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

The Italian actress Marisa Pavan never achieved the fame of her twin sister, Pier Angeli, a film ingénue of the 1950s who graced national magazine covers, and whose romance with James Dean and subsequent marriage to the singer Vic Damone became the stuff of Hollywood lore.

Ms. Pavan — analytical, at times defiant and, in her view, less conventionally beautiful than her sister — nevertheless carved out a successful career herself. She appeared in a number of high-profile films throughout the 1950s, including The Rose Tattoo”(1955), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress.

And she did it her way, bristling at the star-making machine that she believed had turned her sister into a sexualized confection of the silver screen.

“The studios made her be like what they wanted her to be like, but from this moment on, it was not my sister I had in front of me anymore,” Ms. Pavan said in an interview with Margaux Soumoy, the author of a biography of Ms. Pavan, “Drop the Baby; Put a Veil on the Broad!” (2021). “She had become a studios’ product.”

Ms. Pavan, right, with her twin sister, the actress Pier Angeli, in 1952. “The studios made her be like what they wanted her to be like,” Ms. Pavan said of her star-crossed sister.Credit…Ullstein Bild, via Getty Images

Ms. Pavan died on Dec. 6 at her home in Gassin, a village on the French Riviera, Ms. Soumoy said. She was 91.

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