Italian actress Sophia Loren has been named a “Distinguished Visitor” of Mexico City by Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, who gave her the Las Alas de la Ciudad de Mexico (Wings of Mexico City) sculpture in recognition of her career, life and work.
Mancera presented the certificate and sculpture to the star, who celebrated her 80th birthday over the weekend in Mexico City, during a ceremony Sunday at the Old City Hall.
“In Mexico City, we join in this deserved acknowledgment of the life and deeds of Sophia Loren, the reason why several generations of Mexicans and audiences worldwide have taken an interest and understood many movies,” Mancera said.
The mayor, in the presence of billionaire Carlos Slim, members of the Mexican film and arts communities, and relatives of the actress, praised Loren’s career, noting that she has had, “among other successes, two Oscar awards, one as best actress for her role in ‘Two Women’ and another honorary one.”
“Today, we very much feel she is one of us, very Mexican. We take the liberty to place her among our great stars,” the mayor said.
Loren, for her part, said she was “very happy” to be in Mexico, “a marvelous country with affectionate people” who had welcomed her as if she were Mexican.
“I am very happy to have celebrated my birthday here, and it is not any birthday, you know. Eighty years! However, everybody, including my sons, says that I carry my age well and I am also thrilled about that,” the legendary actress said.
Loren received the special Ariel de Oro award last Friday from Mexican director Felipe Cazals on behalf of the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences at the inauguration of a retrospective of her movies.
Loren is an international film star and Italy’s most renowned and honored actress. She began her career at age 14 after entering a beauty pageant in 1949. Encouraged to enroll in acting lessons, Loren appeared in several bit parts and minor roles until the late 1950s when Loren’s five-picture contract with Paramount launched her international career. Notable film appearances around this time including; Houseboat, That Kind of Woman and It Started in Naples.
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It was not until her deglamorized performance as Cesira in Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women that her talents as an actress were recognized. 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, the most ever received: 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 her family in the early 1970s, Loren spent less time on her acting career and chose to make only occasional film appearances. In later years, she has appeared in American films such as Grumpier Old Men and Nine.
As well as an Academy Award, Loren earned a Grammy Award, five special Golden Globes, a BAFTA Award, a Laurel Award as well as the Honorary Academy Award in 1991. In 1995, she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievements, one of many such awards.