Marla Landi

Marla Landi, Lady Dashwood (born Marcella Teresa Scarafina in 1933, Turin, Italy) is an Italian-born British film actress.

Early life

Her major roles included Across the Bridge (1957), Dublin Nightmare (1958), First Man into Space (1959), The Murder Game (1965), and the Hammer films The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959, as Cecille Stapleton) and The Pirates of Blood River (1962).[1] She was a Play School presenter from 1964-70.[2] Joy Whitby, the programme's creator and earliest producer, recalled in 2013: "She spoke English with a heavy accent, but she was very loveable and children adored her."[3] Landi also presented Parliamo Italiano.[4] She also appeared in an episode of the TV version of Hancock's Half Hour called "The Italian Maid" in 1959 though this recording was lost (although an off-air recording of the soundtrack was recently discovered by Tristan Brittain-Dissont, Archivist of the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society).[5] [6][7]

She was also a top photographic model and had a number of magazine covers including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Tatler.[8] She later became the Fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar.

She then went on to set up her own successful international wig business.[9]


She was made a Knight of the Italian Republic for promoting the Italian language and culture in the United Kingdom.

Personal life

In 1977 she married Sir Francis Dashwood, 11th Baronet. Together they lived at West Wycombe House in Buckinghamshire.[10]


11954The Golden LinkMaria
21957Across the BridgeMary
31958Dublin NightmareAnna Monti
41958First Man into SpaceTia Francesca
51959The Hound of the BaskervillesCecile Stapleton
61962The Pirates of Blood RiverBess Standing
71965The Murder GameMarie Aldrich


  1. "Marla Landi". BFI.
  2. "BFI Screenonline: Play School (1964-88) Credits".
  3. Sarah Williams "How we made: Joy Whitby and Phyllida Law on Play School", The Guardian, 15 October 2012
  4. "Parliamo Italiano: 24: All'agenzia di Viaggio". 25 April 1964. p. 11 via BBC Genome.
  5. "IMdB". Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  6. Buckley, Rob (1 September 2017). "Watch some lost Crossroads and Hancock if you're in Birmingham tomorrow".
  7. "The Italian Maid (1959)". BFI.
  8. Vaccaro, Michael A. (20 July 1957). "Marla Landi".
  9. Cotter, Robert Michael “Bobb” (10 January 2014). "The Women of Hammer Horror: A Biographical Dictionary and Filmography". McFarland via Google Books.
  10. "Marla Landi - The Private Life and Times of Marla Landi. Marla Landi Pictures".
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