be battling another huge feat.In July 2018 According to Radar Online, Cissy Houston has been diagnosed with Dementia. A source claims that the 84-year old repeats herself a lot as well as suffering from a loss of memory: “She's in the early stages of dementia... She repeats herself a lot and doesn't remember what she says. She just says she's getting old.” Cissy also allegedly disowned her son after he revealed details regarding the reported assault she endured as a child within The Whitney Houston documentary which is currently in theaters.

(Compiled and edited from various sources mainly & All Music)

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Gene Autry born 29 September 1907

Orvon Grover "Gene" Autry (September 29, 1907 – October 2, 1998) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, musician and rodeo performer who gained fame as a singing cowboy in a 
crooning style on radio, in films, and on television for more than
three decades beginning in the early 1930s. Autry was the owner of a television station, several radio stations in Southern 
California, and the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels Major League Baseball team from 1961 to 1997.

Known as the "Singing Cowboy," Gene Autry was born in Tioga, Texas, the first child of Delbert Autry and the former Elnora Ozment. He seldom spoke of his childhood because he wanted to forget most of it. His father was generally worthless, absent more often than present, and his mother and her four children had to depend on the charity of relatives in Texas and Oklahoma.

When he was 16 years old, Autry went to work at a local railway station. He soon switched to manning the telegraph line at different stops along the railway line. One night, he played for a customer who told him that he had enough talent to get a job on the radio. The customer turned out to be actor Will Rogers, and Autry soon quit his job to find work in the music business.

At 20, Orvon traveled to New York in search of a recording contract, but was turned away. He came home with a new name, Gene Autry, probably borrowed from a popular crooner, Gene Austin, whom he met on the trip.

In his first radio gig, at KVOO in Tulsa, he was billed as Oklahoma’s Yodeling Cowboy and imitated country star Jimmie Rodgers. His first hit record, “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine,” propelled him to the big time on Chicago’s WLS Barn Dance, the model for Nashville’s enduring Grand Ole Opry. Autry wrote the song himself. It sold over 500,000 copies in its first release. Autry was the first artist in history to have a gold record.


Autry soon landed a regular spot on the National Barn Dance, which a show that was recorded in Chicago, Illinois. During a trip home to Oklahoma, Autry met Ina Mae Spivey and married her four months later, on April 1, 1932. The wedding was so sudden 
that some friends thought it was an April fool’s prank, but the marriage lasted 48 years. After Gene’s mother died that spring, his two sisters and
brother moved in with the newlyweds. Ina, just 21, became their surrogate mother. The Autrys never had children.

In 1935, Autry signed with Republic Pictures and made his major film debut, The Phantom Empire. That same year, Autry starred in Tumbling Tumbleweeds (1935), the first Western plotted around the main character's ability to sing, and thus became credited with creating the musical Western. His other films include The Singing Cowboy (1937), Rhythm of the Saddle (1938) and Sioux City Sue (1942). In 1940, he was the 4th highest grossing box office attraction according to Theatre Exhibitors of America. The only stars above him were Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable, and Spencer Tracy.

Autry was also a savvy businessman, developing and promoting his own lines of western-themed merchandise. During World War II, he took a break from his career to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Forces, serving as a pilot from 1942 to '45. He returned to the music charts in 1949 with the holiday classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," which became the second highest selling Christmas song of all time. It has sold over 30 million copies. He wrote over 200 songs, including his theme song, "Back in the Saddle Again."  By 1948, Dell Publishing was printing over 1,000,000 Gene Autry Comic Books per year.

In 1950, Autry became a star in an emerging medium. He produced his own TV series, The Gene Autry Show, which enjoyed six successful seasons on the air. By the early 1960s, Autry had largely retired from acting. He devoted much of his time to his numerous real estate and media ventures.

Autry lost his wife in 1980. The following year, he married Jacqueline Ellam. Autry worked to preserve some of America's past with the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, which he established in 1988. Many of the items featured in the museum came from Autry's own collection of memorabilia. It is now known as the Autry National Center of the American West.

The winner of two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards (in 1985 and 1997), Autry is the only entertainer to boast five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for his work in motion pictures, radio, music recording, TV and live theatre. Autry died from lymphoma on October 2, 1998, in Studio City, California. He was 91 years old. 

(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia, &

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Merrill Moore born 26 September 1923

Merrill Everett Moore (26 September 1923 – 14 June 2000) was an American swing and boogie-woogie pianist and bandleader whose style influenced rockabilly music during the 1950s.He was known as "one of the great hidden secrets of American music,"

Born in Algona, IA, in 1923, Moore began playing the piano at age seven and by 12 was performing on a Des Moines radio station. 
After high school he joined the Chuck Hall Band, which playedon the Midwestern ballroom circuit, taking a break to serve in the Navy during World War II. His war was spent mostly at Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho, where he noodled along with Freddie Slack. Afterwards, he married his high-school sweetheart Doris and moved to San Diego, where he worked as a clothes salesman and performed in clubs, often with guitarist Arkie Geurin.

He got a regular gig with the local Buckaroo Club kingpin Jimmy Kennedy and put together the Saddle, Rock & Rhythm Boys as his backing band in 1950. Kennedy helped get Moore a record deal with Capitol in 1952, and that year he released his first single, "Big Bug Boogie." 1953's "House of Blue Lights" became a national hit, but Kennedy refused to allow the band to tour or promote the record: He'd signed them to a seven-year deal to play six nights a week and had only gotten them the record contract to increase their local drawing power.


According to Steve Huey of Allmusic, Moore's "unique style fused Western swing, boogie-woogie, and early R&B in a melting pot that many critics felt was a distinct influence on rockabilly, 
especially Jerry Lee Lewis." His music was later highly regarded by rockabilly fans, especially in Europe, although Moore himself said: "We didn't have the idea we were pioneering anything. We were just trying to make a living.... Rock and roll to me was a completely different sound. The rhythm section was incomplete, it was too hard, and it didn't swing...."

Moore continued to record for Capitol in the 1950s, but in 1955 walked out on his contract with Kennedy and moved to Los Angeles. There, he became a regular, along with Tennessee Ernie Ford, on Cliffie Stone's radio program Hometown Jamboree, and 
also worked as a session pianist for Capitol, appearing on records by Tommy Sands, Johnny Cash, Faron Young, Kay Starr and others. His playing can be heard on Wanda Jackson’s ‘Rockin’ With Wanda’ LP and her 1960 hit “Let’s Have A Party

He recorded only one more session for Capitol, a selection of instrumentals that wasn't released until 1990 by Bear Family.

Moore returned to San Diego in 1962, taking up residency in a hotel lounge. He worked clubs and similar venues for the next couple of decades, sometimes venturing into Nevada and Arizona.
A car accident in 1986 put him on hiatus for a few years, but Moore spent most of the '90s playing regularly at Mr. A's in San Diego, leaving in 1998. He was preparing for gigs in England and Austria when he lost a battle with cancer on June 14, 2000 at the age of 76.

‘Merrill E Moore’ wrote journalist Tim Johnson, ‘is one of those legends of the Country Rock era who, although they’ve never had complete commercial success, have been hailed as The Start Of it All’ (‘Dalkeith Advertiser’, 22 May 1969). Therein lies his importance.

(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia, All Music & Black Cat Rockabilly)

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Peggy Connelly born 25 September 1931

Peggy Connelly (September 25, 1931 – June 11, 2007) was a singer and actress.

Peggy Lou Connelly was born September 25, 1931 in Shreveport, Louisiana, but she grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. By the time she was 15, she had a lovely voice that won her jobs singing with competitive big bands in her hometown—including Harvey 

Anderson’s orchestra. She also tried the beauty contest route (Miss Texas Beauty, Miss Palomino, etc.). She won the first Fort Worth Press-Majestic Theatre Talent Tournament in September 1947, and graduated from Polytechnic High School in 1949.

When she was 18, she went in search of work as a model and singer, work that she combined with being the secretary of Ted Steele, an American band leader and host of several radio and television programs in New York. In the end it was singing, which became Peggy’s ticket to fame. She moved to Hollywood, where she found the going somewhat easier in securing her kind of work. Singing with Jerry Gray, Maynard Ferguson and Dave Pell became part of her background, and subsequently she invaded West Coast TV where she was a featured performer on many of the most important shows.

Peggy Connelly as a Floradora Girl
In  Girl in the Red Velvet Swing 1955

She was a comely young Texan lass who had set her sights on stardom and had already taken two giant steps in that direction. The first was in motion pictures, that all-too-elusive medium of show business which is notorious for its heart-breaking lack of opportunity. Peggy was assigned to the cast of the Universal-International film, “The Girl on the Red Velvet Swing” (1955), and, although not under contract to any studio, expected to be similarly
employed in several productions scheduled by the industry. The 
second, and to her the more important step, would jump-start her career as a singer.

In November 1954 she signed with Hollywood’s Nocturne Records, but the songs she recorded remained unissued until 1989, when Fresh Sound Records bought the masters and released them on LP. Shortly after this frustrating first experience, Red Clyde, who was the West Coast chief producer for Bethlehem, offered Peggy an opportunity to record an album for the label, which she agreed to. So in 1956 in addition to choosing her own tunes for the date, Peggy found herself in the musically astute company of Russell Garcia which resulted in an album of standards, Peggy Connelly with Rusell Garcia – That Old Black Magic.


She became the talk of the city after she started a relationship with Frank Sinatra. They had met in March 1955, and grown closer over time. The singer was fond of her and of her voice, and it didn’t hurt that she resembled Ava Gardner, whom he had married in 1951 and divorced in 1957. 

For over two years, Peggy was Sinatra’s 

girlfriend, and she accompanied him to numerous public acts and film sets.

Meanwhile, Peggy had won enough admiration (at Top’s, a cafe in San Diego) to take her to the Blue Angel in New York, and to Mister Kelly’s in Chicago in October 1956, where she established her reputation as a singer of unusual talent. In 1957, her skills as a singer earned her a movie contract with Paramount—they hired her to sing in movies, even though she only appeared in brief roles on two pictures —“Houseboat,” and “The Matchmaker.”

She then married Dick Martin, the wacky half of the popular comedy team of “Rowan and Martin,” that played in nightclubs across the United States and overseas. They had a son together, Cary, but their marriage only lasted until 1965.

In November 1958, Peggy was Saga Magazine Girl of the Month. A few months later she started working with comedian, actor, and writer Ernie Kovacs. In 1962, after a couple of years devoting most of her time to her family, she returned to the stage to sing again. Her return was different this time, she did not show up alone, but as a member of The New Christy Minstrels, a vigorous folk chorus focused on the performance and perpetuation of the great American tradition of balladry. Peggy, together with Jackie Miller, were the female voices of the chorus. She recorded two albums with the group in 1962: “Presenting” and “In Person.”

During 1970-1971 she appeared singing on the NBC TV series “Words and Music” as herself. She then moved to Europe in 1972, where she settled for several years in Germany appearing on TV, and recording as a single act until the mid-1990s, when she, Sarah Tullamore and Wendy Taylor formed a trio called The Jazzberries. The trio played extensively in Paris and throughout Europe until they disbanded in 2000. She then returned to her hometown, where she passed away on June 11, 2007.

(Edited mainly from Fresh Sound Records)

Sunday, 23 September 2018

John Coltrane born 23 September 1926

John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer, also known as "Trane". Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes and was later at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions, and appeared on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.

Coltrane’s first musical influence was his father, a tailor and part-time musician. John studied clarinet and alto saxophone as a youth and then moved to Philadelphia in 1943 and continued his studies at the Ornstein School of Music and the Granoff Studios. He was drafted into the navy in 1945 and played alto sax with a navy band until 1946; he switched to tenor saxophone in 1947. During the late 1940s and early ’50s, he played in nightclubs and on recordings with such musicians as Eddie (“Cleanhead”) Vinson, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Johnny Hodges. Coltrane’s first recorded solo can be heard on Gillespie’s “We Love to Boogie” (1951).

Coltrane came to prominence when he joined Miles Davis’s quintet in 1955. His abuse of drugs and alcohol during this period led to unreliability, and Davis fired him in early 1957. He embarked on a six-month stint with Thelonious Monk and began to make recordings under his own name; each undertaking demonstrated a newfound level of technical discipline, as well as increased harmonic and rhythmic sophistication.

During this period Coltrane developed what came to be known as his “sheets of sound” approach to improvisation, as described by poet LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka): “The notes that Trane was playing in the solo became more than just one note following another. The notes came so fast, and with so many overtones and undertones, that they had the effect of a piano player striking 
chords rapidly but somehow articulating separately each note in the chord, and its vibrating subtones.” Or, as Coltrane himself said, “I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once.” The cascade of notes during his powerful solos showed his infatuation with chord progressions, culminating in the virtuoso performance of “Giant Steps” (1959).


Coltrane’s tone on the tenor sax was huge and dark, with clear definition and full body, even in the highest and lowest registers. His vigorous, intense style was original, but traces of his idols Johnny Hodges and Lester Young can be discerned in his legato phrasing and portamento (or, in jazz vernacular, “smearing,” in 
which the instrument glides from note to note with no discernible breaks). From Monk he learned the technique of multiphonics, by which a reed player can produce multiple tones simultaneously by using a relaxed embouchure (i.e., position of the lips, tongue, and teeth), varied pressure, and special fingerings. In the late 1950s, Coltrane used multiphonics for simple harmony effects (as on his 1959 recording of “Harmonique”); in the 1960s, he employed the technique more frequently, in passionate, screeching musical passages.

Coltrane returned to Davis’s group in 1958, contributing to the “modal phase” albums Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959), both considered essential examples of 1950s modern jazz. (Davis at this point was experimenting with modes—i.e., scale patterns other than major and minor.) His work on these recordings was always proficient and often brilliant, though relatively subdued and cautious.

After ending his association with Davis in 1960, Coltrane formed his own acclaimed quartet, featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. At this time Coltrane began playing soprano saxophone in addition to tenor. Throughout the early 1960s Coltrane focused on mode-based improvisation in which solos were played atop one- or two-note accompanying figures that were repeated for extended periods of time (typified in his recordings of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things”).

At the same time, his study of the musics of India and Africa affected his approach to the soprano sax. These influences, combined with a unique interplay with the drums and the steady vamping of the piano and bass, made the Coltrane quartet one of the most noteworthy jazz groups of the 1960s. Coltrane’s wife, Alice (also a jazz musician and composer), played the piano in his band during the last years of his life.

During the short period between 1965 and his death in 1967, Coltrane’s work expanded into a free, collective (simultaneous) improvisation based on prearranged scales. It was the most radical period of his career, and his avant-garde experiments divided critics and audiences.

Coltrane died of liver cancer at Huntington Hospital on Long Island on July 17, 1967, at the age of 40. His funeral was held four days later at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in New York City. The service was opened by the Albert Ayler Quartet and closed by the Ornette Coleman Quartet. Coltrane is buried at Pinelawn Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York.

Coltrane's death surprised many in the musical community who were not aware of his condition. Miles Davis said that "Coltrane's death shocked everyone, took everyone by surprise. I knew he hadn't looked too good... But I didn't know he was that sick—or even sick at all."

(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia &

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Colette Dereal born 22 September 1927

Colette Deréal, (1927 - 1988), was a French actress and singer.

Colette Deréal was born Colette Denise De Glarélial, September 22, 1927 in a small town of Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole in France.  Her family moved to Marseille a few months after her birth but Colette spent hers adolescence in Juan-les-Pins.

As she grew up, her godmother found that Colette had a lovely soprano voice. At the age of 15 she was introduced to the great master Reynaldo Hahn, who by listening to her, promised her a career in opera, but unfortunately, because of jitters and a bad cold, her time with Hahn was a failure. She decided to turn to the theatre.

At the age of seventeen she went to Paris and enrolled at the René Simon School of Acting. She appeared in many French films and devoted herself to the theatre.  Her first film appearance was in "The kingdom of heaven" alongside Serge Reggiani. This was the beginning of a film career of twenty-four films in France and Hollywood, including "Little 
Boy Lost" with Bing Crosby (1953), "Success Train", an episode of the TV series "Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Presents" (1955) and "The Happy Road" by and with Gene Kelly (1957). In France she played namely with Jean Gabin, who really appreciated her as a partner.

America offered Colette  a seven-year contract, but homesickness prevailed. Too attached to her roots, she refused and returned to France. She appeared in several episodes of the 1959 TV series "Last five minutes."  In one episode she sang the song "Do not play".  Following strong demand she recorded the song and 100,000 copies were sold in a month.


In 1961, Deréal represented Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest 1961, with the song "Allons, allons les enfants" (Let's go, let's go children). Deréal finished joint tenth place with the Finnish entry "Valoa ikkunassa" (The lights in the window) sung by Laila 
Kinnunen and the Dutch entry "Wat een dag" (What a day) sung by Greetje Kauffeld, receiving six points.

As a singer, she had a huge success (she has recorded  260 songs). "At the Gare Saint-Lazare", "Are more children", "Women with glasses", "Valse de Cambronne," "Do not play", "Telstar" and "See you" which earned her 1962 Academy Grand Prix du Disque Charles Cros, are amongst her greatest hits.

She appeared frequently on the television throughout the 60’s and 70’s then became a journalist at the Tribune de Monaco. She became active in animal welfare and began painting for pleasure.

 Living in La Turbie (Alpes-Maritimes), it gave her the opportunity to meet her great friend, Grace Kelly.  Perhaps nostalgic for her singing career, Colette agreed to perform at the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo and in the name of friendship, to sing again for a privileged few.  Her last appearance was at the Kim Club in Cagnes-sur-Mer in 1985.

Colette Deréal died April 12, 1988, struck down by a heart attack.

(Info various mainly from Wikipedia translation)

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Sophia Loren born 20 September 1934

Sofia Villani Scicolone (born 20 September 1934), known by her stage name Sophia Loren, Dame of the Grand Cross, O.M.R.I., is an Academy Award-winning Italian actress and singer. A striking beauty, Loren is often listed among the world's all time most attractive women. In a long career spanning six decades, the Italian actress has appeared in at least 60 movies.

Sofia Loren was born in Rome, Italy. Her father, Riccardo Scicolone spent most of his time hanging around the fringes of show business, hoping to romance young actresses. Sophia Loren's mother, Romilda Villani, was one of them. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Greta Garbo, Villani had once been offered a trip to the United States to play Garbo's body double, but her mother refused to let her go.

After Sophia Loren's birth, her mother took her back to her hometown of Pozzuoli on the Bay of Naples, which one travel book described as "perhaps the most squalid city in Italy." Although Riccardo Scicolone fathered another child by Villani, they never married.

A quiet and reserved child, Loren grew up in extreme poverty, living with her mother and many other relatives at her grandparents' home, where she shared a bedroom with eight people. Things got worse when World War II ravaged the already struggling city of Pozzuoli. The resulting famine was so great that Loren's mother occasionally had to siphon off a cup of water from the car radiator to ration between her daughters by the spoonful. During one aerial bombardment, Loren was knocked to the ground and split open her chin, leaving a scar that has remained ever since.

Nicknamed "little stick" by her classmates for her sickly physique, at the age of 14 Loren blossomed, seemingly overnight, from a frail child into a beautiful and voluptuous woman. That same year, Loren won second place in a beauty competition, receiving as her prize a small sum of cash and free wallpaper for her grandparents' living room.

In 1950, when she was 15 years old, Loren and her mother set off for Rome to try to make their living as actresses. Loren landed her first role as an extra in the 1951 Mervyn LeRoy film Quo Vadis. She also landed work as a model for various fumetti, Italian publications that resemble comic books but with real photographs instead of illustrations.

After various bit parts and a small role in the 1952 film La Favorita, the first for which she adopted the stage name "Loren," she delivered her breakthrough performance as the title character in the 1953 film Aida. Another leading role in The Gold of Naples (1954) established Loren as one of the up-and-coming stars of Italian cinema.

In 1957, Loren starred in her first Hollywood film, The Pride and the Passion, filmed in Paris and co-starring Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. At the same time, she became enmeshed in a love triangle when both Grant and an Italian film producer named Carlo Ponti declared their love for her. Although she had a schoolgirl's crush on Grant, Loren ultimately chose Ponti, a man the media joked was twice her age and half her height.

Even though they married in 1957, complications regarding the annulment of Ponti's first marriage prevented their union from being officially legally recognized in Italy for another decade. Loren and Ponti's marriage nevertheless remains one of the rare, heart-warming success stories among celebrity relationships. They remained happily married until Ponti's death in 2007.

Loren was not naturally a singer or musical star, but Loren followers should recall that she began, in the hungry years, with two 1952-53 films drawn from Italian opera, Favorita and Aida. She began singing custom popster material in 1954 with "Mambo bacan" in River Girl, and over this decade she commuted between Paramount, Cinecitta, Fox and Metro where important film composers and pop songwriters customized the Sophia soundtracks.


Throughout her career, Sophia Loren has recorded more than two dozen songs. A tune she made famous is Bing! Bang! Bong!, which she sang in the 1958 film “Houseboat”, co-starring Cary Grant. In the 1960 film “It Started in Naples”, she famously sings “Tu vuò fa' l’americano”, giving a hilarious performance. And who can forget the novelty songs with Peter Sellers from Millionairess such as “Goodness Gracious Me" which was a top 5 UK single in 1960

Elvis & Sophia 1959
In 1960, Sophia Loren turned in the most acclaimed performance of her career in the Italian World War II film Two Women. In a film with parallels to her own childhood, Loren played a mother desperately trying to provide for her daughter in war-ravaged Rome. The film transformed Loren into an international celebrity, winning her the 1961 Academy Award for Best Lead Actress. She was the first actress ever to win the award for a non-English-language film. Throughout the 1960s, Loren continued to star in Italian, American and French films, cementing her status as one of the great international movie stars of her generation.

Sophia Loren moved back to her native Italy during the 1970s and spent most of the decade making highly popular Italian films. She had given birth to two sons, Carlo Hubert Leone Ponti, Jr. (born December 29, 1968) and Edoardo (born January 6, 1973), and during the 1980s she backed off her intense filming schedule to spend more time raising her teenage children.

Loren also expanded into other business ventures. In 1981 she became the first female celebrity to release her own perfume, following up with a personal eyewear line shortly thereafter. Loren published a book, Women and Beauty, in 1994. She continues to act and appear frequently in public as one of the film industry's greatest living legends. Some of her more popular and acclaimed later films include Prêt-à-Porter (1994), Grumpier Old Men (1995) and Nine (2009).

Loren retains her youthful energy and age-defying hourglass physique. Although now a resident of geneva, Switzerland, she still can be seen strutting down the red carpet into award shows, looking fabulous in high heels and low-cut dresses that women several decades her junior would be happy to pull off. However, after more than 100 films and five decades in the spotlight, Loren remains true to her humble Italian roots.

(Edited mainly from