Daliah Lavi

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Daliah Lavi
Daliah Lavi (1966).jpg
Lavi in 1966
Daliah Lewinbuk (or Levenbuch)

(1942-10-12)12 October 1942
Died3 May 2017(2017-05-03) (aged 74)
OccupationActress, singer, model
Years active1955–1994 and 2008–2009
Spouse4; last marriage to
Charles Gans
(m. 1977)
WebsiteOfficial website

Daliah Lavi (born Daliah Lewinbuk or Levenbuch, Hebrew: דליה לביא [ˌdalja laˈvi]; 12 October 1942 – 3 May 2017) was an Israeli actress, singer, and model.


Daliah Lewinbuk (or Levenbuch) was born in Shavei Tzion, British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel), the daughter of Ruth and Reuben Lewinbuk (or Levenbuch), who were of German-Jewish and Russian-Jewish descent, respectively.[1][2][3]

At age 10 she met Kirk Douglas, who was in Israel to film The Juggler, and told him she would like to be a dancer. Douglas helped persuade her parents[4] to send her to Stockholm, Sweden to study ballet.[2] Not suited to the climate, she would give up dancing and return to Israel to model. She performed her national service as a goodwill ambassador and appeared in several more films until on a trip to Rome she was spotted on a beach and offered a role in Two Weeks in Another Town, reuniting her with Douglas.[1]


Lavi in Il demonio, 1963

In 1955 Lavi appeared in her first film, Hemsöborna [sv],[2] a Swedish adaptation of August Strindberg's 1887 novel The People of Hemsö.[4] Returning to Israel, her career took off in 1960 when she started appearing in a large number of European and American productions. Fluent in several languages, she acted in films in German, French, Italian, Spanish and English.[2] Lavi was reunited with Douglas in her first American film, Vincente Minnelli's Two Weeks in Another Town (1962).[4]

Lavi in Leipzig, Germany in 2009

She appeared in Brunello Rondi's witch hunt-themed movie Il demonio (1963), a film she considered her best performance.[5] She also appeared in Mario Bava's Gothic classic La Frusta e il corpo (1963), and the first Matt Helm film, The Silencers (1966), opposite Dean Martin.[2] Her portrayal of The Girl, Peter O'Toole's love interest, in 1965's Lord Jim was to have been her breakout American role. But audiences' tepid reaction to the film prompted Lavi to accept a new career path, frequently playing a scantily clad femme fatale.[4]

Lavi played European entertainer Ilona Bergen in the 1965 mystery film Ten Little Indians, a film adaptation of Agatha Christie's thriller about a group of strangers with deadly secrets who are lured to an isolated locale and murdered one by one. She also acted as "The Detainer/007" in Casino Royale (1967).[2][6]

She was subsequently discovered by record producer Jimmy Bowien and began[when?] a successful schlager singing career in Germany, with hits such as "Oh, wann kommst du?", "Willst du mit mir gehn?" and "C'est ça, la vie (So ist das Leben)".[2]

In August 1971, her single "Jerusalem" peaked at number 98 in Australia.[7]


Lavi died on 3 May 2017, aged 74, from undisclosed causes[8] in Asheville, North Carolina (USA).[8][2] Her funeral and burial were in Israel.[6]




  1. ^ a b Tim Lucas (2021). "The Kid from the Kibbutz": Daliah Lavi and the Road to IL DEMONIO (blu ray). Severin. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h McNary, Dave (3 May 2017). "'Casino Royale' Actress Daliah Lavi Dies at 74". Variety. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  3. ^ Bergan, Ronald (9 May 2017). "Daliah Lavi obituary" – via The Guardian.
  4. ^ a b c d Slotnik, Daniel E. (5 May 2017). "Daliah Lavi, Actress in Both Dramas and Spoofs, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  5. ^ Lucas, Tim (2012). "Daliah Lavi On Her Early Films". Video Watchdog (170). Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  6. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (4 May 2017). "Daliah Lavi, 'Casino Royale' and 'The Silencers' Star, Dies at 74". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 173. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ a b Evans, Greg (4 May 2017). "Daliah Lavi Dies: 'Casino Royale', 'The Silencers' Actress Was 74". Deadline. Retrieved 3 August 2017.

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