Lisa Ray

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For the American actress and fashion designer known professionally as LisaRaye, see LisaRaye McCoy.
Lisa Ray
Ray at the launch of TLC Oh My Gold in 2011
Born Lisa Rani Ray
(1972-04-04) 4 April 1972 (age 44)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada[1][2]
Residence Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Actress, model
Years active 2001—present
Spouse(s) Jason Dehni (m. 2012)

Lisa Rani Ray (born 4 April 1972)[1] is a Canadian actress, model, television host, philanthropist and social activist. In 2005 she appeared in the Canadian film Water, which premièred at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2008 she starred alongside Sheetal Sheth in the romance films I Can't Think Straight and The World Unseen.

Ray made her Indian cinematic debut in 1994 with the Tamil film Nethaji, alongside Sarath Kumar, in which she appeared in a brief role. In 2001 she appeared in the Bollywood film Kasoor alongside Aftab Shivdasani. In 2002 she acted in the Telugu film Takkari Donga, alongside Mahesh Babu. On 16 November 2010, TLC India announced that it would film a new 5-part series, Oh My Gold, with Ray. It premiered in 2011. The series Oh My Gold was set against the cultural-yet-contemporary backdrop of India. Uncovering the beauty of various cities, Ray played both a host and a travel guide. In 2016, Ray appeared in Ram Gopal Varma's biographical Veerappan.[3]

Early life[edit]

Ray was born in Toronto to a Bengali father and a Polish mother and grew up in the suburb of Etobicoke.[2] She spent some time of her childhood at Shyambazar (Kolkata) in the Indian state of West Bengal.[4] She excelled academically, doing five years of high school in four, while attending three different high schools: Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, Richview Collegiate Institute, and Silverthorn Collegiate Institute.[5]

She spoke Polish to her maternal grandmother and watched movies of Federico Fellini and Satyajit Ray with her cinephile dad.[2]



Ray came to public attention when she appeared in an advertisement for Bombay Dyeing wearing a high-cut black swimsuit in the 1990s,[6][7][8] opposite Karan Kapoor.[9] Subsequently, she returned to Canada to attend university to study journalism, but a car accident that injured her mother derailed those plans. Instead, she returned to India, where she appeared on the cover of Glad Rags wearing a red Baywatch-style swimsuit. The sensation that caused led to more magazine covers, spokesperson deals, and a job as host of her own show-business program. A Times of India poll named her the "ninth most beautiful woman of the millennium," the only model in the top ten.[5] She also anchored the TV show Star Biz on Star Movies, with actor/model Kelly Dorji.Lisa also appeared a music video for the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Aafreen Aafreen, and then took an assignment to anchor a TV show.


Lisa Ray being interviewed on The Hour.

After turning down a number of roles,[10] Ray made her Indian Film Industry debut in 2001 with the Hindi film Kasoor, opposite Aftab Shivdasani,[9] in which her voice was dubbed by Divya Dutta, because she could not speak Hindi.[11] Interestingly, actress Divya Dutta also starred in the same film, but because she had already given her voice to Lisa Ray, Dutta's voice was dubbed by another artist—just to make her own character believable. Her work in that film caught the eye of Deepa Mehta, who cast Ray in the romantic Indian-Canadian romp Bollywood/Hollywood, in 2002.[2]

Realizing that acting was something that she wanted to pursue more seriously, Ray moved to London to concentrate on a career in the performing arts. While there, Ray studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, The London Centre for Theatre Studies, The Desmond Jones school of Physical Theatre, and BADA. She graduated from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA), in 2004, with a post-graduate degree in acting.[12]

While studying, Ray made a conscious effort to not accept any film offers until she had graduated. However, while still at ALRA, she received another call from Deepa Mehta, who made her an offer she simply could not refuse—the lead role of Kalyani in Mehta's highly controversial and much-anticipated feature Water.[12]

In 2005, Ray worked again with Mehta, in the Oscar-nominated film Water, in which she spoke her lines in Hindi, although her voice was dubbed in the final cut.[11] Since then, Ray has worked in productions from Canada, Europe, and the United States. Past roles include a farm girl in All Hat, a school teacher in A Stone's Throw, a housewife in 1950s-apartheid South Africa in The World Unseen, and an Arab lesbian in the humorously titled I Can't Think Straight, directed by Shamim Sarif. "I think every film that I’ve done so far has been a turning point because I experimented with each one and grew professionally. The movies I chose, dealt with a lot of thought-provoking subjects."[13]

After graduation, Ray based herself out of Milan, Paris, and New York from 2004–2008, returning to Toronto when her mother died in late 2008.[12]

In 2007, Ray completed filming for Kill Kill Faster Faster, which is a contemporary film noir inspired by the critically acclaimed novel of the same name, by Joel Rose. She appeared in a few uninhibited sex scenes, "something unheard of for an artist from India."[14]

Ray guest-starred in the USA Network series Psych, directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, which aired on 30 November 2009. She also appeared in a guest role of a reporter, Dominique Ball, in the recent Woody Harrelson movie Defendor.

Ray attended the Toronto International Film Festival in support of her work in Cooking with Stella. At this event, Ray revealed that she had incurable cancer, and she shared the diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma with the media and the public. At the same time, Ray started an acclaimed blog, The Yellow Diaries, chronicling her cancer experience.

"I believe it can be cured," Ray wrote on her blog. "That's the Dirty Realist in me... I'm getting better. My prognosis, given my 'junior' status and stage of disease, is very good. I'm aiming for full remission."

Ray went on to help raise funds for the establishment of the first research chair for Multiple Myeloma at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Also, she took part in Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl campaign, a global movement that fights for the rights of girls around the world who face discrimination because of their gender and age.

On Christmas in 2009, Ray received a stem cell transplant to treat her rare cancer.


In April 2010, Ray announced that she was cancer-free, after a stem cell transplant. Ray gave a candid interview on her personal cancer trauma and surviving it, appearing on the cover of the 2010 anniversary issue of the Indian men's luxury magazine The Man.

Ray was seen in UniGlobe Entertainment's cancer docu-drama titled 1 a Minute, scheduled for release in 2010.[15] The documentary was made by Namrata Singh Gujral and featured cancer survivors Olivia Newton-John, Diahann Carroll, Melissa Etheridge, Mumtaz, and Jaclyn Smith, as well as William Baldwin, Daniel Baldwin, and Priya Dutt, whose lives have been touched by cancer. The feature was narrated by Kelly McGillis. It also starred Bárbara Mori, Deepak Chopra, and Morgan Brittany.

Ray has since become an outspoken advocate for stem cell technology, recording a PSA for the McEwan Centre for Regenerative Medicine. Also, she completed a national media tour in Canada for Multiple Myeloma called Making Myeloma Matter, in early 2011, to raise public awareness.

In 2011, Ray acted in the acclaimed stage play Taj, opposite Kabir Bedi in Luminato.[16] Also, Ray was at the Taj Mahal and the Estee Lauder Breast Cancer event to spread awareness about breast cancer.

On 5 July 2010, Ray was honored to be a host of the informal lunch for Queen Elizabeth's visit to Toronto.[17] Ray also hosted the 2011 International Indian Film Academy IIFA Rocks fashion and music event and was a presenter at the IIFA Awards and the 2011 Giller Prize.

A strong advocate of stem cell research and a long-time yoga practitioner, Ray partnered with co-owners Paris and Annette, in 2011, to open Moksha Yoga Brampton.[18]

On 15 November 2011, Ray announced that she had been named to host season two of Top Chef Canada,[19] which is Food Network Canada's top-rated series. The show premiered in March 2012.

Ray had one TV series Endgame and one film Patch Town released in 2011. Also, Ray guest-starred in the Canadian-television drama series Murdoch Mysteries, which aired on 12 April 2011.

On 18 May 2012, Craig Goodwill announced that Ray would star in his Boy Toy,[20] a fantasy drama that is based on Goodwill’s short film Patch Town. Boy Toy begins shooting in Toronto in November 2012.

In September 2012, Ray was named ambassador for the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign in Canada.[21] Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a charity campaign that asks people to grow and donate their hair to make real-hair wigs for women battling cancer.

In 2015, Insight Vacations announced Ray as their new Global Brand Ambassador for the Exotics and Gold Collections.[22]

Personal life[edit]

On 23 June 2009, Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells known as plasma cells, which produce antibodies. It is a rare disease.[11][23] In April 2010, she announced that she was cancer-free, after a stem cell transplant.[24] As multiple myeloma is an incurable disease, Ray is not completely cured of the disease.[25] In February 2012, Ray announced her engagement to management consultant Jason Dehni.[26] On 20 October 2012, Ray and Dehni (then a banking executive and philanthropist) were married in the Napa Valley, in California.[27][28]

In an interview with Times of India, Ray has said that most of her diet consists of juices, smoothies, and other vegetarian food. She has also cut down on dairy intake.[29]

Humanitarian work[edit]

In 2009, Ray publicly announced about her diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma at the Toronto International Film Festival. Since then she has been involved in bringing the attention of the people towards the rights of girls around the world. She has initiated a number of fundraisers and campaigns for Multiple Myeloma such as the "Because I'm a Girl" campaign. In February 2010, she underwent a stem cell transplant that helped cure her cancer.

After her recovery, Ray launched "Make Myeloma Matter" media campaign, which helped raise awareness about the disease world-wide. She also actively advocated the stem cell technology and its benefits. In the same year she became the face of Hillberg & Berk Jewellery, a part of the proceeds of which went to Multiple Myeloma Canada.[30]

Raising Funds with Satya Paul[edit]

In 2012, Ray initiated an effort to fund the Indian Innovation Research Centre (IIRC). The IIRC is a non-profit cancer research body that began with the 'Living With Cancer' program that was initiated by Ray the same year.[31] Their mandate is to promote convergence of fundamental as well as translational cancer in India, it had also played an instrumental role in helping Lisa fight Multiple Myeloma and overcome a trying phase of her life.[32] She partnered with Satya Paul to create a range of exclusive sarees for the wedding season. These sarees (that were worn by Lisa) were then auctioned online with 100% of the proceeds going to IIRC for the development of their cancer research.[33]

The Run 5K Walk[edit]

After being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, Ray launched The Princess Margret Run 5k Walk, an initiative to raise funds for MM patients. Multiple Myeloma although treatable has no cure, the walk was an event with a purpose to fund research at Bloom Share for Multiple Myeloma Research at the Princess Margret Hospital. The research would help develop drugs that could help MM patients stabilize their condition till the cure can be developed. The walk was a success pooling in money from across the county to help the cause.[34]


In 2015, Ray partnered with Canadian Health and Wellness brand Greeniche, a natural healthcare product brand with pure vegetarian formulas, managed by healthcare professionals.[35] At the launch of the brand she commented "I'm honored to launch into a special role as wellness guru for Greeniche Naturals. As a cancer survivor, I have healed myself through nutrition, healthy choices and wellness techniques and now I can support others in living their life to the fullest by sharing tips online and through special videos. Hopefully these will help fuel your Passion for life."[36]

Beauty Gives Back[edit]

Ray joined the Beauty Gives Back campaign, which launched in Canada in 2015. The campaign addresses the cancer blues- the emotional fallout from cancer and its treatment. While launching the campaign Ray commented, "The beauty gives back campaign helps and motivates women to overcome the shackles of cancer and the process of its treatment. It seeks to give them their lost confidence back so that they continue their fight against the deadly disease with a new belief and dignity. It was an absolute honor to be the part of such a worthy cause which works towards giving face value to the emotional fallout from cancer."[37]


  • Voted Star of the Future at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival,[38]
  • Top Ten most Beautiful Indian Woman of the Millenium by the Times of India
  • Won the Best Actress in a Canadian film for Water by the Vancouver Critics Circle[39]
  • Won 'Voice Achievers Award for 2009' for outstanding contribution in fields of film, trade, literature and sports[40]
  • Named one of Canada's 50 Most Beautiful Stars in Hello Canada's May 2009 issue.[41]
  • Honored with Fortis Lisa Ray Award for Conquering Cancer in 2010[42]
  • Honored with a Special Achievement Award at Miss India-Canada 2011[43]
  • Named one of Canada's 50 Most Beautiful Stars in Hello Canada's May 2012 issue.[44]
  • Honored with People's Choice Award at the 'Light of India' Awards 2012 in Arts & Entertainment section.[45]
  • Named one of Canada's 50 Most Beautiful Stars in Hello Canada's 2013 issue.[46]
  • Honored with the prestigious 'Diamond Jubilee Medal' in May 2013.[47]
  • Awarded the 'Facing Cancer Together' Look Good, Feel Better award in September 2012[48]
  • Won Anokhi Prestige award in 2013 in the category of Canadian Actor of the Decade for movie Water.[49]
  • Awarded prestigious 2014 Women of Action Honoree by Israel Cancer Research Fund.[50]
  • Awarded Medscape award for Most Inspirational Fighter of India 2015[51]


  • 2009 : 5K Your Way Walk/Run, MMWalk for the Cure
  • 2009 : Plan Canada’s ‘Because I Am A Girl’ campaign[52]
  • 2010 : Plan Canada’s ‘Because I Am A Girl’ campaign[52]
  • 2010 : "1 a Minute", to inspire women and give them hope
  • 2010 : Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Awareness[53]
  • 2011 : ‘Make Myeloma Matter’ media campaign[54]
  • 2011 : Artbound, in support of Free The Children
  • 2011 : GIRL 20 SUMMIT
  • 2012 : BE FAIR 2 RARE[55]
  • 2012 : Wellspring Cancer 'Graduate' Fashion show
  • 2012 : “Rhythm and Soul”-THE SPARK GALA 2012, to Ignite A Child's Potential[56]
  • 2012 : Run or Walk, MM5K[57]
  • 2012 : Plan Canada’s ‘Because I Am A Girl’ campaign[52]
  • 2012 : Ambassador for Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign in Canada[21]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Hanste Khelte Rekha Hindi film
1996 Aafreen Aafreen Music Video
1996 Nethaji Priya Tamil film
1998 Jalwa Music Video
2001 Kasoor Simran Bhargav Hindi film
2002 Choron Ka Chor
2002 Takkari Donga Bhuvana Telugu film
2002 Bollywood/Hollywood Sunita "Sue" Singh
2004 Ball & Chain Saima
2004 Yuvaraja Lovely Kannada film
2005 Water Kalyani
2005 Seeking Fear Nina Atwal
2006 Flowerman, TheThe Flowerman Louise Short film
2006 Quarter Life Crisis Angel Matthews
2006 Stone's Throw, AA Stone's Throw Lia
2007 All Hat Etta Parr
2007 World Unseen, TheThe World Unseen Miriam
2008 Kill Kill Faster Faster Fleur
2008 I Can't Think Straight Tala
2008 Toronto Stories Beth
2009 Defendor Dominique Ball
2009 Cooking with Stella Maya Chopra
2009 Somnolence
2010 Let the Game Begin Eva Stout
2010 Trader Games Sarah
2011 Patch Town Bethany Franks Short film
2016 Ishq Forever Naina Hindi film
2016 Veerappan Hindi film
???? Zahhak Liza Merchant Hindi film; filming


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Blood Ties Elena "Stone Cold"
2008 Summit, TheThe Summit Rebecca Downy TV miniseries
2009 Psych Sita "Bollywood Homicide"
2011 Murdoch Mysteries Mirela "The Black Hand"
2011 Endgame Rosemary Venturi Regular role


  • Brand ambassador of Rado (watches) in India
  • Lisa named Ambassador for 'Pantene Beautiful Lengths' Campaign

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lisa Ray Profile". Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Rachel Giese (October 2007). "The thoroughly Canadian charm of Lisa Ray". 
  3. ^ Bollywood Hungama. "Lisa Ray to star in Ram Gopal Varma's Veerappan". Bollywood Hungama. 
  4. ^ "Lisa Ray: Kolkata takes me on nostalgia lane". The Times of India. PTI. 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  5. ^ a b Liam Lacey (12 September 2002). "Just a pinch of spice". Globe and Mail. Canada. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Veenu Singh (23 November 2015). "We are put here to live and love fiercely, says Lisa Ray". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  7. ^ Ashwini Deshmukh (28 March 2009). "Lisa Ray 'bares it all '". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Sujata Assomull (14 November 1998). "My Den – Lisa Ray". Indian Express Newspapers. Retrieved 18 November 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Anand Sankar (30 July 2005). "A ray of hope for her". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 18 November 2008. 
  10. ^ Liz Braun (7 November 2008). "Lisa Ray shines in the spotlight". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 18 November 2008. 
  11. ^ a b c P. Karthik (20 February 2008). "I'm loving it: Lisa Ray". Times of India. Retrieved 18 November 2008. 
  12. ^ a b c "Lisa Ray". 
  13. ^ "The pursuit of happiness". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 15 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Lisa Ray Dares To Bare Like Never Before". Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "Mcg – Indian Star Rallies Celebrity Support For Cancer Movie". 8 October 2009. 
  16. ^ "Taj: more than a love story". CBC News. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  17. ^ "Lisa Ray turns host for Queen Elizabeth". 6 July 2010. 
  18. ^ "Lisa Ray: My perfect Saturday". 14 April 2011. 
  19. ^ "Television: Top Chef Canada's New Host". Shaw Media Inc. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Cannes 2012: Julian Richings, Lisa Ray to Star in 'Boy Toy'". Etan Vlessing. 18 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012. 
  21. ^ a b "Beautiful Lengths ambassador Lisa Ray". 
  22. ^ "Lisa Ray named Insight Vacations' first global ambassador". Indian Express. 12 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Denise Balkissoon (August 2006). "24 Hours with Lisa Ray". Toronto Life. 
  24. ^ Jill Sarjent (22 April 2010). "Actress Lisa Ray says she's cancer free". Toronto Star. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  25. ^ Kathakali Banerjee (16 June 2013). "My hubby's my secret weapon: Lisa Ray". The Times of India. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  26. ^ IANS (1 February 2012). "Actress Lisa Ray got engaged to banker Jason Dehni". Ibnlive. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  27. ^ "Lisa Ray to marry lover Jason Dehni in October". 3 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "Lisa Ray gets married!". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  29. ^ "Lisa Ray: Marriage hasn't slowed me down". Times of India. 2 November 2014. 
  30. ^ "Actress, Writer, Multiple Myeloma Activist & Host 'Top Chef Canada'". National Speakers Bureau. 
  31. ^ "Party People: Satya Paul & Lisa Ray Launch Limited Edition Saris". Luxpresso. 31 December 2012. 
  32. ^ "Lisa Ray Tells Her Story One Sari At a Time". Masala Mommas. 27 May 2013. 
  33. ^ "Exclusive Celebrity Blog: Lisa Ray for Satya Paul, Phoenix Rising". Miss Malini. 15 December 2012. 
  34. ^ "Lisa Ray Multiple Myeloma 5K Walk PSA". YouTube. 19 December 2012. 
  35. ^ "Lisa Ray turns 'Wellness Guru'". Mid-day. 15 April 2015. 
  36. ^ "Lisa Ray turns 'Wellness Guru'". Indian Express. 14 April 2015. 
  37. ^ "Beauty Gives Back Campaign by Lisa Ray". What she likes. 4 February 2015. 
  38. ^ Constance Droganes (10 September 2007). "Canadian actress Lisa Ray goes a little bit country in 'All Hat'". CTV News. Retrieved 18 November 2008. 
  39. ^, Glow magazine, December 2007
  40. ^ "Seven Indo-Canadian including Lisa Ray honoured". The Economic Times. India. 29 Nov 2009. 
  41. ^ "Lisa Ray Amongst 50 Most Beautiful People". 21 May 2009. 
  42. ^ "The Fortis Lisa Ray Spirit of Life Award". 24 Sep 2010. 
  43. ^ "Lisa Ray To Be Honored At Miss India-Canada 2011". 17 July 2011. 
  44. ^ "Lisa Ray – Named One of Canada's Most Beautiful – Here's her Red Carpet Look Wearing Vasanti". 11 May 2012. 
  45. ^ "Light of India: 2nd Annual Awards Ceremony". 3 June 2012. 
  46. ^ "Third times the charm: 'Lisa named one named one of Canada's 50 most beautiful in Hello Canada'". 
  47. ^ "Honored with the prestigious 'Diamond Jubilee Medal'". 21 May 2013. 
  48. ^ "Meet Lisa Ray". Simply Life India. 
  49. ^ "Winners at Anokhi's 10th anniversary prestige awards". Zaynahr. 2 February 2013. 
  50. ^ "ICRF event honours four Women of Action". CJ News. 25 April 2014. 
  51. ^ "Lisa Ray selected for 'Inspirational Fighter Spirit Of India' Medscape India Awards 2015". Bollywood Hungama. 20 October 2015. 
  52. ^ a b c "Because I am a Girl,Our Celebrated Ambassadors, Lisa Ray". 
  53. ^ "Lisa Ray Taj Mahal and Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Event/". 
  54. ^ "Make Myeloma Matter (PSA)". 1 April 2011. 
  55. ^ "Lisa Ray supports Be Fair 2 Rare". 28 Feb 2011. 
  56. ^ "Honourees Lisa/". 
  57. ^ "Run or Walk - 2012". 

External links[edit]