gallerySophia Loren 09.19.09gallerySophia Loren Sophia Loren turns 75 today. VIEW OUR GALLERY of the legendary sex symbol through the years.09.19.09 4:32 PM ETNewscomBride of GodYoung Sophia—who was born Sofia Villani Scicolone—at her First Communion in 1942. NewscomBella RagazzaLoren, who grew up in a small town near Naples, entered a beauty contest at 14—but didn't win. She was, however, hired as an extra in a Mervyn LeRoy film.LandovYoung CleopatraIn another beauty contest in 1950, Loren met the film producer Carlo Ponti (who would eventually marry her). Ponti cast her in some of her earliest films, including 1953's Two Nights With Cleopatra.David Seymour, Corcoran Gallery of Art / AP PhotoRising StarThe films for Ponti, who worked with Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, and David Lean, made the young Italian beauty (seen here at age 19) an up-and-coming star.AP PhotoWelcome to HollywoodTo take her career to a new level, Loren learned English. Rossano Brazzi chats with Loren during the shooting of the John Wayne film The Legend of the Lost in Tripoli, Libya, in 1957.AP PhotoSex SymbolLoren enjoys a joke with Trevor Howard, left, and William Holden, right, her costars in the 1958 war film The Key. Loomis Dean, Time Life Pictures / Getty ImagesHeartbreakerCary Grant—her costar in 1957’s The Pride and the Passion—fell madly in love with Loren while he was still married to writer Betsy Drake. The two had a passionate affair on set, but Loren refused Grant’s proposal and married Carlo Ponti instead.Bob Willoughby, Redferns / Getty ImagesMeeting the KingLoren met Elvis on the set of King Creole in 1958.Edward Miller, Keystone / Getty ImagesHollywood Royalty Meets British RoyaltyToo much beauty for one red carpet: Princess Margaret meets Sophia Loren at the premiere of Carol Reed's film The Key at the Odeon. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty ImagesVenus EnvyTwo of the most famous 1950s screen sirens had a famous encounter during a dinner honoring Loren. Jayne Mansfield leaned too far over the table and had a nipple slip long before the days of Tara Reid and Janet Jackson. NewscomShe Started in NaplesIn 1960, Loren was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as Lucia Curio opposite Clark Gable in It Started in Naples. Jack Albin, Hulton Archive / Getty ImagesImmortalityFollowing a Best Actress Oscar for Two Women in 1960 and the success of El Cid the following year, Loren put imprints of her hands in wet cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater in 1962.AP PhotoMamma Mia!Loren gave birth to her first son, Carlo Ponti Jr., in a Swiss hospital in 1969 after having several miscarriages.Gianni Foggia / AP PhotoThrillerLoren was friends with Michael Jackson even up to his unexpected death. She said of the pop star: “He wrote songs that generations of yesterday, today and tomorrow will all keep on singing. What he wrote was amazing. I hope that Michael will find that peace that maybe he did not have in the last 15 years.”NewscomAging GracefullyEven after the birth of her two sons, Loren continued to model and branch out her career with eyewear, jewelry, and perfume lines.Plinio Lepri / AP PhotoPaying TributeThe cinema legend is surrounded by paparazzi after receiving the 1998 President's Council Culture Award in entertainment at a ceremony in Rome's Palazzo Altemps, in 1999. The prizes are awarded in recognition of contributions to Italian society.Luca Bruno / AP PhotoThe Next GenerationEdoardo Ponti directed his mother in their movie Between Strangers, presented at the 59th Venice Film Festival in 2002.David Gray / ReutersThe Face of Her NationLoren represents Italy, along with writer Isabelle Allende of Chile, gold medalist Nawal el Moutawakel of Morocco and Susan Sarandon of the U.S., during the Opening Ceremony of the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in 2006. Elisabetta Villa / Getty ImagesMuseum PieceThe exhibition Scicolone, Lazzaro, Loren, featuring photographs, awards, letters, and film posters, was dedicated to the screen legend at the Palazzo Valentini in 2006. Shizuo Kambayashi / AP PhotoStill DazzlingWearing a white gold and diamond necklace worth nearly $2 million, Loren smiles at the opening of the Italian jewelry shop Damiani's flagship store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district in 2008.