Edwige Fenech was born (as Edwige Sfenek) on December 24, 1948, in Bone, Constantine, France, to a Maltese father and an Italian mother. She began her show-business career as a participant in beauty contests (she won the title of “Miss Mannequin de la Cote d’Azur” at age 16 and even won a Miss France beauty contest) and worked as a photo model prior to making her film debut in the comedy Toutes folles de lui (1967). She appeared in such saucy West German sex farces as Alle Kätzchen naschen gern (1969) and Sexy Susan Sins Again (1968). With her lustrous and long black hair, lovely and sensuous face, full shapely figure and smoldering screen presence, Edwige soon became a very popular and much sought-after actress in a diverse array of European productions made in Italy, France, Spain and West Germany. she achieved her greatest enduring cult cinema popularity by starring in several superior Italian giallos for director Sergio Martino: The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), Tutti i colori del buio (1972) and Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972) (she was the onetime girlfriend of Martino’s producer brother, Luciano Martino). Edwige also acted for Martino in a handful of racy Italian sex comedies and the Italian mini-series Delitti privati (1993). Other noted Italian film directors Fenech has worked for are Mario Bava (Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970)), Giuliano Carnimeo (The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972)), Andrea Bianchi (Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)), Umberto Lenzi (The Biggest Battle (1978)), Steno (Dottor Jekyll e gentile signora (1979)),Dino Risi (Sono fotogenico (1980)) and Ruggero Deodato (Phantom of Death (1988)).
She demonstrated her exceptional range and skill as an actress with enjoyably uninhibited performances in such amusingly bawdy Italian comedic romps as Quel gran pezzo della Ubalda tutta nuda e tutta calda (1972) and L’insegnante (1975). Edwige became a television personality in the 1980s and made frequent appearances on an Italian chat show along with fellow giallo goddess Barbara Bouchet. Moreover, Fenech launched her own fashion line and founded her own film production company, Immagine e Cinema S.r.l., with her son Edwin Fenech (she co-produced the 2004 film The Merchant of Venice (2004) as well as various Italian TV mini-series and made-for-TV features).
In the mid-1990s Edwige was engaged to famous Italian industrialist Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. She made a welcome return to acting with a small but funny part as an alluring art class professor in Eli Roth’s Hostel: Part II (2007).
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