Marisa Pavan, Oscar Nominee for ‘The Rose Tattoo,’ Dies at 91

Italian actress also starred opposite Robert Stack in “John Paul Jones” and Tony Curtis in “The Midnight Story”

Marisa Pavan
Getty Images

Marisa Pavan, the Italian actress who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in the 1955 film “The Rose Tattoo,” has died. She was 91.

According to the author of her 2021 biography, Margaux Soumoy, Pavan died Wednesday at her home in Gassin, France.

“You have lived a life of true inspiration and been a model of love and personal success,” Soumoy wrote in a Facebook post, before confirming the news via Pavan’s family to TheWrap. “I am blessed to have been able to be a small part of your journey and will continue to cherish the memories and your story.”

In “The Rose Tattoo,” Pavan played Rosa, the daughter of an Italian seamstress named Serafina, played by Anna Magnani, who grieves the death of her secretly unfaithful husband until an encounter with a truck driver named Alvaro, played by Burt Lancaster.

Pavan’s nomination for Best Supporting Actress was one of eight Oscar nominations for “The Rose Tattoo.” Pavan lost in her category to Jo Van Fleet, who also appeared in “The Rose Tattoo” but won the Oscar for “East of Eden.” Pavan did get to make an acceptance speech on behalf of her co-star Magnani when she won in the Best Actress category.

Pavan was the twin sister of Pier Angeli, who also became an actress along with their younger sister, Patrizia. Along with “The Rose Tattoo,” Pavan starred opposite Gregory Peck in “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” in 1956 as a young woman in Italy with whom Peck’s character had an affair with during WWII, one that contributed to his postwar PTSD.

Other films Pavan starred in during the ’50s include “The Midnight Story,” a noir in which she played a young woman who falls in love with a former cop, played by Tony Curtis, who out to find the murderer of a priest he considered to be a second father. She once again played a love interest in “John Paul Jones,” a historical adventure film starring Robert Stack as the Revolutionary War hero and Pavan as Aimee de Tellison, a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette who helps Jones convince King Louis XVI to offer his aid to the newly founded American Navy.

In 1956, Pavan married French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont, and the two remained a couple until Aumont’s death in 2001. She is survived by her sons, Jean-Claude and Patrick.

Kristen Lopez contributed to this report.


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