Daliah Lavi, an actress who made her femme fatale reputation in such 1960s spy comedies as The Spy With a Cold Nose, Some Girls Do, The Silencers and the classic of the genre Casino Royale, died yesterday at home in Asheville, N.C. She was 74, and her death was announced by her family.
“Daliah has lived in Asheville, with her husband, Chuck Gans, since 1992,” her family wrote. “Prior to that, she was an international actress and singer…” That international career started in 1955 with a role in Sweden’s The People of Hemso, and continued through 1961’s The Return of Dr. Mabuse and Lord Jim and Ten Little Indians, both in 1965.
But it was 1966’s The Silencers, starring Dean Martin in his James Bond knock-off Matt Helm that provided Lavi with the genre with which she’d become most associated. Also that year, the dark-haired beauty played Princess Natasha Romanova in The Spy with a Cold Nose starring Laurence Harvey.
In 1967’s star-packed spy spoof Casino Royale, Lavi played alongside Woody Allen, Peter Sellers, David Niven, Orson Welles, Ursula Andress and John Huston.
Following her performance opposite Kirk Douglas in Vincente Minnelli’s 1962 Two Weeks in Another Town, Lavi won the Golden Globe Award for most promising newcomer (female).
By the 1970s, Lavi was focusing on a singing career, scoring two German hits: “Oh, Wann Kommst Du?” (When Are You Coming?) and “Willst Du Mit Mihr Geh’n?” (Do You Want to Go With Me?).
She is survived by her husband Charles E. Gans; daughter, Kathy Rothman; three sons, Rouben, Alexander and Stephen Gans; five grandchildren and a sister. The family says a funeral will take place in her native Israel.