Daliah Lavi, 'Casino Royale' and 'The Silencers' Star, Dies at 74
After Kirk Douglas helped her get her start, she made the transition from European films and then became a German pop star.
Daliah Lavi, the exotic beauty who starred in the swinging 1960s spy spoofs Casino Royale and The Silencers, has died. She was 74.
Lavi died Wednesday at her home in Asheville, N.C., her family announced.
In The Silencers (1966), the first of the four Matt Helm movies that starred Dean Martin as the American superspy, Lavi played the femme-fatale Tina Batori; she saves the hero from getting a dagger in the back while he is in the embrace of a gorgeous female enemy agent.
The dark-haired, dark-eyed sex symbol then returned for another spy spoof, playing one of the "James Bonds," aka The Detainer, in Casino Royale (1967) opposite David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress and Woody Allen.
Her other work in the comic genre included The Spy With a Cold Nose (1966), starring Lawrence Harvey, and Some Girls Do (1969).
At her 10th birthday party, Lavi met Kirk Douglas, who was filming The Juggler in her town in what is now Israel, and arranged for her to study ballet. A decade later, they worked together in Vincente Minnelli's Two Weeks in Another Town (1962), and she received a Golden Globe for most promising newcomer (female) for her work.
Lavi (that's her stage name; it means "lioness" in Hebrew) had appeared in such European fare as The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961), The Demon (1963) and The Whip and the Body (1963) before attracting attention as The Girl in writer-director Richard Brooks' Lord Jim (1965), starring Peter O'Toole.
She played the pretentious actress Ilona Bergen in the Agatha Christie remake Ten Little Indians (1965) and also showed up rather nicely in Those Fantastic Flying Fools (1967), Nobody Runs Forever (1968), opposite Rod Taylor, and Catlow (1971), starring with Yul Brynner.
In the early 1970s, Lavi turned to singing and performed "Oh, wann kommst du?" (When Are You Coming?) and "Willst du mit mihr geh'n?" (Do You Want to Go With Me?), which became big pop hits in Germany. She reappeared as an actress on German television in the 1990s.
Fluent in five languages, Lavi lived in Asheville with her husband, Charles, since 1992.
Survivors also include her children Kathy, Rouben, Alexander and Stephen; grandchildren Sophie, Ben, Emma and Hannah and Levi; and sister Michal.
Her funeral and interment will take place in Israel, the family noted.