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Throughout the 1960s she appeared in many Italian or Italian co-financed films including Luchino Visconti's Il Gattopardo (The Leopard, 1963), Rocco e i suoi fratelli (1963), Federico Fellini's 8Ґ and Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
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Claudia Cardinale was born Claude Josephine Rose Cardin. She had her break into films after winning a Tunisian beauty contest in 1957. She made her film debut in Goha (1958) and later that year had a role in the minor international success I Soliti ignoti. Her early career was largely managed by producer Franco Cristaldi.
Cardinale never made a real attempt to break into the US market since she was not interested in leaving Europe for extended periods of time. Her Hollywood films include Circus World (1964), The Pink Panther (1964) and The Hell With Heroes (1968).
A photograph of Cardinale was featured in the original gatefold artwork to Bob Dylan's album Blonde On Blonde in 1966; since the photo was used without Cardinale's permission, the photo was removed from the cover art in later pressings.
She has appeared in more good European movies than most of her contemporaries. Her performance in Visconti's Sandra/Of A Thousand Delights is regarded as mesmerizing, playing a Holocaust survivor with an incestuous relationship with her brother. In Comencini's "La Storia", Cardinale plays a widow raising a son during WW2 and was another well-received performance by Cardinale. Other performances by Cardinale that are considered to be great include Valerio Zurlini's "Girl With A Suitcase" and Mauro Bolognini's "Libera".
Cardinale remains active in European cinema, her later films include Qui comincia l'avventura (1975), Fitzcarraldo (1982), La Storia (1985) and Un homme amoureux (1987).
She has been married only once (to Franco Cristaldi) but has been living with film director Pasquale Squitieri since 1975, and has two children. Her son Patrick was born out of wedlock to a mysterious Frenchman when the actress was only 17; Cristaldi adopted him later. She has a daughter (also named Claudia) by Squitieri.
Claudia Cardinale is a liberal with strong political convictions. She is a leftist involved in pro-women and pro-gay issues. She has also frequently stated that she is proud of her Arab heritage (she was born in Tunis) and is involved in many humanitarian causes. She currently calls Paris her home.
Claudia Cardinale wrote an autobiography "Moi Claudia, Toi Claudia" which has not been translated into English. 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.
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