The Italian actress first appears on screen within musical films with the help of the singer Giacomo Rondinella who is a friend of her family. In 1953, her elegant and beautiful blonde silhouette is remarked in E Napoli Canta before meeting with international recognition when she plays in Joseph Losey's Eva, in 1962, opposite Jeanne Moreau and with The Black Tulip, in 1963 alongside Alain Delon. She is remarked by Hollywood who chooses her to replace Marylin Monroe opposite Jack Lemmon in How To Murder Your Wife, in 1965. However, she rapidly returns to Italy and stars in Signore et Signori, in 1965 and Arabella, in 1967. During the 1970s, she is rarely seen on screens, refusing to appear nude or to play the stereotyped sex symbol and only accepts to appear in the comedy, Bluebeard, in 1972 and 'films d'auteur'. She makes a notable comeback in 1994 when she earns the part of Catherine de Medicis in Patrice Chéreau's historical drama, The Queen Margot. Virna Lisi has always refused to become the light sex symbol she could have been: despising eroticism and scandals. She much preferred to embody in real life the perfect respectable and conformist bourgeois who rejected feminism and stood firmly behind her rich husband.