After 60 years in film, actress Claudia Cardinale reveals that cinema saved her life

Legendary actress Claudia Cardinale celebrated her 85th birthday, and her timeless beauty still captivates audiences.

For over six decades, Cardinale has graced the screen with her commanding presence, becoming one of the most outstanding actresses of the golden era. Although she didn’t originally plan to pursue an acting career, her rise to stardom was marked by some traumatic moments.

An iconic actress, Claudia Cardinale has left an indelible mark on the Italian and international film world. Her talent, beauty and versatility have allowed her to embody a wide range of complex and memorable characters throughout her career.

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Cardinale’s status as an international film icon is the result of her talent, her striking Mediterranean beauty and her ability to captivate audiences with her charismatic screen presence.

What’s even more impressive is that at the age of 85, she is still actively involved in the film industry. The Tunisian-born Italian actress, who grew up in a multilingual family, was in the process of becoming a teacher when she was discovered at the age of 18.

Her journey to fame began when she was crowned the most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia at an Italian film festival, which earned her a trip to the Venice Film Festival and numerous offers from producers.

Despite these offers, she initially declined because she was pregnant. Her decision was driven by the belief that resisting immediate acceptance would make her more desirable.

In 1975, her son Patrick was born, and she revealed that his father was an unidentified man who raped her. Patrick’s true identity remained secret until he was 19 years old.

Cardinale survived a difficult relationship with Cristaldi, from whom she separated in 1975, but her career flourished. She made her debut in the French-Tunisian film “Goha” opposite Omar Sharif. Her talent quickly earned her recognition as one of the best Italian actresses.

Notable roles in films such as Rocco and His Brothers (1960), 8½ (1963) and The Leopard (1963) alongside Marcello Mastroianni and Burt Lancaster contributed to her fame. Director Martin Scorsese praises the last two films in which she plays an unattainable object of desire as two of his twelve favorites.

Cardinale also gained prominence in Hollywood, starring opposite David Niven in The Pink Panther and appearing with John Wayne and Rita Hayworth in Circus World (1964). Her portrayal of a prostitute in “Play Me the Song of Death” (1968) earned praise.

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