- Virna Lisi
name = Virna Lisi
image_size = 102px
caption = Promotional shot for "
How to Murder Your Wife" (1965)
birthdate = Birth date and age|1937|10|8|mf=y
birthname = Virna Lisa Pieralisi
Ancona, Marches, Italy
yearsactive = 1953-2007
occupation = Actress
Virna Lisi was born in
Ancona, Marche, as Virna Lisa Pieralisi.
Virna Lisi began her film career in her teens. She was discovered by two Neapolitan producers (
Antonio Ferrignoand Ettore Pesce). Her debut was in " La corda d'acciaio" ("The line of steel", 1953). Initially, she did musical films, like in " E Napoli canta" ("Napoli sings", 1943) and the successful " Questa è la vita" ( 1954, with the popular Totò). Nonetheless, soon Virna Lisi became a figure whose beauty was more valued than her talent, like in " Le diciottenni" and " Lo scapolo" films of 1955. Still, she incarnated demanding roles, particularly in " La Donna del Giorno" (1956), "Eva" (1962), and the Italian-made spectacle "Romolo e Remo" (1961).
In the late 1950s, Lisi did theater at
Piccolo Teatro di Milano, in "I giacobini" by Federico Zardi, under the direction of Giorgio Strehler. During the 1960s, Virna Lisi did comedies and, also, she participated in dramatic television productions which were of the most viewed in Italy. Also in television Lisi was the figure who promoted a toothpastebrand, with a slogan which would become a catchphrase amongst the Italians: "con quella bocca può dire ciò che vuole" ("with such mouth, she can say whatever she wants").
In Hollywood, the producers were looking for a new figure of the
Marilyn Monroevibe and so Virna Lisi made a dent in Hollywood comedy as a tempting blue-eyed blonde starring opposite Jack Lemmonin " How to Murder Your Wife" (1965), and appearing with Tony Curtisin " Not with My Wife, You Don't!" (1966). Lisi starred with Frank Sinatra, in " Assault on a Queen" (1966). Also Lisi starred in films such as "La Ragazza e il Generale," co-starring with Rod Steiger, and two films with Anthony Quinn, " The Secret of Santa Vittoria", directed by Stanley Kramer, and the war drama "The 25th Hour". She also gained attention for a photo of her shaving her face that appeared on the March 1965 cover of Esquire magazine, a photo meant as a provocation of feminism.
In those years, with her not fluent English and lacking much success, Lisi alternated, working in European productions simultaneously. Lisi was unhappy being so confined to glamour roles by Hollywood so eventually she decided to return to Europe. When Lisi was cast for the title role in "Barbarella" (1968) she turned it down.
Career renaissance in Europe
Indeed, to overcome her typecast just of a seductive woman, Virna Lisi sought new types of roles, of evil women or of a lover in relationships of disparate age for example. In those years, Virna Lisi participated in Italian productions, in "
Casanova 70" and " Le bambole" (1965), "Arabella" (1967), and " Le dolci signore" (1968). Also Lisi starred some films of author, of which " The Birds, the Bees and the Italians" (1965) is an example.
In the early
1970s, Virna Lisi decided temporarily to attend her family, husband Franco Pesci and her son Corrado. Nonetheless, a career renaissance occurred soon for Virna with a large list of productions, including " Al di là del bene e del male" (1977), "Ernesto" (1979), and " La cicala" (1980). For the film "La Reine Margot" (1994), Lisi portrayed a malevolent Catherine de' Mediciand so she won both the "César" and Cannes Film Festivalawards, along with the David di Donatelloaward, the Italian equivalent of the "Oscar".
Particularly since the late
1990s, Virna Lisi did many successful dramatic productions of television. In 2002, Lisi starred her last film, " Il più bel giorno della mia vita".
2005, Virna Lisi's cover of the Esquire mag was imitated by Jessica Simpsonagain for the same publication. [ [http://dish.fancast.com/2008/04/news_jessica_simpson_poses_as.html "Jessica Simpson poses as Virna Lisi", at fancast.com] ]
rock band, "Virna Lisi", is named after her. The 1980s Argentinian band Sumo (led by Luca Prodan), made a song for her. The singer's brother is the actor Andrea Prodán, who appeared with her in the movie " I ragazzi di via Panisperna" (1988).
La corda d'acciaio" (1953)
E Napoli canta" (1953)
*"Le diciottenni" (1955)
Lo scapolo" (1955, uncredited)
La Donna del Giorno" (1956)
*"Romolo e Remo" (1961)
Signore & signori" (1965)
How to Murder Your Wife" (1965)
Le bambole" (1965)
Casanova 70" (1965)
Assault on a Queen" (1966)
Not with My Wife, You Don't!" (1966)
The 25th Hour" (1967)
*"La ragazza e il generale" (1967)
Le dolci signore" (1968)
The Secret of Santa Vittoria" (1969)
*"Al di là del bene e del male" 1977)
La cicala" (1980)
*"La Reine Margot" (1994)
Il più bel giorno della mia vita" (2002)
Il caso Maurizius" (1961)
Una tragedia americana" (1962)
Uno di noi" (1996)
Deserto di fuoco" (1997)
*"Cristallo di rocca" (1999)
Le ali della vita" (2000)
*"Piccolo mondo antico" (2001)
Il bello delle donne" (2001)
L'onore e il rispetto"(2006)
* [http://www.celebirony.com/en/f/Actresses/Virna_Lisi/Biography.htm Virna Lisi] , at "Celebirony".
* [http://www.alohacriticon.com/elcriticon/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=322 Virna Lisi] , at "ElCriticon" ("The critic", in spanish)
NAME= Lisi, Virna
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Pieralisi, Virna Lisa
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Actress
DATE OF BIRTH= 1937-10-8
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Ancona, Marches, Italy
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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