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Page 3 Profile: Sophia Loren, actress

My, she’s looking good for her 79 years.

Loren’s name has long been synonymous with beauty, but don’t forget her career and her talent means she is still lauded by many as Italy’s foremost actress too. Mind you, it’s not a new film that has seen her make headlines this time. Instead it is the rather more mundane matter of tax.

Why’s that?

After a bitter dispute with courts in Rome, Loren’s tax affairs have been given the all-clear. It’s been a long battle which has seen her at loggerheads with authorities for 39 years. At one point, things got so heated she spent 17 days in jail.

Surely with her fame and her connections she could have avoided that? Just look at how Silvio Berlusconi evaded the law for all those year.

The law applies to all, even in Italy. “A saga that has lasted nearly 40 years is finally over,” she was quoted as saying. This most recent row was over her 1974 tax return, would you believe, and it’s finally been ruled that she was covered by a tax amnesty. She insisted she had owed 60 per cent of her taxable income, but the authorities had said she needed to hand over 70.

She might not have been able to escape the taxman until now with her looks, but they have certainly served her well: she first came to attention at the age of 14 as a contestant in Miss Italia 1950. Asked about her voluptuous curves, she is reported as once saying: “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti”.

Wasn’t she selling her talents short?

Yes, there’s far more to her than pasta can help with. After grabbing the world’s attention in Vittorio De Sica’s 1961 film Two Women (the film won Loren 22 nominations for international awards including her first of two Academy Award nominations), she became a global superstar, receving $1m to appear in The Fall of the Roman Empire.

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