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Tunis, French Tunisia, Tunisia
Claim to Fame
8 ½ (1963) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
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Claudia Cardinale was born Claude Josï¿½phine Rose Cardin to French mother and Italian father. She had her break into films after winning a Tunisian beauty contest in 1957. She made her film debut in Goha (1958) and later that year had a role in the minor international success I soliti ignoti. Her early career was largely managed by producer Franco Cristaldi.
Throughout the 1960s she appeared in many Italian or Italian co-financed films including Luchino Visconti`s Il Gattopardo (The Leopard, 1963), Rocco e i suoi fratelli (1963), Philippe de Broca`s Cartouche (1963), Federico Fellini`s 8ï¿½ (1963) and Sergio Leone`s epic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). Her native language is French and her fluency in Italian was limited, as she did not speak the language until the age of eighteen. Therefore, in early films her voice was dubbed by someone else. Not until 8ï¿½ was she allowed to dub her own dialogue.
Cardinale never made a real attempt to break into the American market since she was not interested in leaving Europe for extended periods of time. But her many Hollywood films include The Pink Panther (1963), Circus World (1964), Blindfold (1965) and opposite Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster in The Professionals (1966).
A photograph of Cardinale was featured in the original gatefold artwork to Bob Dylan`s album Blonde on Blonde in 1966. Because the photo was used without Cardinale`s permission, the photo was removed from the cover art in later pressings.
Her performance in Visconti`s Sandra/Of A Thousand Delights is regarded as mesmerizing, playing a Holocaust survivor with an incestuous relationship with her brother. In Comencini`s La Storia (from Elsa Morante`s novel), Cardinale plays a widow raising a son during World War II and gave another well-received performance.
Other memorable performances include Valerio Zurlini`s Girl With a Suitcase and Mauro Bolognini`s Libera.
Cardinale remains active in European cinema, her later films including Qui comincia l`avventura (1975), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Un homme amoureux (1987), Mayrig (1991), and And now... Ladies and Gentlemen (2002)
She denies ever having been married, although it is hypothesized that she has been at least once (to Franco Cristaldi). She has been living with film director Pasquale Squitieri since 1975 and has two children. Her son Patrick was born out of wedlock after she was raped by a mysterious Frenchman when only 17; Cristaldi adopted him later. She has a daughter by Squitieri. She is also reported to have had an affair with former French President Jacques Chirac.
Claudia Cardinale is a liberal with strong political convictions. She is involved in pro-women and pro-gay issues and has frequently stated her pride in her Arab roots - as evidenced by her appearance as herself in the Tunisian film Un ï¿½tï¿½ ï¿½ La Goulette (A Summer in La Goulette).
Cardinale wrote an autobiography, Moi Claudia, Toi Claudia. In 2005, she also published a French-language book, Mes Etoiles, about her personal and professional relationships with many of her directors and co-stars through her nearly 50 years in show-business.
The actress has been UNESCO good will ambassador for the Defense of Women`s Rights since 1999. In 2006 (World Water Year) she symbolically extended such a role for the Defense of the Rights of the Absolute Woman : Mother Earth while declaring her support for Powerstock, a sustainable electronic music festival that proposes a "water-consciousness" for youth culture and seeks to make sustainability an integral part of mainstream culture.
She is involved in many humanitarian causes and currently lives in Paris.
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Full Name at Birth
Claude Josephine Rose Cardinale
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Claudia Cardinale (born 15 April 1938) is an Italian actress who appeared in some of the most prominent European films of the 1960s and 1970s. Notable credits include Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and The Leopard (1963), Philippe de Broca's Cartouche (1963), Federico Fellini's 8½ (1963), and Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). The majority of Cardinale's films have been either Italian or French.
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