Marisa Mell

Intro Austrian actress (1939-1992)
A.K.A. Marlies Theres Moitzi
Was Actor Film actor
From Austria
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender female
Birth 24 February 1939, Graz, Austria
Death 16 May 1992, Vienna, Austria (aged 53 years)
Star sign Pisces

Marisa Mell (born Marlies Theres Moitzi; 24 February 1939 – 16 May 1992) was an Austrian actress. Appearing in films across Europe in the sixties, she suffered a setback in the failure of an American musical. She settled in Italy where her high profile love life and long association with Pier Luigi Torri, a playboy later to become one of the most wanted fugitives in the world, made her familiar to readers of tabloid press stories about the European jet set and elite Rome nightclubs. Mell was typecast as a resilient femme fatale. In reality, she was a vulnerable figure who suffered from bad luck and ill-judged personal choices. In the eighties, she was forced to relocate back to Austria where she subsisted in straitened circumstances. Her best regarded film is the critically re-assessed Danger: Diabolik.


Mell left her home city of Graz to attend the Max Reinhardt drama school where her fellow students briefly included Senta Berger. After four years in stage work, she began to appear in starring roles in European films. In 1963, she was involved in a serious automobile accident in France. For six hours, she lay unconscious, unaware that she nearly lost her right eye. The disfigurement extended to her lip as well. She spent the next two years undergoing plastic surgery, and no damage remained in her face, except for a distinctive curl of her upper lip. After the Eurospy film Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966), she secured the title role in the "utterly calamitous" musical Mata Hari alongside Pernell Roberts. A preview performance in Washington, D.C. became infamous for its numerous technical problems,and producer David Merrick decided to close the production. For the rest of her life Mell had difficulty acknowledging the failure, which may have played a part in her moving to Italy where her stories of a successful Broadway run were not challenged. She said had turned down a lucrative seven-year Hollywood contract because "the contract was a whole book. I think that even to go to the toilet I would have needed a permission." In 1968, Mell had her best-known film role as Eva Kant in Danger: Diabolik, which was poorly received initially but has been championed by later film critics. At this time Mell was appearing in what were by Italian standards major productions, which got American releases. She suffered the death of a prematurely born daughter in 1969, and was never to have another child. Mell's name had been romantically linked with number of European and Hollywood male stars, but in Italy she was often the centre of paparazzi stories along with Torri, her aristocratic nightclub owing boyfriend. In 1971 he got into a series of legal difficulties over cocaine being supplied to his nightclub's clients, and fled the country on his luxurious yacht. After being arrested in London over a three hundred million dollar gold mine and bank scam, and in an ironic echo of Danger: Diabolik, Torri got out the cell, made a daring and acrobatic rooftop escape, and evaded a huge search by infuriated English police; he was eventually recaptured in America after 18 months at large. As one of the most recognisable beauties in Italian film, Mell continued to work steadily throughout the seventies, and posed for Italian Playboy. Mel's marketability depended on her youth and stunning looks, which naturally faded as she moved into middle age. Even in Italy where she had been a genuine celebrity, her box office appeal had declined by the late eighties to the point that she was not being considered for the lowest budget exploitation films, and she even resorted to posing for cheap soft porn magazines. With no support, Meli accepted the inevitable and returned to Austria to live in impoverished and isolated circumstances, with her decades of heavy smoking and substance abuse having affected her appearance so negatively that she appeared far older than her true age. Mell's public profile was very low by her latter years although she got some acting work shortly before her 1992 death in Vienna from throat cancer. She was 53.

Selected filmography

Das Licht der Liebe (1954) – (uncredited) Das Nachtlokal zum Silbermond [de] (1959) – Liliane Der brave Soldat Schwejk (1960) – Olly (uncredited) Am Galgen hängt die Liebe (1960) – Alka Wegen Verführung Minderjähriger (1960) – Inge Lebensborn (1961) – Erika Meuring The Cry of the Wild Geese (1961) – Judith Gare The Puzzle of the Red Orchid (1962) – Lilian Ranger Dr (1962) – Klara Venusberg (1963) – Florentine Der grüne Kakadu (1963) – Léocadie Ein Mann im schönsten Alter [de] (1964) – Brigitte The Last Ride to Santa Cruz (1964) – Juanita French Dressing (1964) – Françoise Fayol Masquerade (1965) – Sophie Casanova 70 (1965) – Thelma Diamond Walkers (1965) – Irene de Ridder City of Fear (1965) – Ilona Train d'enfer (1965) – Frieda Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966) – Charity Farrel Objective 500 Million (1966) – Yo Che notte ragazzi! (1966) – Mónica Danger: Diabolik (1968) – Eva Kant Anyone Can Play (1968) – Paola Stuntman (1968) – Gloria Hall Una sull'altra (1969) – Susan Dumurrier / Monica Weston Les belles au bois dormantes (1970) – Isabelle Senza via d'uscita (1970) – Michèle The Great Swindle (1971) – Carla Marta (1971) – Marta / Pilar Ben and Charlie (1972) – Sarah Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972) – Anna Sartori / Maria Sartori Alta tensión (1972) – Laura Moncada Tutti fratelli nel West… per parte di padre (1972) – Lulu 'Miss Dynamite' Belle Bella, ricca, lieve difetto fisico, cerca anima gemella (1973) – Paola Gang War in Milan (1973) – Jasmina Sanders Violent Blood Bath (1974) – Patricia Bataille La moglie giovane (1974) – Louisa Parapsycho – Spectrum of Fear (1975) – Greta La encadenada (1975) – Gina / Elisabeth Mahogany (1975) – Carlotta Gavina Amori, letti e tradimenti (1975) – Greta Taxi Love – Servizio per signora (1976) L'ultima volta (1976) – Jusy Casanova & Co. (1977) – Duchess of Cornaro Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein (1977, TV Series) – Chantal Beast with a Gun (1977) – Giuliana Obscene Desire (1978) – Amanda Ring of Darkness [it] (1979) – Agatha Under Siege (1980) – Kim Lombard La liceale al mare con l'amica di papà (1980) – Violante – wiife of Massimo Peccati a Venezia (1980) – Melissa La compagna di viaggio (1980) – Woman with hat-veil Febbre a 40! (1980) – Linda Martin La dottoressa preferisce i marinai (1981) – Mrs. Clara Morelli Corpi nudi (1983) – Marisa Seifenblasen (1984) – Fernsehjournalistin La tempesta (1988) Quest for the Mighty Sword (1990) – Nephele Sensazioni d'amore (1990) – Signora Elena Aloisi I Love Vienna (1991) – Selina (final film role)

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