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March 10, 2022

35 Gorgeous Photos of Valentina Cortese in the 1940s and ’50s

Born 1923 in Milan, Italian actress Valentina Cortese made her screen debut in Italian films in 1940, leading to her first internationally acclaimed roles in Riccardo Freda’s 1948 Italian film Les Misérables, and the 1949 British film The Glass Mountain (1949), which led to a number of roles in American films of the period, but continued to make films in Europe with such directors as Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini and François Truffaut.

Cortese signed a contract with 20th Century Fox in 1948. She starred in Malaya (1949) with Spencer Tracy and James Stewart, Jules Dassin’s Thieves’ Highway (1949) with Richard Conte and Lee J. Cobb, The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), co-starring Richard Basehart and William Lundigan, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s The Barefoot Contessa (1954) with Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner and Edmond O’Brien.

In Europe, Cortese starred in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Le Amiche (1955), Gérard Brach’s The Boat on the Grass (1971), Terry Gilliam’s British film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), and in Franco Zeffirelli projects such as the film Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972), the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) and the film Sparrow (1993). Her final American film role was in When Time Ran Out (1980).

Cortese was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in François Truffaut’s Day for Night (1973). She died in 2019 at the age of 96. Take a look at these gorgeous photos to see the beauty of young Valentina Cortese in the 1940s and 1950s.


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