Born Marlies Moitzi in Austria on February 24, 1939, gorgeous Marisa Mell was raised by her schoolteacher mother in her hometown of Graz. By the time that Mell completed her schooling, she harbored a desire to act and left Graz to study acting in Vienna. Her beauty and natural talent gave her plenty of stage presence, and upon finishing acting school she left Austria for Germany, where she was cast in films, usually in small roles, beginning in the late 1950s. Around this time, Mell married her first husband, but the union didn't last long. As her career began to escalate, Mell suffered severe head and facial injuries in a 1963 auto accident in France and had to undergo a series of plastic surgery procedures before returning to films. Examining her close-ups in such film as Diabolik (1968) reveals a scar on her upper lip, seemingly the only visible evidence of the accident.

Marisa Mell

Mid 1960s photo of Marisa Mell

Following her recovery, Mell headed for Britain, where she starred in Ken Russell's French Dressing (1964) and Masquerade (1965; with Cliff Robertson and Charles Gray) before going to Italy to star in numerous films. Mell's beauty and flair for comedy helped bring her career into full swing by the latter half of the 1960s, when she starred in such international hits as Anyone Can Play (1968; with Ursula Andress and Brett Halsey) and Diabolik (1968; with John Phillip Law). The 1970s were also good to Mell, as she appeared in such films as Mahogany (1975; with Diana Ross and Anthony Perkins) and Some Like It Cool (1977; with Tony Curtis and Sylva Koscina). As Mell got older, femme fatale roles were no longer offered to her, and her film career stalled.

the films of marisa mell

The Last Ride to Santa Cruz (1964)

Klaus Kinski, Mario Adorf, and Marisa Mell

From the German western The Last Ride to Santa Cruz with Klaus Kinski and Mario Adorf

Masquerade (1965)

Marisa MellMarisa Mell and Cliff Robertson

From the United Artists comedy adventure Masquerade. LEFT: Mell as Sophie. RIGHT: With Cliff Robertson

Casanova '70 (1965)

Marisa Mell

As Thelma in the sex comedy Casanova '70

City of Fear (1965)

Marisa Mell and Terry Moore

With Terry Moore in the Cold War drama City of Fear

Objective 500 Million (1966)

Marisa Mell

From the crime drama Objective 500 Million

Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966)

Marisa MellRay Danton and Marisa Mell

LEFT: Mell as Charity Farrel in the Italian spy thriller Secret Agent Super Dragon. This film once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000. RIGHT: With Ray Danton in the title role

Danger: Diabolik (1968)

Marisa MellJohn Phillip Law and Marisa MellJohn Phillip Law and Marisa MellJohn Phillip Law and Marisa MellJohn Phillip Law and Marisa Mell

From the Dino de Laurentiis production Danger: Diabolik, directed by Mario Bava. LEFT: Mell as Diabolik's beautiful lover and accomplice in crime, Eva Kant. CENTER and RIGHT: Mell with John Phillip Law as the comic book antihero Diabolik. This film also aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000 as the final episode of the series

Anyone Can Play (1968)

Claudine Auger, Virna Lisi, Ursula Andress, and Marisa MellClaudine Auger and Marisa MellMarisa Mell

From the saucy Italian comedy Anyone Can Play. LEFT: With Claudine Auger, Virna Lisi, and Ursula Andress. CENTER: With Claudine Auger. RIGHT: Mell as Paola

One on Top of the Other (1969)

Marisa Mell

Mexican lobby card from the crime drama One on Top of the Other, a film in which Marisa Mell plays another femme fatale

Bella, ricca, lieve difetto fisico cerca anima gemella (1973)

Marisa MellMarisa Mell

As Paola in the Italian comedy Bella, ricca, lieve difetto fisico cerca anima gemella

Mahogany (1975)

Marisa Mell

As Carlotta Gavina in the Diana Ross vehicle Mahogany

later years

In the 1980s, Marisa Mell found fewer good roles in films and her career ground to a halt in the mid 1980s. In the 1960s and 1970s, she had often played the femme fatale and was typecast as such. Her film output in the 1980s dwindled, as did the size of her roles. She retreated to Austria, where she found stage work and acted in her final film, the Austrian comedy I Love Vienna (1991). Sadly, Marisa Mell fell ill with throat cancer in the early 1990s and died on May 16, 1992, at the age of 53. She left no immediate survivors. Married and divorced twice, Mell gave birth to a daughter in late 1977, but the infant passed away hours later.

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I Love Vienna (1991)
Ator III: The Hobgoblin (1990) with Eric Allan Kramer
Sensazioni d'amore (1990)
Death Threat (1984) with Elke Sommer
Soap Bubbles (1984) with Eddie Constantine
Corpi nudi (1983)
La Dottoressa preferisce i marinai (1981) with Gordon Mitchell and Raf Baldassarre
La Compagna di viaggio (1980)
Under Siege (1980) with Stuart Whitman
Peccati a Venezia (1980)
La Liceale al mare con l'amica di papa (1980)
Satan's Wife (1979) with John Phillip Law, Anne Heywood, and Irene Papas
Obscene Desire (1978)
Beast with a Gun (1977) with Helmut Berger and Richard Harrison
Some Like It Cool (1977) with Tony Curtis, Marisa Berenson, Sylva Koscina, and Britt Ekland
Happy Birthday, Harry (1976) with John Richardson, Terry-Thomas, and Gordon Mitchell
Taxista de senoras (1976)
Born Winner (1976) with Joe Dallesandro
Amori, letti e tradimenti (1975)
Mahogany (1975) with Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Perkins, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Nina Foch, and Bruce Vilanch
Parapsycho - Spektrum der Angst (1975) with Leon Askin
Diary of an Erotic Murderess (1975) with Richard Conte
Death Will Have Your Eyes (1974) with Farley Granger and Helga Line
Bella, ricca, lieve difetto fisico cerca anima gemella (1973) with Erika Blanc
Violent Blood Bath (1973) with Fernando Rey
Gang War in Milan (1973) with Antonio Sabato and Philippe Leroy
Miss Dynamite (1972) with Antonio Sabato and Lionel Stander
Magic Graz (1972)
Alta tension (1972) with Helga Line
Seven Blood Stained Orchids (1972) with Antonio Sabato
Humpty Dumpty Gang (1972) with Giuliano Gemma
The Great Swindle (1971) with Stephen Boyd, Fernando Rey, and Sylva Koscina
Marta (1971) with Stephen Boyd, Isa Miranda, and Howard Ross
Senza via d'uscita (1970)
Versatile Lovers (1969) with Alberto Dalbes
Perversion Story (1969) with Jean Sorel, Elsa Martinelli, John Ireland, and Faith Domergue
Stuntman (1968) with Gina Lollobrigida
Danger: Diabolik (1968) with John Phillip Law and Adolfo Celi
Anyone Can Play (1968) with Ursula Andress, Virna Lisi, Claudine Auger, and Brett Halsey
Objective 500 Million (1966)
Che notte, ragazzi! (1966)
Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966) with Ray Danton, Margaret Lee, and Jess Hahn
Train d'enfer (1965)
City of Fear (1965) with Terry Moore
The Diamond Walkers (1965)
Casanova '70 (1965) with Marcello Mastroianni, Virna Lisi, Michele Mercier, and Margaret Lee
Masquerade (1965) with Cliff Robertson and Charles Gray
French Dressing (1964)
The Last Ride to Santa Cruz (1964) with Edmund Purdom, Marianne Koch, and Klaus Kinski
A Man at the Best Age (1964)
Venusberg (1963)
Doctor (1962)
The Secret of the Red Orchid (1962) with Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski
Ruf der Wildganse (1961)
Ordered to Love (1961)
Twenty Brave Men (1960)
Wegen Verfuhrung Minderjahriger (1960)
Sinners (1960)

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Watch the trailer for Marisa Mell's 1974 thriller Death Will Have Your Eyes

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