She was the daughter of opera and kundiman singer Leonora Reyes and film director Olive La Torre of Sampaguita Pictures who directed the 1950s box office hit Roberta with child stars Tessie Agana and Boy Alano. She was taught voice lessons by her mother.
At the age of five, the young Sylvia won an amateur singing contest in Savoy Theater, even outperforming older and more veteran singers. During the War, she was already an acting and singing child star at Life Theater in Quiapo. After the liberation, she joined a group who entertained sick and wounded American soldiers in camps and hospitals.
As a radio talent, she appeared in Edong Mapangarap with Eddie Santos which was a live show. Sylvia La Torre, during intermissions, sang kundiman songs. She was noticed in her appearance in Sebya Mahal Kita, O Sendang, Nukso ng Nukso at Yantok Mindoro with Leroy Salvador as her partner, together with Pugo and Rosa Aguirre and Bentot joining the radio show.
She was brought by her father Olive La Torre to Sampaguita Pictures which assigned her to bit roles in films such as Ang Asawa Kong Amerikana with lead performers Oscar Moreno and Joan Page; Buhay Pilipino starring husband and wife team Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran, together with Etang Discher as the strict mother; and Ulila ng Bataan with Linda Estrella and her daughter Tessie Agana as the lead child star.
The popular radio program Sebya, Mahal Kita was later filmed by LVN Pictures. Sylvia was the lead actress and the same cast reprised their radio roles. The cas included Leroy Salvador, Pugo, Rosa Aguirre and Bentot.
In the field of recording, Sylvia recorded a number of songs for Bataan Records. She also received recording assignments from Villar records, coming up with sons like Kundiman as well as novelty songs like Alembong, Ikaw Kasi, Waray-Waray—all of which were filmed by LVN Pictures. Other songs included Telebong and Balitaw.
Then Sylvia jumped into television, guesting in the Caltex Star Caravan. She became a regular TV host with Oscar Obligacion, Eddie San Jose and Cris de Vera in The Big Show, a noontime program. She also appeared in Tang-tarangtang and Oras ng LIgaya.
A scholar of University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, Sylvia finished a degree in music, majoring in voice. One of her mentors was Prof. Salvacion Yniguez. She literally became an all-around and multi-media entertainment artist stage, radio, film, recording and television.
Sylvia La Torre collected various awards that filled her shelf. These awards included best actress trophies from CAT, a Hall of Fame trophy from Aliw Awards, a Tandang Sora Awards trophy as Top Entertainment Personality and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit.
Sylvia married Dr. Celso Perez de Tagle, with whom she had three siblings—Artie, Bernie and Cheche who also appeared in films.