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Starring Claudia Cardinale
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Claudia Cardinale Profile

Claudia Cardinale, like other Italian film stars including Sophia Loren, first attracted notice with her youthful, earthy beauty and later developed into an actress. She was born Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale to Italian parents in Tunis, Tunisia, in 1938. Her native language is French and she did not become fluent in Italian until she was a teen-ager. In 1957, after winning the title of the "Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia," she made her film debut in Goha, a French-Tunisian co-production.

Early in Cardinale's career she was managed by producer Franco Cristaldi, to whom she eventually was married (1966-1975). Her second film, I soliti ignoti (1958), known in the U.S. as Big Deal on Madonna Street, was an international success, and her film career was off and running. She appeared in some of the most celebrated Italian films of the 1960s including Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1960), The Leopard (1963) and Sandra of a Thousand Delights (1965); and Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963). In Fellini's surrealistic masterpiece she plays a character named Claudia, a creature of fantasy who is the director's dream woman.

Holding her own opposite Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson, Cardinale delivers another memorable performance as a smoky-voiced beauty in Sergio Leone's revisionist Western Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). Because she was not fond of being away from Europe for extended periods, she appeared in a limited number of Hollywood films, although she did star in The Pink Panther (1963) with Peter Sellers, Circus World (1964) with Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth, Blindfold (1965) with Rock Hudson and The Professionals (1966) with Burt Lancaster and Lee Marvin.

Cardinale plays an Algerian seductress in Lost Command (1966), an account of the Battle of Algiers that also stars Anthony Quinn and Alain Delon. In the romantic farce Don't Make Waves (1967), she joins Tony Curtis in lampooning the Southern California lifestyle. After that, she has concentrated primarily on European filmmaking. Among her notable later pictures have been Fitzcarraldo (1982), Un homme amoureux (1987), Mayrig (1991), and And Now...Ladies and Gentlemen (2002). She currently has three films scheduled for release in 2010.

Cardinale, who has two children, lives in Paris. She has written two volumes of memoirs, Moi Claudia, Toi Claudia; and Mes Etoiles.

by Roger Fristoe

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