Rome festival honours Loren with career award

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ROME, Oct 19 (Reuters) When the Rome film festival forgot to invite Sophia Loren for its first edition last year, she was said to be furious at the snub.

This year, Rome made good by giving Loren a lifetime achievement award and organising a series of events to honour the half-century career of an actress who has been called Italy's best-known export after pasta.

''It's the first time I have had a career award in Italy, I hope I deserve it,'' the Oscar-winning star, wearing an Armani black chiffon dress, said late yesterday at a red carpet ceremony.

Today was ''Loren Day'' at the festival, with the actress answering questions from 700 fans and the screening of ''Marriage Italian Style'', one of her most famous films, kicking off a retrospective of her works.

Still glamorous at 73, Loren is regularly voted as one of the world's sexiest women and last year appeared in the Pirelli calendar which usually prefers top models a quarter of her age.

An illegitimate child who grew up in a slum outside Naples, Loren was discovered at a beauty contest as a teenager by a film producer who later married her.

She won an Oscar in 1962 for her tragic portrayal of a war-time mother in Italian director Vittorio De Sica's neo-realistic classic ''La Ciociara'', which was titled ''Two Women'' for British and US audiences.

In the 1960s and 1970s her relationship with De Sica and actor Marcello Mastroianni made them a signature trio creating classic social comedies such as ''Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow'' (1963) and ''Marriage Italian Style'' (1964).

More than 10 years later she again captivated audiences with her performance in ''A Special Day,'' directed by Ettore Scola. She was reunited with Mastroianni in Robert Altman's 1994 satire about fashion, ''Pret-a-Porter'' (Ready-to-wear).

REUTERS RSA KN2100

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