Moira Orfei

Moira Orfei (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmɔira orˈfɛi]; born Miranda Orfei; 21 December 1931 – 15 November 2015) was an Italian actress and television personality of Romani origin.[1][2] Moira was also considered the queen of the Italian circus, one stage name being Moira of the Elephants.[1] Cult movie fans know her for the many sword-and-sandal (peplum) films she starred in.

Moira Orfei
Orfei in Signore & signori (1966)
Miranda Orfei

(1931-12-21)21 December 1931
Codroipo, Italy
Died15 November 2015(2015-11-15) (aged 83)
Brescia, Italy
Other namesMiranda Orfei
Moira degli elefanti ("Moira of the Elephants")
Spouse(s)Walter Nones (m. 1961–2015; her death)


Raised in a family who owned the circus company Circus Orfei, Moira became the symbol of circus in Italy and attained international fame.[2] The Circus Moira Orfei itself was founded in 1960. She was photographed in various scenes as a rider, trapeze artist, acrobat, dominatrice of elephants and trainer of doves.

Her excessively garish image mirrors her eccentric and exuberant personality. It was Dino De Laurentiis who suggested that she change her name from Miranda to Moira.[3] From then on, her face became an effigy of unchanging characteristics: heavy make-up with eyes coated with eyeliner, bright lipstick, an accentuated mole above the lip, hair tied in a turban. Promotional billboards were carpeted with this picture in every city that the circus stopped. She also became a film actress, acting in over forty films, from comedies to sword and sandal films (among which were many Italian crime films).[2]

Personal life

Her parents were Riccardo Orfei and Violetta Arata. She married Walter Nones in 1961, and they had two children Stefano Orfei and Lara Orfei.


On 4 August 2006, Moira Orfei suffered an ischemic stroke during a show in Gioiosa Ionica. The artist was still under medical care when she died nine years later from natural causes on 15 November 2015 in Brescia, Italy.[1][4]

Partial filmography

See also


  1. "Addio a Moira Orfei, a Brescia il suo ultimo spettacolo" (in Italian). Giornale di Brescia. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  2. "È morta Moira Orfei, regina del circo" (in Italian). La Stampa. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  3. Una biografia online
  4. Moira Orfei, circus owner - obituary
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