Virna Lisi, 78, a multifaceted Italian actress who found herself hostage to the sultry looks that sparked her career, quitting Hollywood in the 1960s after being typecast in bombshell roles, died Thursday in Rome. The cause was cancer, according to Italian media reports.
A star of Italian cinema by age 20, Ms. Lisi drew international attention for her lissome appeal in a range of dramas and farces. She dyed her brunette hair blond, and the presence of a mole near her lips made her resemble a more exotic Marilyn Monroe.
On the Italian screen, Ms. Lisi had been presented as chic and elegantly sensual, but she was rebranded for American audiences as a skin-baring temptress.
She made her Hollywood debut in the 1965 comedy How to Murder Your Wife. The film starred Jack Lemmon as a cartoonist who impulsively weds Ms. Lisi's character after she emerges from a birthday cake in a bikini. His initial lust gives way to regret the morning after.