There was no silicon or plastic surgery involved; it was all God’s doing.
Claudia Cardinale, whose career spanned more than six decades, was a mystery both on and off screen.
Cardinale didn’t set out to become one of the finest performers of the golden age, but he nonetheless took the traumatic route to fame.
She is still going strong at 85, having outlived the Hollywood legends with whom she worked and proclaiming, “cinema saved my life.”
Claudia Cardinale is a legend in the film industry, both in Italy and abroad. She played a variety of complicated and unforgettable characters thanks to her talent, beauty, and adaptability.
Cardinale has become a cultural icon not only because of her brilliance, but also because of her striking Mediterranean good looks and magnetic on-screen persona.
What’s more remarkable is that despite being 85 years old, this actress is still performing regularly.
The Italian-born Tunisian grew up speaking several languages in her household before being recognised as a promising young educator.
The young woman with the shiny hair and the French accent fell for the festival’s pomp and was dragged from the crowd and named Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia.
My mother and several officials from the Italian government were planning a film festival in Tunisia, and I volunteered to help. I didn’t belong in this spot, but there I was, staring at the females on stage. She claimed, “I was pushed out onto the stage and crowned the Most Beautiful Girl in Tunisia.”
The young woman received numerous offers from producers after attending the Venice Film Festival, which served as the grand prize.
Cardinale, who initially declined the offers, later stated, “It’s like a man. If you answer yes right away when he comes after you, he will stop pursuing you. If you reject him, he will want you for a very long time.
She was expecting a child, therefore she had to turn down most offers.
There was, however, one producer she simply couldn’t say no to. The young Cardinale caught the eye of Franco Cristaldi, a notable Italian producer who has been associated with films from the 1950s through the 1990s, and he signed her to an 18-year contract.
There was also a personal contract; the couple wed and Cristaldi, intent on molding her into an Italian Brigitte Bardot, exercised complete authority over her appearance, career, and personal life.
Cristaldi insisted that the news of her pregnancy be concealed.
Her son, meanwhile, was revealed to be her younger brother.
Cardinale, while under Cristaldi’s management, appeared in a handful of bit parts in Italian films, where she garnered enough attention to earn the nickname “Italy’s sweetheart.”
She first gained widespread attention after landing the lead part in the 1958 romantic comedy Three Strangers in Rome. After seven months on the job and continuing to keep her pregnancy a secret at Cristaldi’s request, Cardinale grew sad and suicidal, begging with her management to end the contract.
Wikipedia/Pierluigi Praturlon/Claudia Cardinale in her stage outfit and reviewing the script before filming a scene from ‘The Pink Panther’
Instead, Cristaldi secreted her away in London under the guise that she was studying English for a role, keeping her out of the spotlight.
She gave birth to Patrick in 1975 and claimed that an unknown man had raped her. She didn’t reveal to Patrick until he was 19 that he was her son.
Cardinale told Italian journalist Enzo Biagi in 2017 that she became pregnant after being sexually assaulted by an unknown male, who was much older than her. It was horrible, but the bright side is that it resulted in the birth of my wonderful Patrick. Even though it was a difficult circumstance for a single mother, I ultimately chose against having an abortion. She went on, “When that man found out I was pregnant, he came back and insisted that I have one. I never once considered giving up my creature!
Cardinale stated of Cristaldi, who ruled her life, “With him I was basically an employee, a subordinate who got paid a month for the four films I made a year: I didn’t even address him by name, but by surname. My parents were upset, and I felt like a prisoner in my own home.He was the one I was with since I wasn’t in love. In sum, Cristaldi was an excellent producer, but his personal life was “better to overlook.”
Her career progressed normally despite her troubled marriage to Cristaldi, which she ended in 1975.
The stunning newcomer, who made her acting debut alongside Omar Sharif in the French-Tunisian film Goha, has rapidly established herself as one of Italy’s top actresses. The following year, she starred alongside Marcello Mastroianni in the Oscar-winning film 812, and the following year, she starred alongside Burt Lancaster in the film The Leopard. Martin Scorsese, winner of multiple directing awards, has said that two of her films in which she played an unreachable object of desire are among his favorites.
As her Hollywood career progressed, she appeared in films with such A-listers as John Wayne and Rita Hayworth in 1964’s Circus World.
Cardinale was praised for her role as a prostitute in the American-Italian film Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), in which she appeared alongside Hollywood legends Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, and Charles Bronson.
In 1971’s The Legend of Frenchie King, however, fans relished seeing Cardinale, called the Italian Brigitte Bardot, alongside the actual Bardot, her friend and adversary. To what extent did she differ from Bardot? She explained that she never went nude on camera because “I always thought it was more erotic to leave some room for imagination, hinting at things rather than showing everything.”
It was both rewarding and demanding to work in Hollywood. In a Life article where she was called “the most admired international film star since Sophia Loren,” Claudia Cardinale made it clear that she wanted out of the male-dominated film industry. Cardinale added, “If I have to give up the money, I give up the money” in reference to the lesser income in Europe. Please don’t make myself a cliche.
Cardinale has stated that she is relieved to no longer be in the sexualized public eye, despite the fact that this has hampered the progress of her career.
“When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was travel the world. And I succeeded. Neither my appearance nor my nacks have ever been altered. Absolutely not my cup of tea. Because time is something that can’t be stopped, I enjoy being who I am, Cardinale stated.
Cardinale tied the knot with the late Italian director Pasquale Squitieri in 1975. Claudia is the only child the couple has.
Cardinale answered speculation about her voluntary hospitalization in 2022. She recently reported, “I’m next to my family in France, and I’m in perfect health.” And I hope you all have a wonderful summer.
In her current role as UNESCO’s goodwill ambassador for the Defense of Women’s Rights, Cardinale is actively involved in the organization.