ROME – Italian actress Virna Lisi who played memorable roles in European and Hollywood films including 1965 comedy classic How To Murder Your Wife, with Jack Lemmon, in which she famously pops out of wedding cake wearing a bikini, and also a masterfully maleficent queen in Patrice Chereau’s La Reine Margot, died in Rome on Thursday. She was 78.
Lisi had been recently diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer, according to Italian press reports.
Born in Ancona 1936 as Virna Pieralisi, she began her film career as a teenager in 1953, initially thanks to her stunning looks. Her increasingly important parts in Italian postwar pics include 1963 crimer Il Delitto Dupre, with Alain Delon, and Mario Monicelli’s 1965 Italo comedy classic Casanova ’70, in which she co-starred with Marcello Mastroianni.
In 1965 Lisi was put under contract by Paramount. She debuted in Hollywood as a blue-eyed temptress opposite Jack Lemmon in Richard Quine’s How To Murder Your Wife, followed by Not With My Wife, You Don’t with Tony Curtis, in 1966, directed by Norman Panama, and Assault on a Queen with Frank Sinatra, also in 1966, directed by Jack Donohue.
Tired of being relegated to playing “dumb blonde” roles, Lisi in the late ’60’s broke her seven-year Paramount contract, after paying a costly penalty fee and reportedly turning down the lead role in Roger Vadim’s Barbarella, which went to Jane Fonda.
Back in Europe, Lisi struggled to find roles appropriate to her stature. But one came along in 1994 with her performance as the witchy queen Caterina de’ Medici in La Reine Margot, which won her the Prix Du Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and also a Cesar, France’s top film nod. She was honored with a career Italian Golden Globe in 2004 and also received numerous other Italian nods.
More recently, Lisi’s career mostly involved Italian TV series with the notable exceptions of Cristina Comencini’s ensemble drama “The Best Day Of My Life.” Lisi’s last film performance, after a twelve year hiatus, is in Cristina Comencini’s upcoming comedy “Latin Lover,” now in post.
Lisi is survived by a son, Corrado, and three grandchildren, Franco, Federico, and Riccardo.
burgundy wine and old lovers’s letters, masquerades in foggy Venice, a tryst on Parisian rooftops, Ziegfeld girls and Broadway lights, blue Moroccan streets and the abundance of hypnotizing spices, curtains blowing in the wind, photographers’s darkrooms, and Italian 60’s fashion
Marcello Mastroianni and Raquel Welch enjoyed an afternoon filled with music and dance while participating in 1966’s “Shoot Loud, Louder… I Don’t Understand (Spara forte, più forte, non capisco…)” at Cinecitta.
I'm laughing so hard about people thinking the Portuguese song is some kinda masterpiece. It really isn't. People seem to think that just because a song is slow and old-fashioned that it automatically means it's better than modern music. But the song itself is pretty generic musically. It sounds like someone just stuck together a bunch of the old Eurovision ballads from the 60's. Italy, Belgium, Moldova, Armenia, Belarus, Norway, Hungary and some others all had more interesting/unique songs.
^^^^^^^^^ thank you THANK YOU THANK YOU I mean it wasn’t bad per se but come on