Date of Birth15 April 1938, Tunis, French Protectorate Tunisia [now Tunisia]
Birth NameClaude Joséphine Rose Cardinale
Height5' 8" (1.73 m)
In 1957, Cardinale won the 'Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia' contest of the Italian embassy, which brought her to the traditional Venice Film Festival. 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 7-year contract with the Vides studios. In 1958, she had a role in the major international success I soliti ignoti. Her early career was largely managed by producer Franco Cristaldi, a studio producer 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'sRocco 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 (8½ 1963), and Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). In her early Italian films, another actordubbed for Cardinale, because her naturally deep voice (which later became one of the reasons of her success) contrasted with her feminine appearance. Not until 8½ was she allowed to dub her own dialogue.
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.
Her performance in Visconti's Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa (known as Sandra in the United States and Of A Thousand Delights, 1965) is regarded as mesmerizing, playing a Holocaustsurvivor who has an incestuous relationship with her brother. In Comencini's heart-breaking 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, now considered an icon of European cinema, remains active. Her later films include Qui comincia l'avventura (1975), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Un homme amoureux (1987), Mayrig(1991), and And now... Ladies and Gentlemen (2002).
Cardinale was honored as a tributee at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival and was the guest of honor at the 47th Antalya "Golden Orange" International Film Festival. She won the Golden Orange Best Actress Award for the movie of Signora Enrica (2010) from Antalya Film Festival in Turkey.
Claudia Cardinale was married to Italian film producer Franco Cristaldi from 1966 until their divorce in 1975, and now lives with Pasquale Squitieri, an Italian film director who has been her companion since 1975.
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 Pasquale Squitieri, and Claudia, whose biological father is Squitieri.
Claudia Cardinale lives in Paris. She is also reported to have had an affair with former French President Jacques Chirac.
Cardinale is a liberal with strong political convictions. She is involved in many humanitarian causes, including pro-women and pro-gay issues, and has frequently stated her pride in her Tunisian 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. In 2002, she was awarded an honorary Golden Bear award of the Berlin Film Festival, and previously in 1993 she was awarded even an honorary Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Cardinale has been a 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 forPowerstock, 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 has two children: Patrizio, who was born out of wedlock to mysterious Frenchman when she was 17 and later adopted by her former husband Franco Cristaldi, and Claudia, whose biological father is her longtime companion Pasquale Squitieri.
1957: At the Italian Embassy in Tunis, she was voted the most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia. Her prize was a trip to Venice during the Venice Film Festival. After the festival, she was offered movie roles, however she initially refused them and returned to Tunis. Six months later, a producer sold her on a career in movies, and she went to Rome with her parents, two brothers and sister, taking a home in Castel Giubileo, a small town outside the city.
She signed a contract forbidding her to cut her hair, marry or gain weight. Due to this contract, she told everyone that her new born son (out of wedlock) was her baby brother. She did not reveal to the child that he was her son, until he was 19 years old.
Measurements: 37C-23-37 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
Vital statistics in August 1976: 38-24-37.
Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993
Has lived together with Pasquale Squitieri since 1975.
While her longtime companion lives in Rome, she calls Paris her home due to her popularity in France.
Has been UNESCO good will Ambassador for the Defense of Women's Rights since 1999.
As she had a deep voice and spoke Italian with a heavy French accent, her voice was dubbed in her early movies. The Pink Panther (1963) was meant to be her first English speaking film, however, in the end, her voice was again dubbed.
1965: Told a reporter she liked a dry martini before dinner, caviar for hors d'oeuvres, lobsters or oysters for seafood, or a steak alla Fiorentina. When it came to wine, her preference was for a rich, red wine.
Preferred to be called by her initials: CC.
Originally intended to become a teacher in Tunis, North Africa.
Her father was an Italian railroad worker. Despite having an Italian father, she grew up speaking French after her French mother.
Her mentor was her late husband Franco Cristaldi.
Speaks French, Italian, English, Spanish and Arabic (from having been raised in Tunisia).
Long considered one of the world's great beauties, she has appeared on more than 900 magazine covers in over 25 countries.
Good friends with 'Brigitte Bardot'.
never felt scandal and confession were necessary to be an actress. I've never revealed myself or even my body in films. Mystery is very important.
If you're not English, you're a foreigner - so you must be sexy. it's an old British cliché.
[on acting] But to do this kind of work, you have to be very strong, otherwise you lose your personality, your identity. You don't know who you are. It's fantastic because I've been living thousands of lives, not only my life.
I wasn't speaking a word of Italian until I was 18. They had to dub my voice in my first Italian picture!
Here is my selected films that I think you all will enjoy