After 60 years in film, this iconic actress confirms what many suspected

Nothing artificial, no silicone, just a work of art created by God.The mysterious Claudia Cardinale illuminated the screen with her stunning presence during the course of a career spanning more than six decades.

Cardinale chose to follow the path to celebrity that was frequently paved by pain, not with the intention of becoming one of the finest performers of the golden age.

She claims that, at 85, she has outlasted the now-deceased Hollywood heavyweights with whom she formerly performed on screen and that “cinema saved my life.”

Claudia Cardinale, a legendary actress, made an enduring impression on both Italian and foreign cinema. She was able to portray a variety of intricate and unique personalities throughout her career thanks to her talent, beauty, and adaptability.

In addition to her abilities, Cardinale’s iconic stature as a global film star is a result of her striking Mediterranean beauty and her capacity to enthrall viewers with her charming presence on screen.Even more impressive is the fact that this actress, who is 85 years old, is still going strong and working in the film industry.

When she was discovered at age 18, the Italian woman of Tunisian descent who was raised in a multilingual home and was pursuing a career as a teacher. The young woman, who spoke French and had shiny hair, was drawn out of the crowd and named Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia by the pomp of an Italian film festival.

“I was helping my mother and people from the Italian government organize an Italian film festival in Tunisia. I was looking at the girls on the stage and I wasn’t supposed to be there. Someone pushed me out on the stage and I was named the Most Beautiful Girl in Tunisia,” she said.

The young woman won a trip to the Venice film festival, which was a terrifying adventure for her and resulted in numerous producer offers.Cardinale said in an interview that he initially declined the offers because “It’s like a man. If you respond affirmatively right away when he starts to pursue you, he eventually gives up and leaves. If you reject him, he will hunger for you.

She turned down the majority of offers since she was pregnant. One producer, though, she couldn’t pass up. Young Cardinale caught the attention of renowned Italian producer Franco Cristaldi, who is known for his work on movies from the 1950s through the 1990s, and he signed her to an 18-year contract.

There was a personal contract as well. After they got married, Cristaldi assumed complete control, molding her into an Italian Brigitte Bardot and choosing her movie roles, haircut, weight, and social life. Cristaldi insisted that her pregnancy remain a secret.

It was revealed that her son was actually her younger brother. Cardinale was under Cristaldi’s direction and received praise for her efforts in a few minor roles in Italian movies, earning the nickname “Italy’s Sweetheart.”

She received her big break in 1958 when she was cast as the lead in the romantic comedy Three Strangers in Rome. Seven months into her pregnancy—which, at Cristaldi’s urging, she continued to conceal—Cardinale began to have despondent and suicidal thoughts, and she begged her management to get her out of the contract.

Instead, Cristaldi sent her to London to be out of the public eye while pretending she was studying English for a role. Her baby Patrick was born in 1975, and she claimed that the man who sexually assaulted her was the father of the child. Until he was 19, Patrick’s mother kept his parentage a secret.

Cardinale confided in Italian writer Enzo Biagi in 2017 and told him the gruesome details of how she became pregnant:

“A man I didn’t know, much older than me, forced me to go up to car and raped me. It was terrible, but the most beautiful thing is that my wonderful Patrick was born from that violence. In fact, although it was a very complicated situation for a single mother, I decided not to have an abortion.”

She continued, “When that man learned of my pregnancy, he came back, demanding that I have an abortion. Not even for a moment did I think of getting rid of my creature!”

Speaking of Cristaldi, who controlled her life, Cardinale said, “With him I was practically an employee, a subordinate who was paid a month for the four films I made a year: I didn’t even call him by name, but by surname. I felt hostage, my father and mother were furious…Because I wasn’t in love, he was the one with me. In short, Cristaldi was certainly a great producer, but on a private level… better to overlook it.”

She ended her unstable relationship with Cristaldi in 1975, but it didn’t hinder her career.

The naturally beautiful actress, who made her acting debut alongside Omar Sharif in the French-Tunisian film Goha, immediately gained a reputation as one of Italy’s top actors.

She later played the lead in Rocco and His Brothers in 1960, and in the Oscar-winning movies 812 with Marcello Mastroianni and The Leopard with Burt Lancaster in 1963, she also had starring parts. Martin Scorsese, an Oscar-winning director, listed both of the movies in which she played an apparently unattainable object of desire as two of his top 12 favorites.

After making headway in Hollywood, she co-starred in 1964’s Circus World with stars like John Wayne and Rita Hayworth after appearing in The Pink Panther with David Nivens.

Cardinale was praised for her performance of a prostitute in the American-Italian film Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), in which she acted with legends Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, and Henry Fonda.

However, viewers appreciated watching Cardinale, known as the Italian Brigitte Bardot, in The Legend of Frenchie King (1971), alongside the actual Bardot, her rival and friend. What distinguished her from Bardot? According to her, she has never been seen in a movie completely undressed because “I always thought it was more erotic to leave some room for imagination, hinting at things rather than showing everything.”

Working in Hollywood was both successful and stressful. In a Life article, that referred to her as “the most admired international film star since Sophia Loren,” Cardinale revealed that she wanted out of the patriarchal Hollywood system. Speaking to the lower salary in Europe, Cardinale said, “If I have to give up the money, I give it up. I do not want to become a cliché.”

Cardinale acknowledged that her work has slowed down but said she is pleased to have left the sexualized spotlight behind.

“When I was young, my dream was to explore the world. And I did it. I was never naked and I never did anything to change my face. I don’t like that at all. I like to be what I am, because you cannot stop time,” Cardinale said.

In 1975, Cardinale wed Italian director Pasquale Squitieri; they remained together until his passing in 2017. Claudia is the only daughter of the couple.

In 2022, Cardinale addressed rumors that she was involuntarily hospitalized. Living in France, she said “I’m next to my family, I’m in full health. And I wish everyone a happy summer.”

In her current capacity as the goodwill ambassador for the defense of women’s rights, Cardinale is deeply connected with UNESCO.

Claudia Cardinale had quite a life, filled with trauma and successes.

It’s wonderful to see that she is inspiring other ladies with her tale, and we sincerely hope that she stays well going forward. What is your preferred Cardinale movie?