|Official Name:||Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana)|
|Area:||301,340 sq km|
|Population:||61.5 million (2013)|
|Climate:||Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south|
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Born: April 15, 1938
Claudia Cardinale was born Claude Josephine Rose Cardin in Tunis to Italian parents.
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. 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 8½ and Sergio Leone's epic Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
She attempted to break into the US market but was let down by her lack of interest 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).
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 the producer Franco Cristaldi but has been living with film director Pasquale Squitieri since 1975, and has two children. Claudia Junior's father is Squitieri and her eldest son Patrick was born out of wedlock to a mysterious Frenchman when the actress was only 18 and who was adopted by Cristaldi later on.
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.