Claudia Cardinale

Claudia Cardinale

Claudia Cardinale publicity still from Don't Make Waves (1967)
Born Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale
15 April 1938 (1938-04-15) (age 73)
Tunis, Tunisia
Residence Rome, Italy and Paris, France
Occupation actress
Years active 1958-present
Spouse Franco Cristaldi (1966-1975) (divorced)
Partner Pasquale Squitieri (1975-present) 2 children

Claudia Cardinale (born 15 April 1938) is an Italian actress, and has appeared in some of the most prominent European films of the 1960s and 1970s. The majority of Cardinale's films have been either Italian or French. She was also an iconic sex symbol of the 1960s.


Early life

Claudia Cardinale was born Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale in La Goulette, an Italian neighborhood of Tunis. Her mother, Yolande Greco, was born in Tunisia to Italian (Sicilian) emigrants from Trapani, Italy. Her father was an Italian (Sicilian) railway worker, born in Gela, Italy. Like many Italian Tunisians, her native languages were Tunisian Arabic, French, and the Sicilian language of her parents. She developed her skill in speaking Italian as a teenager, as she pursued her acting career.[1]


In 1957, Cardinale won the Italian embassy's 'Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia' contest. The contest included a trip to the Venice Film Festival, bringing Cardinale to the attention of the Italian movie industry. Her feature film debut was Goha (1957), a French-Tunisian co-production. After attending the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia of Rome for two months, she signed a seven-year contract with the Vides studios. In 1958, she had a role in the major international success I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street). Her early career was largely managed by studio producer Franco Cristaldi, to whom Cardinale was married from 1966 until 1975.

Throughout the 1960s, she appeared in some of the most acclaimed Italian and European films of the period, including Luchino Visconti's Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers 1960) and Il Gattopardo (The Leopard, 1963), Philippe de Broca's Cartouche (1963), Federico Fellini's Otto e mezzo ( 1963), and Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). In her early Italian films, another actress dubbed for Cardinale, because her naturally deep voice (which later became one of the reasons of her success) contrasted with her feminine appearance. Not until was she allowed to dub her own dialogue.[2]

Because Cardinale was not interested in leaving Europe for extended periods of time, she never made a real attempt to break into the American market. The list of her Hollywood films includes The Pink Panther (1963), Circus World (1964); Blindfold (1965); and The Professionals (1966).

A photograph of Cardinale was featured in the original gatefold artwork to Bob Dylan's album Blonde on Blonde (1966), but because it was used without Cardinale's permission, the photo was removed from the cover art in later pressings.[3][4]

In Visconti's Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa (known as Sandra in the United States and Of A Thousand Delights, 1965) she plays a Holocaust survivor who has 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 has remained active through the decades. Her later films include Qui comincia l'avventura (1975), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Un homme amoureux (1987), Mayrig (1991), And now... Ladies and Gentlemen (2002), and the critically acclaimed gay-themed Le fil (The String, 2010) playing a Tunisian mother with a tempestuous relationship with her French-educated gay son.

Cardinale has been honoured at nearly every major film festival. She was a tributee at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival and was the guest of honour at the 47th Antalya "Golden Orange" International Film Festival.[5] She won the Golden Orange Best Actress Award for the movie Signora Enrica (2010) from the Antalya Film Festival in Turkey. She has been given lifetime achievement awards from festivals in Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Armenia, Russia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Australia, the UK and US. Los Angeles Times readers, in a February 2011 online vote, deemed Cardinale the seventh most beautiful woman in film history.[6]

Personal life

Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain in Once Upon a Time in the West

Claudia Cardinale was married to Italian film producer Franco Cristaldi from 1966 until their divorce in 1975. She has lived with Pasquale Squitieri, an Italian film director, since 1975.[7]

She has two children: Patrizio, who was born out of wedlock to a Frenchman when she was 17 and later adopted by her longtime companion Squitieri, and Claudia, whose biological father is Squitieri.[8]

Cardinale is a political liberal who has supported feminist and gay rights causes over the years. She has frequently stated her pride in her Tunisian (she was raised speaking fluent Arabic) and Arab roots - as evidenced by her book Ma Tunisie and her appearance as herself in the Tunisian film Un été à La Goulette ("A Summer in La Goulette").

She 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.

Cardinale has been a regular attendee of the Academy Awards. She was awarded an honorary Golden Lion at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, and an honorary Golden Bear award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival.

Cardinale has been a UNESCO goodwill ambassador for the Defense of Women's Rights since 1999. She was a goodwill ambassador for the UNESCO World Water Day for 2006, supporting that year's theme of "Water and Culture" by 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.


  • L'udienza (1971)
  • Le pistolere (1971)
  • Il clan dei marsigliesi (1972)
  • Il giorno del furore (1973)
  • I guappi (1974)
  • Conversation Piece (1974) cameo as the professor's wife
  • Libera, amore mio (1975)
  • Qui comincia l'avventura (1975)
  • A mezzanotte va la ronda del piacere (1975)
  • Il comune senso del pudore (1976)
  • Goodbye & Amen - L'uomo della CIA (1977)
  • Il prefetto di ferro (1977)
  • Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
  • Corleone (1978)
  • L'arma (1978)
  • Amici e nemici (1979)
  • Escape to Athena (1979)
  • Si salvi chi vuole (1980)
  • La Salamandra (1981)
  • Il regalo (1981)
  • Fitzcarraldo (1981)
  • La pelle (1981)
  • Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) (footage from first film)
  • Una cascata d'oro (1983)
  • Claretta (1984)
  • Enrico IV (1984)
  • La donna delle meraviglie (1985)
  • Un uomo innamorato (1986)
  • La storia (1986)
  • Blu elettrico (1988)
  • Atto di dolore (1990)
  • Mayrig (1991)
  • 588, rue Paradis (1992)
  • Son of the Pink Panther (1993)
  • Nostromo (1996)
  • Li chiamarono briganti! (1999)
  • Luchino Visconti (1999)
  • And now... Ladies and Gentlemen (2002)
  • Marcello: A Sweet Life (2006)
  • Cherche Fiance Tous Frais Payes (2007)
  • Le Fil (2009)
  • Signora Enrica (2010)
  • Un balcon sur la mer (2010)
  • Gebo et l'Ombre (2012)


External links


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