Born Daliah Levenbuch in Palestine on October 12, 1940 (some sources cite 1942 as her year of birth), actress Daliah Lavi's film career was almost entirely contained in the decade of the 1960s. As a child growing up in Israel, she was a promising ballet student. In 1952, she met Kirk Douglas, who was starring in a war film, The Juggler (1953; with John Banner) that was shot in her village. Douglas and other cast members were so impressed with Lavi they financed a trip for her to Sweden to further her dance studies. In 1956, she returned to Israel when her father passed away. By this time she had grown into a 5'9" beauty and dropped dance in favor of modeling and acting. After appearing in a few films in her native country, she went to Italy to model but soon became bored with the profession. Lavi left Italy for France and by 1960, she was in Germany acting in films including Blazing Sand (1960) and The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961; with Gert Fröbe and Lex Barker).

Daliah LaviDaliah Lavi

LEFT: Early 1960s photo of Daliah Lavi. RIGHT: Lavi embarked upon a recording career in the early 1970s

Lavi had a great deal of success in 1960s cinema, acting in such films as Ten Little Indians (1966; with Hugh O'Brian, Shirley Eaton, and Fabian), The Silencers (1966; with Dean Martin and Stella Stevens), and Casino Royale (1967; with Peter Sellers and Woody Allen). However, by the end of the decade, Lavi walked away from her acting career.

the films of daliah lavi

Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)

George Hamilton and Daliah LaviKirk Douglas and Daliah Lavi

LEFT: With love interest George Hamilton in the MGM drama Two Weeks in Another Town, shot in Rome. RIGHT: With Kirk Douglas

The Whip and the Body (1963)

Daliah Lavi

From director Mario Bava's horror romance The Whip and the Body

Lord Jim (1965)

Eli Wallach and Daliah LaviPeter O'Toole and Daliah LaviDaliah Lavi

From the Columbia adventure Lord Jim. LEFT: With Eli Wallach. CENTER: With Peter O'Toole. RIGHT: Lord Jim was the biggest picture of Lavi's acting career

The Silencers (1966)

Daliah Lavi and Stella Stevens

From Columbia's Matt Helm spy spoof The Silencers with Stella Stevens

The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966)

Daliah LaviDaliah Lavi

Lavi stars as Princess Natasha Romanova in the campy comedy The Spy with a Cold Nose

Casino Royale (1967)

Daliah Lavi and Woody AllenDaliah Lavi

LEFT: From the James Bond spoof Casino Royale with Woody Allen. RIGHT: Lavi as The Detainer

Those Fantastic Flying Fools, aka Rocket to the Moon (1967)

Troy Donahue and Daliah LaviTroy Donahue and Daliah LaviDaliah Lavi

LEFT and CENTER: With Troy Donahue in the Jules Verne inspired film Those Fantastic Flying Fools. RIGHT: Lavi as Madelaine

The High Commissioner (1968)

Rod Taylor, Christopher Plummer, and Daliah Lavi

With Rod Taylor and Christopher Plummer in the Rank Organisation thriller The High Commissioner

Some Girls Do (1969)

Sydne Rome, Daliah Lavi and Beba Loncar

With Synde Rome and Beba Loncar in the spy comedy Some Girls Do

Catlow (1971)

Yul Brynner and Daliah Lavi

With Yul Brynner in the MGM western comedy Catlow. This was Lavi's final theatrically released film

later years

By the late 1960s, Daliah Lavi grew discontented with her film career. Increasingly, she was asked to disrobe in films, which she refused to do. Abandoning her film career, she was encouraged by actor Topol to try a singing career. By the early 1970s, Lavi was one of the most popular singers in Germany and had some success on British charts as well. By 1975, she stepped out of the limelight completely to focus on her third marriage and motherhood in Miami, Florida. When her marriage collapsed, she quit performing entirely. She returned to singing in 2008 with a German album of songs which served as her swansong. Sadly, Daliah Lavi passed away at her Asheville, North Carolina home on May 3, 2017, at age 76. She is survived by her husband, Chuck, a daughter, three sons, a sister, and several grandchildren.

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Catlow (1971) with Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna, Leonard Nimoy, Jo Ann Pflug, and Jeff Corey
Some Girls Do (1969) with Richard Johnson and Robert Morley
The High Commissioner (1968) with Rod Taylor, Christopher Plummer, Lilli Palmer, Camilla Sparv, and Franchot Tone
Operation Kid Brother (1967) with Neil Connery, Adolfo Celi, Daniela Bianchi, Bernard Lee, and Lois Maxwell
Casino Royale (1967) with Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles, Joanna Pettet, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, and William Holden
Those Fantastic Flying Fools (1967) with Burl Ives, Troy Donahue, Gert Fröbe, Hermione Gingold, Lionel Jeffries, Dennis Price, and Terry-Thomas
The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966) with Laurence Harvey, Lionel Jeffries, Denholm Elliott, and June Whitfield
The Silencers (1966) with Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Victor Buono, James Gregory, Nancy Kovack, Roger C. Carmel, and Cyd Charisse
Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Indians' (1965) with Hugh O'Brian, Shirley Eaton, Fabian, and Dennis Price
Shots in 3/4 Time (1965) with Pierre Brice, Terence Hill, Anton Diffring, and Senta Berger
La Celestina P... R... (1965) with Franco Nero, Massimo Serato, and Marilù Tolo
Lord Jim (1965) with Peter O'Toole, James Mason, Curd Jurgens, and Eli Wallach
DM-Killer (1965) with Curd Jurgens
Cyrano et d'Artagnan (1965) with José Ferrer, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and Sylva Koscina
Apaches' Last Battle (1964) with Lex Barker, Pierre Brice, and Guy Madison
And So to Bed (1963) with Lilli Palmer, Hildegard Knef, and Peter van Eyck
The Whip and the Body (1963) with Christopher Lee and Tony Kendall; directed by Mario Bava
The Demon (1963)
Black-White-Red Four Poster (1962)
Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) with Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, George Hamilton, Claire Trevor, and James Gregory
The Game of Truth (1961)
The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961) with Gert Fröbe and Lex Barker
No Time for Ecstasy (1961) with Peter van Eyck
One Night at the Beach (1961)
Candide (1960) with Jean-Pierre Cassel
Blazing Sand (1960)
The People of Hemso (1955)

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