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Obit: actress/singer Daliah Lavi (1942-2017)

Joe Offer 15 Nov 17 - 04:12 AM
JHW 15 Nov 17 - 03:57 PM
michaelr 15 Nov 17 - 08:01 PM
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Subject: Obit: Daliah Lavi (1942-2017)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Nov 17 - 04:12 AM

Israeli actress, singer, and model Dalia Lavi died May 3, 2017, in Asheville, NC. She was born in Israel in 1942.

Here's the obituary from The Guardian:

Glamorous film actor who made her name in spy spoofs of the 1960s

With the huge success of the James Bond film franchise, starting with Dr No in 1962, a plethora of spin-offs appeared throughout the 1960s. They followed the original recipe of exotic locales, an evil genius who wishes to take over the world, a laidback, oversexed super spy hero and a bevy of (mostly treacherous) beautiful women. Among the actors portraying the last of these was Daliah Lavi, who has died aged 74.

Almost all Lavi?s film career took place in that swinging decade during which she was most likely to be seen in miniskirt and kinky boots, or displaying her underwear. The multilingual Lavi (born in the British Mandate of Palestine) had already made several French, German, Italian and Hollywood films before she starred as a sexy double agent opposite Dean Martin in The Silencers (1966), the first of the ?bosoms and bullets? Matt Helm series.

Continuing in the light-hearted parodic tone was The Spy With a Cold Nose (1966) ? the title refers to a bulldog with a microphone implant ? in which Lavi as a Russian princess slips into the bed of a British counterintelligence agent (Lionel Jeffries), something he has long dreamed of. Lavi, with her tongue firmly in her cheek, was one of the plethora of 007s in Casino Royale (1967) and, her dark hair in a high beehive, was an alluring and mysterious woman who runs a gambling house in London in the cold war thriller Nobody Runs Forever (1968). The run of spy spoofs ended with Some Girls Do (1969), in which she was a villain, opposing and attracting ?Bulldog? Drummond (Richard Johnson).

She was born Daliah Lewinbuk in the village of Shavi Zion in what was to become Israel. Her Jewish parents, Reuben and Ruth, were Russian and German respectively. When Daliah was 10 years old, she met the Hollywood star Kirk Douglas, who was making The Juggler near the Lewinbuks? village.

Discovering that she wanted to become a ballet dancer, Douglas arranged for her to get a scholarship to study ballet in Stockholm. However, after three yearsshe was advised to give up dancing because of low blood pressure. It was then that she switched her ambitions to acting, making her first screen appearance while still a teenager in Arne Mattsson?s The People of Hemso (1955), a Swedish production based on the August Strindberg novel.

On her return to Israel, Lavi worked as a model and starred as a femme fatale in Blazing Sand (1960), a trashy ?matzo western?, in which she does an exotic dance in a nightclub, a foretaste of her later roles in campy spy movies. Then moving to Paris, and changing her surname to Lavi, which means lioness in Hebrew, she won the part of Cun?gonde in Candide (1960), an update to the second world war of Voltaire?s satirical novel.

She had an uncharacteristic part in Violent Summer (Un Soir Sur La Plage, 1961) as a girl found murdered on the beach after a fleeting sexual encounter. For her role as the beautiful Italian woman causing friction between a washed-up movie star (Douglas) and a temperamental newcomer (George Hamilton) in Vincente Minnelli?s Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) ? shot in Italy ? Lavi won a Golden Globes award as the most promising female newcomer. One of her rare straight dramatic roles was as a young woman who brings comfort to the complex eponymous hero (Peter O?Toole) in Lord Jim (1965), Richard Brooks?s sluggish epic based on Joseph Conrad?s novel, and shot in Cambodia and Malaysia.

But she had made only a slight impression in the films that preceded the spy spoofs, the exception being The Whip and the Body (1963), a gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava, the father of the Italian giallo genre. One of the fetish set pieces takes place on a beach when the cruel aristocrat (Christopher Lee) horsewhips his brother?s bride (Lavi), before they engage in sado-masochistic love play.

After a turn as a furious Mexican woman scorned by an outlaw (Yul Brynner) in the mediocre western Catlow (1971), Lavi deserted the silver screen and began a whole new career as a singer. The Israeli actor Topol had persuaded Lavi to make recordings of Hebrew songs for the BBC in 1969. She soon became one of the most popular singers in Germany, her biggest hits being Oh Wann Kommst Du? (Oh, when will you come?) and Willst Du Mit Mir Gehen? (Do you want to go with me?).

She is survived by her fourth husband, the businessman Charles Gans, and their three sons and daughter.

- Daliah Lavi (Daliah Lewinbuk), actor and singer, born 12 October 1942; died 3 May 2017

Here she's performing "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem" in 1975:

Here she's singing "Jerusalem," which she recorded in Hebrew, English, and German:

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Subject: RE: Obit: actress/singer Daliah Lavi (1942-2017)
From: JHW
Date: 15 Nov 17 - 03:57 PM

I remember her in Lord Jim, in the days of Cinerama. Thanks for the reminder.
Hadn't appreciated how much she had done.

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Subject: RE: Obit: actress/singer Daliah Lavi (1942-2017)
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Nov 17 - 08:01 PM

Gosh, I remember her from seeing those silly films as a kid in Germany. Hadn't thought of her in ages... RIP

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