Virna Lisi

Virna Lisi

Highest Rated: 82% Queen Margot (1994)

Lowest Rated: 63% The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

Birthday: Nov 8, 1936

Birthplace: Jesi, Marche, Italy

A blonde bombshell whose career spanned two continents and five decades, Virna Lisi began her life as Virna Pieralisi in Acona, Italy. The daughter of a marble importer, Lisi developed into a stunning beauty by her teens, prompting her to be discovered by two Neapolitan movie producers, Antonio Ferrigno and Ettore Pesce, while staying in Paris in 1953. Later that year, the 17 year-old would appear in her first movie, "...e Napoli canta!" (1953). Lisi's new career in show business would mean coloring her brunette hair to her now trademark light blonde shade and diving full-force into many areas of performance at once. She studied stage acting, starring in Federico Zardi's "I giacobini" at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano in 1957 under the direction of the respected Giorgio Strehler. She also appeared in a memorable ad campaign for an Italian toothpaste brand, famously uttering the catchphrase "Con quella bocca può dire ciò che vuole," (with such a mouth, she can say whatever she wants), which would become a staple moment of Italian popular culture. In 1960, Lisi married footbal club magnate and architect Franco Pesci, prompting the actress to briefly consider retiring from acting in order to devote herself full time to her responsibilities as a wife. According to Lisi, this idea was very short lived, and she was back to business within a few months. Though Lisi would give birth to her and Pesci's son, Corrado just two years later, her career did not lose traction. By 1965, she was traveling to Hollywood to appear in her first American movie, the Jack Lemmon comedy "How to Murder Your Wife" (1965). Riding a wave of popularity for European actresses in Hollywood, Lisi would be cast as the knockout beauty in a number of English speaking roles over the next few years, such as "Not with My Wife, You Don't!" (1966) with Tony Curtis, and "Assault on a Queen" (1966) with Frank Sinatra. However, Lisi soon became frustrated with the repetitive nature of these parts, which made much of her alluring good looks, but not of her acting abilities. By 1968, Lisi was cast as the lead in the now cult classic "Barbarella" (1968), but she was so tired of playing pure glamour roles that she turned the movie down and returned to her native Italy. At this time, Lisi began a new and exciting chapter in her career, taking on roles that used her comely looks for satire or juxtaposition, like in "Arabella" (1968) and "Le dolci signore" (1968). These films found Lisi playing characters with sneaky or underhanded motives, relying upon Lisi's own personality and acting choices for full effect. She would continue to explore more and more dark and complex characters in the years to come, gaining particular acclaim for her turn as the cruel Catherine de'Medici in "Queen Margot" (1994), which earned her a Cesar award for Best Supporting Actress. Lisi would continue to work at a near constant pace, finding particular success in the 2010s on television mini-series like "Madre, aiutami." (Rai 1, 2014). Lisi's acting career was only halted by her death in 2014 due to lung cancer. She died in Rome at the age of 78.

Highest rated movies

Queen Margot
How to Murder Your Wife
The Secret of Santa Vittoria




No Score Yet 73% The Best Day of My Life Irene (Character) - 2002
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Greatest Gift Unknown (Character) - 2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Balzac Madame de Berny (Character) - 1999
No Score Yet No Score Yet Follow Your Heart Old Olga (Character) - 1996
82% 88% Queen Margot Catherine de Médicis (Character) $11.3K 1994
No Score Yet No Score Yet Les garçons de la rue Panisperna Signora Majorana (Character) - 1988
No Score Yet No Score Yet I Love N.Y. Anna Cotone (Character) - 1987
No Score Yet 50% Sapore di mare (Time for Loving) Unknown (Character) - 1983
No Score Yet No Score Yet Miss Right Anna (Character) - 1981
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Cricket Wilma Malinverni (Character) - 1980
No Score Yet No Score Yet Ernesto Unknown (Character) - 1979
No Score Yet No Score Yet Cobblestones Alny (Character) - 1978
No Score Yet No Score Yet Challenge to White Fang Sister Evangelina (Character) - 1974
No Score Yet 62% Night Flight From Moscow Mrs. Annabel Lee (Character) - 1973
No Score Yet 14% White Fang Sister Evangelina (Character) - 1972
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Statue Rhonda Bolt (Character) - 1971
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Heist Stella Menzoni (Character) - 1970
63% 82% The Secret of Santa Vittoria Caterina Malatesta (Character) - 1969
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Girl Who Couldn't Say No Yolanda (Character) - 1969
No Score Yet No Score Yet Better a Widow Rosa Minniti (Character) - 1969
No Score Yet 81% The Christmas Tree Unknown (Character) - 1969
No Score Yet No Score Yet Arabella Arabella (Character) - 1969
No Score Yet No Score Yet Anyone Can Play Luisa (Character) - 1968
No Score Yet 94% The 25th Hour Suzanna Moritz (Character) - 1967
No Score Yet No Score Yet Made in Italy Virginia (Character) - 1967
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Girl and the General Ada (Character) - 1967
No Score Yet 36% Assault on a Queen Rosa Lucchesi (Character) - 1966
No Score Yet 42% Not With My Wife, You Don't! Julietta "Julie" Ferris (Character) - 1966
No Score Yet No Score Yet A Virgin for the Prince Giulia (Character) - 1966
No Score Yet 91% The Birds, the Bees and the Italians Milena Zulian (Character) - 1966
No Score Yet 30% The Possessed Tilde (Character) - 1965
No Score Yet 83% Bambole! Luisa (Character) - 1965
No Score Yet 59% Casanova 70 Gigliola (Character) - 1965
64% 63% How to Murder Your Wife Mrs. Ford (Character) - 1965
No Score Yet No Score Yet Kiss the Other Sheik Dorotea (Character) - 1965
No Score Yet No Score Yet Don't Tempt the Devil Gina Bianchi (Character) - 1964
No Score Yet 60% The Black Tulip Caroline "Caro" Plantin (Character) - 1964
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Shortest Day Naja (Character) - 1963
67% 56% Eva Francesca (Character) $6.4K 1962
No Score Yet No Score Yet Duel of the Titans Julia (Character) - 1961
No Score Yet No Score Yet Your Excellency Unknown (Character) - 1960
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Doll That Took the Town Liliana Attenni (Character) - 1957


No Score Yet No Score Yet What's My Line? Guest 1966