Israeli Actress Daliah Lavi Dies in L.A. at 75

Nirit Anderman
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Daliah Lavi and Woody Allen in the 1967 film "Casino Royale."
Daliah Lavi and Woody Allen in the 1967 film "Casino Royale."Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Nirit Anderman

Israeli actress Daliah Lavi, who was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 1962 as the most promising actress for her role in "Two Weeks in Another Town" opposite Kirk Douglas, died in Los Angeles Wednesday at the age of 75. Lavi had one of the most successful Hollywood careers of any Israeli actress and appeared in a number of successful European and Hollywood films.

Born in Shavei Zion in British Mandatory Palestine in 1942, she met American film star Kirk Douglas ten years later, when he came to Israel for the filming of "The Juggler." Lavi impressed him and the actor decided to fund dance studies for her in Stockholm, which she pursued for four years.

Her first film role came at the age of 13 in a Swedish film. In 1960, she was cast in the Israeli movie "Burning Sands" with Uri Zohar and Gila Almagor. She also pursued a modeling career in Israel for several years and in 1964 was the first Israeli model to appear on the cover of the British edition of "Vogue" magazine.

Following her marriage to a French businessman, she moved to France and began an acting career in French and German films, and gradually also broke into Hollywood. In 1962, director Vincente Millenni cast her with Kirk Douglas in "Two Weeks in Another Town," a melodrama shot in Italy. Three years later, she was chosen for the role of leading actress in Richard Brooks' "Lord Jim" opposite Peter O'Toole.

Movie trailer for "Two Weeks in Another Town"

She starred with Dean Martin in 1966 in "The Silencers," a parody of James Bond movies and a box-office hit. A year later, she was cast for another James Bond parody, "Casino Royale," with David Niven, Peter Sellers and Ursula Andress.

Her last appearance on the silver screen came in 1971, in the comic Western "Catlow," with Yul Brynner and a young Leonard Nimoy.

Movie trailer for "Casino Royale"

A new chapter in her life came in the late 1960s, when she began a singing career after a guest appearance on a British television show with Israeli actor Chaim Topol on which she sang several Israeli songs. She then signed a recording contract in Germany and began recording in a number of languages including German, English, French and Hebrew. Several of her songs became hits.

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