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Last Surviving Main Actor From Once Upon a Time in the West

Last Surviving Main Actor From Once Upon a Time in the West

Sergio Leone, a trailblazer of the spaghetti Western genre, frequently chose locations around Rome and other Italian cities for his films, often casting local actors. Claudia Cardinale, cast as the heroine in “Once Upon a Time in the West,” was one such talent. Cardinale was already known for her role in “8 1/2,” a film partially based on the life of director Federico Fellini, featuring Marcello Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi. Despite her memorable performance in Leone’s Western, she did not become a staple in Hollywood. Instead, she continued to shine in various international films, including her recent work in 2022’s “The Island of Forgiveness.”

Cardinale’s acting career is decorated with numerous accolades, among them the Career Golden Lion awarded at the 1993 Venice Film Festival. Her influence also extends beyond the screen; since 2000, she has served as a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO, championing women’s rights. Her enduring passion for cinema is evident. In a 2014 interview with Art Film Fest, she expressed her unwavering engagement with the industry, stating, “Most people only live once. But I’ve lived 141 lives. So that’s why.” She had no plans of stopping, adding, “I’ve always got something to keep me busy. I’ll leave it to fate to decide how many more films I appear in.”

With over 100 movies and TV shows to her name, Claudia Cardinale firmly holds her place as one of Italy’s most iconic film stars. While “Once Upon a Time in the West” might be her most celebrated role, it is just one chapter in her storied career, embodying the many “lives” she has portrayed on-screen.

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