Saturday, July 9, 2016

Epitome of a Woman

Embracing 'New' in Life
On Monday evening, October 19, 2015 she received the Carolyn Clark Powers Lifetime Achievement Award. She still works when the mood strikes. The word 'retirement' is not in her vocabulary. With the onslaught of technology and the speed at which the world turns today, she said she enjoys embracing the 'new' in life. “You have to get accustomed to the new things that come about in order to cope and to understand the benefits enhancing one's life...from fashion styles, to books, to technical gadgets.”
She is Sophia Loren.

Living on a farm and furthering post-secondary education, I had no opportunity (or money) to view cinema movies. While in Toronto, one Saturday afternoon after work and walking the many blocks home along Yonge Street, I noticed a movie theatre advertising the showing of Oklahoma...and falling prey to temptation, splurged some lunch money to view this spectacular musical drama!

It was after my teaching career began in Hamilton, that I was introduced to Sophia Loren through her 1958 film THE KEY. Wow! She was stunningly beautiful..and her acting superb in this WWII drama:
English woman, Stella, is involved with Captain Ford (Trevor Howard)
who commands a military tugboat.
These tugboats (called salvage missions) picked up disabled ships. Not well-equipped with weaponry, the tugs were 'sitting ducks' for every foe. Captain Chris Ford shares his flat with a young beautiful Italian-Swiss woman who lives a recluse life there. While on missions, he leaves “The Key” with her and the promise that she'd find another Captain to share the flat, should anything happen to him. He is gunned down in action; Captain Ross (William Holden) replaces him.

TWO WOMEN: In this 1960 film, during WWII, 'Cesira' (Sophia Loren) must leave Rome with her daughter when the city comes under attack by the Allied Forces. The pair flee to a small village where they meet and both fall for the charming 'Michael' (Jean-Paul Belmondu). But the war uproots the life of the mother and daughter once again when soldiers attack the duo and subject them to sexual assault. Their bond is strained as they struggle to overcome the tragedy that changes them both forever. Sophia Loren won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of 'Cesira' in this movie.
The Producer of this movie was Carlo Ponti whom Sophia married in later years.

Sophia Loren so impressed me that I longed to pattern my life after her.
To me, she was the Epitome of a Woman whom all admired for her beauty and elegance.
She was a person of great intellect and one who practised a positive outlook on life.
Since her movie days, I've followed her life: her marriage, her children, her humane activities to aid those in need. Her life dedication was to her husband and two sons Carlo Ponti Jr. and Edoarado Ponti. Their father is Carlo Ponti.

Sophia Loren was born as Sofia Scicolone in Rome, Italy on September 20, 1934. Growing up in the slums of Polluoli during the Second World War without any support from her father (he had refused to marry her mother), she experienced much sadness in her childhood. At age 14, she entered a beauty contest where she placed as one of the top finalists. It was there that Sophia caught the attention of Carlo Ponti (22 years her senior) whom she eventually married in 1966 (once he finally obtained a divorce from his first wife). Perhaps he was the only 'father figure' she ever had.

Under his guidance, Sophia was put 'under contract' and appeared as 'an extra' in movie films beginning in 1950...before working up to 'supporting roles'. By her late teens, she was playing 'lead roles' in many Italian film features. She remained a bonafide International movie star through to the 60's and 70's, making films on both sides of the Atlantic. From the 80's onward, she preferred to spend the majority of her time raising her sons born in 1969 and 1973. She starred in five television films beginning with Sophia Loren: Her Own Story in 1980...which I viewed a couple times on TV.

She mourned the loss of her husband, Carlo Ponti who died at the age of 94. These days, she divides her time between Switzerland and Los Angeles where she is close to her sons and four grandchildren.

With a career that has already spanned six decades and been honoured with 50 awards,
Sophia Loren remains 'one of the most beloved and recognizable figures
in the International film world'.
Her trademarks were: her natural brunette hair...her cat-like blue eyes...her voluptuous figure framed on a 5-foot 8 1/2 inch height body...and deep sultry voice.


Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% of what people think you've got!

The two big advantages I had at birth from my beautiful mother were to have been born wise and to have been born in poverty.

A woman's dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.

A mother has to think twice: once for herself and once for her child.

The facts of life are that a child who has seen war, cannot be compared with a child who doesn't know what war is except from television.

I've never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful.
I don't understand people who hide from their past.
Everything you live through, helps to make you the person you are.

It's in your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life
and the lives of people you love.
When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age!

Scripted by Merle Baird-Kerr...October 24, 2015
Comments appreciated: email or


  1. FROM MEG: "Lovely tribute to a woman I have also
    admired greatly!"

  2. Perhaps some time, you'll locate "THE KEY"...
    a very poignant movie, well worth viewing.

  3. Terrific !
    From start to finish.

  4. Many thanks, Sol, for your most positive comment about
    Sophia Epitome of a Woman!

  5. ROSEMARIE WRITES: "OMG!!! She is my best actress ever!!!
    I always admired her beauty...her acting... and her lovely Italian accent. I have not seen the movie, 'The Key' and would definitely see it if it plays in any theater. Thanks Merle for forwarding this piece of information about Sophie. I'm sure several of your readers will agree:
    'Sophia ~ the Epitome of a Woman'.

  6. Rosemarie...your insight is clearly understood.
    It is unlikely the movie will be seen in theaters...
    I recommend you rent it as a video.
    I would gladly love to see it again!