Claudia Cardinale

The legendary actress Claudia Cardinale was honoured with the Sofia Municipality Award for a Lifetime Achievement in Cinema at a gala screening of Luchino Visconti’s film The Leopard in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture in 2011.

Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale known as Claudia Cardinale, was born on April 15th, 1938 in Tunisia. At the age of 17 she wins a beauty pageant for the most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia and travels to Venice, in time for the film festival. After that she signs a 7-year contract with the Vides Company. In 1958 she makes her feature film debut wit I soliti ignoti, a Mario Monicelli film. Her filmography quickly grows, but she does not restrict herself to just a typical good-looking actress. 1960 marks the release of Rocco and his Brothers by Luchino Visconti, although Cardinale’s role is a small one, the director gives her an amazing opportunity in The Leopard (1963), where she works with Alain Delon and meets Burt Lancaster. That same year Federico Fellini invites her to star in 8 ½.

Claudia Cardinale indisputably grows into a world famous star and poses serious competition to names such Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren. In 1962 she stars in The Pink Panther (directed by Blake Edwards). The peak in her Hollywood ‘period’ comes with the western genre and the film The Professionals (1966) directed by Richard Brooks. She makes another appearance in a western, this time its Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West.

In the 80s and 90s Cardinale devotes herself to writing and theatre and receives plenty of honours: in Venice, Paris and Berlin. Her appearances on screen become more infrequent. Outside the world of cinema however, she is a very busy woman, who fights for women’s and homosexual people’s rights and in 1999 is chosen as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.