Of stunning beauty and abundant talent, Israeli actress and singer Daliah Lavi passed away at the age of 74 on May 3rd in Asheville, North Carolina. One source lists her death as from natural causes.
Born Daliah Lewinbuk to German and Russian parents in Northern Israel (British Palestine at the time) on October 12, 1942, Miss Lavi is best remembered by MMW readers for her role as Nevenka Menliff in Mario Bava's THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963, a.k.a. WHAT). She was also popular in her role as "The Detainer" in the 1967 James Bond spoof, CASINO ROYALE.
Miss Lavi played in a number of other notable films, including LORD JIM, THE SILENCERS, SOME GIRLS DO, and a version of Agatha Christie's famous story, TEN LITTLE INDIANS. She also played the lead in IL DEMONIO (1963, a.k.a. THE DEMON), an Italian-French co-production that tells the story of Purif, an Italian witch, and her persecution.
At the urging of fellow Israeli actor, Topol, Lavi left acting and tried a career in singing. She became an international hit and produced numerous albums over the years. Being multilingual, she recorded records in several languages (she could speak English, German, Hebrew, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Russian).
Miss Lavi's real love was dancing and she has been quoted as saying that she would have much rather been a dancer than an actress. Unfortunately, according to one source, she could not meet the rigors of a dancing career because of a medical condition.
"Lavi", in the Hebrew language, means "lioness".
On a personal note, I was in my teens when I watched WHAT, the American version of THE WHIP AND THE BODY on TV. I was instantly captivated by Daliah Lavi's beauty, and the combination of the sadistic story and her lovely image haunted me for days. And who wouldn't be?
|A young Daliah Lavi.|