Sophia Loren is now the only surviving honoree of the AFI 100 Stars list

Bruno Cooke January 17, 2023
Sophia Loren is now the only surviving honoree of the AFI 100 Stars list
Photo by Mairo Cinquetti/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Following the death, in January 2023, of Gina Lollobrigida at the age of 95, Sophia Loren is the only actor on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Stars to still be alive today.

The AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars is a list ranking the top 25 female and 25 male screen legends of American film history.

It’s the second list in the AFI 100 Years… series. The list came out in 1999. Before it, in 1998, was the AFI’s list of 100 Movies.

Sophia Loren’s enduring rivalry with the late Gina Lollobrigida makes the latter’s passing all the more significant for Loren. She did, however, say she was “deeply shaken and saddened” by her death.

Photo by Mairo Cinquetti/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Where is Sophia Loren now? Actor is the only AFI 100 honoree to be still alive today

Born September 20, 1934, Sophia Loren turned 88 last year, and will turn 89 before 2023 is out.

Her most recent feature length film role was as Holocaust survivor Madame Rosa in Edoardo Ponti’s film The Life Ahead. Born 1973, Ponti is her son.

The Life Ahead came out in 2020, and adapts the 1975 novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary. Loren’s performance earned her an AARP Best Actress award, as well as an AWFJ Grand Dame award.

About a month before she received her AARP award in March 2021, Sophia Loren was the guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. For her luxury item, she chose a pizza oven.

What were her musical choices on Desert Island Discs?

They included Ella Fitzgerald’s performance of I’ve Got You Under My Skin, by Cole Porter and Tamás Vásáry’s rendition of Debussy’s Clair De Lune.

At the age of 86, Loren met Lauren Laverne in the Desert Island Discs studio to discuss her life, career and love of music.

Laverne asked her about her reputation as a Scrabble player. Loren would “often play on set” with her co-stars, she said. And she was supposedly quite a formidable player.

But Loren corrected her, laughing: “Because I was cheating. Yes, I liked to cheat because I had fun.”

Photo by Mairo Cinquetti/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Where does she live?

Sophia Loren lives in Geneva, Switzerland, and has done for decades. Her home and family life, according to the Living In Geneva blog, has revolved around the city for more than 50 years.

But she also has a home in the US. Her south Florida residence is reportedly partly the work of interior designer Ted Fine. Architectural Digest wrote in 2016 that he had created a “secluded home” for her and her family on Williams Island.

She spent her childhood in Pozzuoli, a city a few miles west of Naples. And she told Travel And Leisure magazine in 2021 that she still loves to visit the area

“Even though I’ve seen it so many times,” she said, “it’s incredible, each time I pretend it’s the first time because you discover things that maybe sometimes you didn’t know exist.”

Sophia Loren may be as influential now as she was in the 1960s

For the 2019 Met Gala, Kim Kardashian spent eight months cooking up a look that, ultimately, drew inspiration from Sophia Loren’s look in the 1957 film Boy On A Dolphin.

Celebrity Insider wrote in May 2019 that Kardashian had revealed the tidbit during an interview with Vogue.

Once she heard the theme was “Camp,” she reportedly said, she and then-husband Kanye West (aka Ye) said they would recruit French designer Manfred Thierry Mugler. She added that she had envisioned a combination of “California-girl style” and the “visionary works of Manfred Thierry Mugler.”

And it’s not just that. Jenna Ortega also appears to have borrowed from Sophia Loren even more recently than Kim Kardashian.

Elsewhere, Loren recently shared some key life lessons she’s learned during her time. “Sometimes when I say I’m 86, I don’t believe it. I feel 20,” she said. 

“When I look in the mirror, I cheer for myself. I don’t ask, ‘Are you great?’ or ‘Are you beautiful?’ No! It’s how I feel inside, how secure I am, how happy I am. That’s what matters.”

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.