Lisa Montell, Actress in ‘World Without End’ and Lots of TV Westerns, Dies at 89

Lisa Montell, Actress in ‘World Without End’ and Lots of TV Westerns, Dies at 89
May 2023

Her film resume also included 'Ten Thousand Bedrooms,' 'She Gods of Shark Reef' and 'The Firebrand.'

Lisa Montell, a starlet in the 1950s and '60s who appeared in such films as World Without End opposite Rod Taylor and Ten Thousand Bedrooms alongside Dean Martin, has died. She was 89.

Montell died March 7 in Southern California Hospital at Van Nuys of heart problems and sepsis, her daughter, Shireen Janti, told The Hollywood Reporter.

A native of Poland, Montell portrayed characters of various ethnicities during her career. In Naked Paradise (1957) and She Gods of Shark Reef (1958), directed back-to-back in Kauai by Roger Corman, she played Hawaiians.

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She also showed up on several TV Westerns, including The Gene Autry Show, Broken Arrow, Tales of Wells Fargo, Colt .45, Have Gun -- Will Travel, Sugarfoot, Cheyenne, Bat Masterson and Maverick.

In the sci-fi feature World Without End (1956), written and directed by Edward Bernds, Montell portrayed a woman on Earth in the 26th century, hundreds of years after a devastating atomic war, who falls for an accidental time-traveling astronaut (Taylor).

And in the musical comedy Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957) -- Martin's first film after he and Jerry Lewis split up their act -- she was sisters with Anna Maria Alberghetti, Eva Bartok and in Rome.

Born Irena Ludmilla Vladimiovna Augustinovich in Warsaw on July 5, 1933, she and her family fled to the U.S. before the Nazi invasion of their country in 1939. They settled in New York City.

She studied drama at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, the High School of Performing Arts and the University of Miami, then moved to Lima, Peru, when her dad, Walery, landed a job with a mining company.

In 1953, she was spotted in a play and made her onscreen debut in The Daughter of the Sun God, filmed in Peru -- that movie, however, would not be released until 1962 -- and came to Los Angeles after her father died.

She appeared in five films released in 1955 -- Escape to Burma, Jump Into Hell, Daddy Long Legs, Finger Man and Pearl of the South Pacific -- and portrayed a ballet dancer in the Leslie Caron-starring Gaby (1956).

Her resume also included other films like Tomahawk Trail (1957), The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958) and The Firebrand (1962) and episodes of The Millionaire, Wire Service, The Ann Sothern Show, Surfside 6, Mike Hammer, The Magical World of Walt Disney and 77 Sunset Strip.

She left acting in the mid-1960s, worked on a local TV show with Tom Bradley and served in his administration after he was elected L.A. mayor.

In addition to her daughter, whom she had with her husband, actor David Janti, survivors include her granddaughter, Tatiana.