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This Day in WWII 4 December 1939 – 1945

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ConsolidatedAd-Dec1942.jpgConsolidated Aircraft Ad - December 1942

 

1939: The German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee sinks the liner Doric Star off the western coast of South Africa.

 

Sophia%20Loren1.jpg *Sophia Loren

 

1940: Greeks capture Premeti, Pogradec and Albanian port of Sarande.

 

1941: Operation Taifun (Typhoon), which was launched by the German armies on October 2, 1941, as a prelude to taking Moscow, is halted because of freezing temperatures and lack of serviceable aircraft.

 

Sophia%20Loren2.jpg Sophia Loren

 

1941: Temperature falls to -31°F (-37°C) on Russian Front.

 

1941: The Japanese Embassy in Washington begins to leave, destroying code books and personal files in the process.

 

TheCupContainerIndustryAd-Dec1942.jpg The Cup and Container Industry Ad - December 1942

 

1942: Two women who won a free plane ride for their work on Canada's Victory Loan program are killed when the bomber they are flying in goes down at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 

1942: The U.S. 5th Air Force launches its first raid against the Italian port of Naples.

 

1942: German forces in Tunisia capture Tebourba.

 

Sophia%20Loren3.jpg Sophia Loren

 

1943: The second Cairo conference opens with Churchill, Roosevelt and the Turkish President Inonu.

 

1943: Bolivia declares war on all the Axis powers.

 

BudweiserAd-Dec1943.jpg Budweiser Ad - December 1943

 

1943: Units of the German 11th Armee begin an offensive to eliminate the Soviet bridgehead at Kerch in the eastern Crimea.

 

Sophia%20Loren4.jpg Sophia Loren

 

1943: Tito's Partisans set up a provisional government in the liberated part of Yugoslavia.

 

1944: Athens is now under martial law.

 

PackardAd-Dec1943.jpg Packard Ad - December 1943

 

1945: The U.S. Senate votes to allow the USA to join the UN and to permit the UN to use American forces to preserve peace and security.

 

Sophia%20Loren5.jpg Sophia Loren

*Sophia Loren was born as Sofia Villani Scicolone at the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome, Italy, on September 20, 1934. Her father Riccardo was married to another woman and refused to marry her mother Romilda, despite the fact that she was the mother of his two children (Sophia and her younger sister Maria Scicolone). Growing up in the slums of Pozzuoli during the second World War without any support from her father, she experienced much sadness in her childhood. Her life took an unexpected turn for the best when, at age 14, she entered into a beauty contest where she placed as one of the finalists. It was there that Sophia caught the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, some 22 years her senior, whom she eventually married. Perhaps he was the only father figure she ever had. Under his guidance, Sophia immediately enrolled in acting classes and was soon playing bit parts in several films per year. Prior to using her current stage name, she was credited as "Sofia Lazzaro" because people joked her beauty could raise Lazzarus from the dead.

After starring in a string Italian features such as "La favorita" (1952) and "Aida" (1953), she embarked on a successful acting career in the United States, starting with her debut in "The Pride and the Passion" (1957) with Cary Grant. They were paired together a second time in the family-friendly romantic comedy "Houseboat" (1958), before Sophia returned to Europe to star in "Two Women" (1960). The film was a period piece about a woman living in war-torn Italy who is raped while trying to protect her young daughter. Originally cast in the role of the daughter, Sophia fought against type and was re-cast as the mother, proving herself as a genuine actress and displaying her lack of vanity. This performance received international acclaim and was honored with an Academy Award for Best Actress.

 

Sophia%20Loren6.jpg Sophia Loren

In the sixties and seventies, Sophia was a bona fide international movie star, and she continued to make films in both the U.S. and Europe, starring opposite leading men such as Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, and Charlton Heston. Her notable American films included the classic epics "El Cid" (1961) and "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964), the spy adventure "Arabesque" (1966), the musical "Man of La Mancha" (1972), and the disaster film "The Cassandra Crossing" (1976). She gained a wider respect with her Italian movies like "Marriage Italian-Style" (1964)) and "A Special Day" (1977). During these years she received a second Oscar nomination and won five Golden Globe Awards.

From the eighties onward, Sophia's appearances on the big screen came few and far between. She preferred to spend most of her time with her husband, and raising sons Carlo Ponti Jr. and Edoardo Ponti. After starring in a biopic based off her autobiography titled "Sophia Loren: Her Own Story" (1980) (TV), she ventured into other areas of business and became the first actress to launch her own fragrance and design of eye wear. In 1982 she voluntarily spent nineteen days in jail for tax evasion.

Sophia%20Loren7.jpg Sophia Loren

In 1991 Sophia received an Honorary Academy Award for her body of work, and was declared "one of world cinema's greatest treasures." Later that year, Sophia also experienced a great loss when her mother died of cancer. Her return to the mainstream in "Prêt-à-Porter" (1994) ("Ready to Wear") was well-received, although the film as a whole was not. She followed this up with her biggest U.S. box-office hit in years, the comedy "Grumpier Old Men" (1995) in which she played a sexy divorcée who seduces Walter Matthau. After this she took another break from acting, occasionally appearing in small productions abroad such as "Between Strangers" (2002) and "Lives of the Saints" (2004) (TV). Still beautiful at 72, she posed scantily-clad for the 2007 Pirelli Calendar. Sadly, that same year she lost her husband of 50 years, Carlo Ponti, who was said to have wooed her all those decades by giving her a single rose every day of their marriage. After far too much time away from film, she re-emerged in the musical "Nine" (2009) opposite Daniel Day-Lewis and Penélope Cruz.

TRIVIA:

Measurements: 38C-24-38 (self-described - 1955, and from Edith Head- 1957), 36D-24-37 3/4 (at age 50 - 1985) (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)

Height: 5' 8 1/2" (1.74 m)

Spouse:

Carlo Ponti (9 April 1966 - 10 January 2007) (his death) 2 children

Carlo Ponti (17 September 1957 - 1962) (annulled)

She had her marriage annulled to save Carlo Ponti from bigamy charges in Italy.

Carlo Ponti obtained a Mexican divorce from his first wife and married Sophia by proxy, while she was in Hollywood, filming Houseboat (1958) - and dating co-star Cary Grant (17 September 1957).

As a child, she also had the nickname, "Toothpick".

She may have been the voluptuous sex goddess as an adult, but until the age of 14, she was a skinny child and considered an ugly duckling, nicknamed 'The Stick'.

She didn't get along with Marlon Brando during the shooting of A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), especially after the day they were doing a love scene and he commented, "Did you know you have hairs up your nostrils?"

CamelCigaretteAd-Dec1944.jpg Camel Cigarettes Ad - December 1944

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