She was Italian favorite girl, the heroine of fairy tales, the Italian version of Brigitte Bardot, a symbol of the country whose language she was barely able to speak, non-recurring and unusual movie star.
Claudia Cardinale was born on 15/04/1939. as Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale in Tunisia which was then the French colony but some cities were under Italian rule. Claudia’s parents were immigrants from Sicily, but since she was raised in Arabic and French, she perfected her Italian only when she began her film career. From her parents, Claudia taught only Sicilian dialect, which was insufficient for the serious business of acting at that time. In 1957 she won a competition for the most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia and the award took her to the festival in Venice. Everyone there were amazed by her beauty and immediately gave her some serious acting offers.
As 17 years old girl she debuted in a small but notable roles typical for woman from Sicily. After “Sideways” in 1961, she began to land mainly leading roles, such as one in ” Cartouche “, “Il Gattopardo”, “Girl with a suitcase”, “8 ½ “, ” Glimmering stars of the Great Bear (Sandra)” and the film “Rocco and his brothers “. Despite the language barrier, she made a fair number of films produced in the US ( “The Pink Panther”, ” Circus World “, “The hell with heroes”, “The Professionals” , and, unlike other sex-bombs, continued to record even during the 70s and 80s of the past century, gracefully transferring in more demanding character roles. As for later roles of the American period, there was “Escape to Athena”, “The gift”, ” Fitzcarraldo “, “Henri IV”, “A man in Love” and, almost thirty years after the appearance of the original, “Son of the Pink Panther”.
Especially interesting was her cooperation with a Visconti on the film “Glimmering stars of the Great Bear” which was the 1965 film that deals with the intriguing theme of incest between brother and sister, and for that role she was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. However, the roles for which Claudia Cardinale will be most remembered in film history are the ones in the movies “8 ½” by Federico Fellini, starring as Marcello Mastroianni muse, the director’s alter ego, and the legendary film Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West “.
Claudia is very socially active and politically engaged. She fought for the rights of women and homosexuals and has never forgotten her Arab-Tunisian roots. Since 1999, she is UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador.
In fashion circles, she is best known for her strong friendship with Giorgio Armani, whose creations she always wears at public events being one of his most famous celebrity promoters.
Claudia Cardinale, a sex symbol of the sixties, diva, best friend of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon, even now looks spectacular, which only confirms the fact that in the woman, the most beautiful is always – her character.