Claudia Cardinale (born April 15, 1938) is an Italian actress born in Tunis, Tunisia. The most notable films she has appeared in include 8½ (1963) and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
Claudia Cardinale was born Claude Joséphine 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 8½ (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 8½ 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
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