Israeli Spoof Bond Girl Dies At 74
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Daliah Lavi/Wikimedia commons

Daliah Lavi, who played both dramatic and comedic roles died in her home on Monday

She may have been known as the raven-haired, exotic beauty from the spoof Bond films, but Daliah Lavi, who died on Monday at 74 in her home in Asheville, N.C., had an extensive acting and singing career.

Lavi, who was born in Haifa, Israel first exercised her artistic muscles as a dancer when she was 12 after a chance encounter with Kirk Douglas, who helped convince her parents to send her to Stockholm, Sweden where she studied ballet. Four years later she returned to Israel and began to earn a living as a swimsuit model.

Not only a talented dancer and actress, Lavi was also fluent in several languages which paved the way for her to act in foreign films including Spanish, French, German, Italian and English.

Perhaps in a twist of fate, the Israeli actress was reunited with Douglas when she got a part in her first American film, “Two Weeks in Another Town.” Starring in other dramas like “The People of Hemso,” and then later getting her big break as Peter O’Toole’s love interest in “Lord Jim,” Lavi was discouraged by the poor reception of the film and shifted to taking on roles of slinky, femme fatales.

Appearing in the James Bond parody “Casino Royale,” in 1967 as ‘The Detainer/007,’ Lavi transitioned from the world of cerebral, literary adaptations and lurid thrillers to comedy. Though the movie received mixed reviews, she was in premier company — the cast included Orson Welles, Peter Sellers, Deborah Kerr, Ursula Andress and Woody Allen.

Her first name was often misspelled as “Dahlia,” but critics’ reviews were nonetheless praiseworthy. (She has been compared to Claudia Cardinale and Brigitte Bardot).

Following “Casino Royale,” Lavi became known for her singing, and she performed and recorded often in Germany, where she also acted on television.

Even though Lavi was recognized most for her acting and singing, according to the New York Times, she once told The Boston Globe that she wasn’t that wrapped up in her career as an actor, saying, “I’d rather be a dancer.

Lavi was survived by her husband Charles Gans and their three sons Alexander, Rouven and Stephen Gans. Her funeral will be held in Israel.

Dahlia Lavi

Dahlia Lavi death

Dahlia Lavi dead

Bond girl

Israeli Actress

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