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After making her debut in a minor role with Omar Sharif in Goha (1958), Cardinale became one of the best-known actresses in Italy after roles in films such as Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Girl with a Suitcase (1961), The Leopard (1963), Cartouche (1963), and Federico Fellini's 8½ (1963).
From 1963, Cardinale became known in the United States and Britain following her role in The Pink Panther opposite David Niven.
Claudia Cardinale (born 15 April 1938) is an Italian Tunisian film actress and sex symbol who appeared in some of the most acclaimed European films of the 1960s and 1970s, mainly Italian or French, but also in several English films.
Born and raised in La Goulette, a neighbourhood of Tunis, Cardinale won the "Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia" competition in 1957, the prize being a trip to Italy, which quickly led to film contracts, due above all to the involvement of Franco Cristaldi, who acted as her mentor for a number of years and later married her.
Even talking with a friend about anything that could make me look different from my public image was risky, as if it had been publicized, I would have been in trouble. Cardinale also starred opposite Pietro Germi in his crime film Un maledetto imbroglio, an important assignment for her in mastering the craft of acting while learning to feel at ease in front of the camera.
The film marked the start of a fruitful partnership between the two.
So as to maintain the secret, he drew up a detailed American-style contract covering every little detail of her life, depriving her of any possibility of acting on her own behalf.
Cardinale explained: "I was no longer master of my own body or thoughts.
The appearance nonetheless marked her feature-film debut.
She attended briefly as, despite her extremely photogenic looks, she had trouble with her acting assignments (partly owing to her difficulties with the Italian language).