Birthday: April 15, 1938
Famous: Actresses Aries Actresses
Age: 80 Years, 80 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale
Born In: La Goulette
Famous As: Film Actress
Height: 1.73 M
Spouse/Ex-: Franco Cristaldi (M. 1966–1975)
Father: Francesco Cardinale
Mother: Yolanda Greco
Siblings: Blanche Cardinale
Children: Claudia Squitieri, Patrick Cristaldi
Born Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale, Claudia Cardinale is an Italian–Tunisian actor who is known for her acclaimed European and American films of the 1960s and the 1970s. Born and raised in Tunis, Tunisia, she was first noticed when she won a trip to the ‘Venice Film Festival’ as a competition prize. After a few initial small roles, Cardinale made her mark with movies such as ‘Rocco and His Brothers,’ ‘Girl with a Suitcase,’ and ‘The Leopard.’ Soon, she became an international star with Federico Fellini’s classic ‘8 ½’. Following her English movie ‘The Pink Panther,’ she also worked in Hollywood films such as ‘Blindfold,’ ‘The Professionals,’ and ‘Once upon a Time in the West.’ She was selected as a member of the jury at the 1993 ‘Cannes Film Festival.’ In 2011, the ‘Los Angeles Times Magazine’ named her as one of the 50 most beautiful women in film history. Cardinale has worked in over 150 movies. She once mentioned in an interview that she thought she was lucky to be working even at her age. Since March 2000, she has been a ‘UNESCO’ goodwill ambassador for the ‘Defense of Women’s Rights.’ She was also a goodwill ambassador for ‘UNESCO World Water Day’ in 2006. She has two children and currently lives in Paris.
Childhood & Early Life
Cardinale was born on April 15, 1938, in La Goulette, near Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, when Tunisia was under French rule. Her mother Yolande Greco, was the daughter of Sicilian immigrants. Her father, Francesco Cardinale, was born in Gela, Sicily, and worked with the railways. She spoke French, Arabic, and the Sicilian dialect of her parents. She learnt Italian only after entering the Italian film industry.
Cardinale grew up with two brothers, Bruno and Adrien, and a younger sister, Blanche. She studied at the ‘Saint Joseph-de-l’Apparition’ school of Carthage and graduated from the ‘Paul Cambon School.’ She initially wished to become a teacher.
Cardinale was part of a short film named ‘Anneaux d’or.’ When the film was displayed at the ‘Berlin Film Festival,’ she was noticed by French director Jacques Baratier. She got her film break in a small role opposite Omar Sharif in ‘Goha’ (1958). The film won the ‘Jury Prize’ at the 1958 ‘Cannes Film Festival.’
During the 1957 ‘Italian Cinema Week’ in Tunis, she won the ‘Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia’ competition and earned a trip to the ‘Venice Film Festival.’ She was noticed by film producers and received an invitation to study at the ‘Experimental Cinematography Center.’ She left the institute after her first semester, as she faced language difficulties.
Refusing several film offers, she returned to her hometown. However, she changed her mind because of her personal situation and signed a 7-year contract with Italian film producer Franco Cristaldi’s production company, ‘Vides.’ Cristaldi supported her through her difficulties, acted as her mentor, and also married her.
She appeared in a small role in the successful criminal comedy ‘Big Deal on Madonna Street’ (1958) and was quickly accepted in the industry. The same year, she played a lead role in the comedy film ‘Three Strangers in Rome.’ She took a brief break and went to England.
In 1959, Cardinale starred in ‘Vento del sud,’ ‘II magistrato,’ ‘Un maledetto imbroglio,’ and the British film ‘Upstairs and Downstairs.’ Her voice was dubbed during her initial days in the industry.
During the 1960s, she featured in ‘Il bell'Antonio,’ opposite Marcello Mastroianni; the French film ‘Napoleone ad Austerlitz’; the sequel of ‘Big Deal on Madonna Street’; and the critically appreciated film ‘Rocco and His Brothers’ (1960). She made a name for herself with a lead role in Francesco Maselli’s ‘Silver Spoon Set’ (1960).
Because of her own experience, Cardinale authentically portrayed the role of ‘Aida,’ a nightclub singer and a young mother, in Valerio Zurlini’s ‘Girl with a Suitcase.’ This was followed by a number of films, such as ‘La Viaccia,’ Bolognini’s ‘Senilita,’ the French comedy ‘Les Lions Sont lâchés,’ and the French film ‘Cartouche.’ The last film made her a star in France.
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