Claudia Cardinale

Claudia Cardinale was born Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale in La Goulette, a neighborhood of Tunis, French Tunisia. Her mother, Yolande Greco, was born in Tunisia to Sicilian emigrants from Trapani. Her father was a Sicilian railway worker, born in Gela. Her native languages were French, Tunisian Arabic, and the Sicilian language of her parents.She did not learn to speak Italian until she had already begun to be cast for Italian films.

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 (8½ 1963), and Sergio Leone’s epic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). In her early Italian films, another actress dubbed Cardinale because her naturally deep, hoarse voice (which later became one of the reasons of her success) contrasted with her feminine appearance. It’s also said that she initially spoke Italian with a slight French accent – something that, reportedly, bothered Italian audiences of the time. Not until 8½ was she allowed to dub her own dialogue.
In Don’t Make Waves (1967)

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), The Professionals (1966), Don’t Make Waves (1967), and Son of the Pink Panther (1993).

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]

In Visconti’s Vaghe stelle dell’Orsa (known as Sandra in the USA and Of A Thousand Delights in the UK, 1965) she plays a Holocaust survivor who may have had 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, Amore Mio.

Cardinale has remained active through the decades. Her later films include Qui comincia l’avventura (1975), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Un homme amoureux (1987), Mayrig (1991), Li chiamarono… briganti! (1999), 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. 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. The Los Angeles Times Magazine, in a February 2011 online feature, named Cardinale among the 50 most beautiful women in film history.


Goha (1958)
I soliti ignoti (1958)
Three Strangers in Rome (1958)
Vento del sud (1959)
Il magistrato (1959)
La prima notte (1959)
Anneaux d’or (1959) – Short film
Un maledetto imbroglio (1959)
Upstairs and Downstairs (1959)
Il bell’Antonio (1960)
Napoleone ad Austerlitz (1960)
Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti (1960)
Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
I Delfini (1960)
Girl with a Suitcase (1961)
La Viaccia (1961)
Les Lions sont lâchés (1961)
Auguste (1961) – Cameo
Cartouche (1962)
Senilità (1962)
8½ (1963)
The Leopard (1963)
The Pink Panther (1963)
La ragazza di Bube (1963)
Gli indifferenti (1964)
Circus World (1964)
Il magnifico cornuto (1964)
Vaghe stelle dell’Orsa (1965)
Blindfold (1965)
Lost Command (1966)
The Professionals (1966)
Sex Quartet (1966)
Una rosa per tutti (1967)
Don’t Make Waves (1967)
La amante estelar (1968) – Short film
Il giorno della civetta (1968)
The Hell with Heroes (1968)
Ruba al prossimo tuo (1968)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Nell’anno del Signore (1969)
Certo certissimo … anzi probabile (1969)
The Red Tent (1969)
The Adventures of Gerard (1970)
Popsy Pop (1971)
The Legend of Frenchie King (1971)
Bello, onesto, emigrato Australia sposerebbe compaesana illibata (1971)
L’udienza (1972)
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)
A mezzanotte va la ronda del piacere (1975)
Qui comincia l’avventura (1975)
Il comune senso del pudore (1976)
Il prefetto di ferro (1977)
Goodbye & Amen – L’uomo della CIA (1977)
Corleone (1978)
Una donna due passioni (La part du feu) (1978)
L’amante proibita (La petite fille en velours bleu) (1978)
L’arma (1978)
Escape to Athena (1979)
Si salvi chi vuole (1980)
The Salamander (1981)
The Skin (1981)
Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Le cadeau (1982)
Le ruffian (1983)
Henry IV (1984)
Claretta (1984)
La donna delle meraviglie (1985)
L’estate prossima (L’été prochain) (1985)
A Man in Love (Un homme amoureux) (1987)
Blu elettrico (1988)
Hiver 54, l’abbé Pierre (1989)
Atto di dolore (1990)
La battaglia dei tre tamburi di fuoco (La batalla de los Tres Reyes) (1990)
Mayrig (1991)
588, rue Paradis (1992)
Son of the Pink Panther (1993)
Elles ne pensent qu’à ça… (1994)
Un été à La Goulette (1996) – Cameo
Sous les pieds des femmes (1997)
Stupor Mundi (1997)
Riches, belles, etc. (1998)
Un café… l’addition (1999) – Short film
Li chiamarono… briganti! (1999)
And Now… Ladies and Gentlemen (2002)
Le démon de midi (2005)
Cherche Fiance Tous Frais Payes (2007)
Le Fil (2009)
Signora Enrica (2010)
Un balcon sur la mer (2010) – Cameo
Father (2011)
Joy de V. (2011)
Gebo et l’ombre (2012)
The Artist and the Model (2012)
Effie (2012)
Deauville (2012)
Piccolina bella (2012)
The Silent Mountain (2013)


Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Princess Daisy (1983)
La Storia (1986)
Naso di cane (1986)
La Révolution française (1989)
Flash – Der Fotoreporter, episode Das Zweite Gesicht der Aida (1993)
Mayrig (1993)
10-07: L’affaire Zeus (1995)
Nostromo (1996)
Deserto di fuoco (1997)
Mia per sempre (1998)
Élisabeth – Ils sont tous nos enfants (2000)
Hold-up à l’italienne (2008)
Il giorno della Shoah (2010)