18 April 2013 3:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Claim To Fame

When Israelis think of a sexy male star, chances are they are thinking of Lior Ashkenazi. At 43, he has been on the scene for only a decade, landing his breakthrough role in Dover Koshashvili’s 2001 “Late Marriage” (including a now-famous nine-minute sex scene), after paying his dues on the theater circuit. Eytan Fox’s 2004 “Walk on Water” came next, in which his role as a beautiful but broken Mossad agent secured Ashkenazi his monopoly on cinematic eros.

(From the pages of the April 16 issue of Variety.)

The Language(S) Of Lior

For “Late Marriage,” Ashkenazi had to speak Georgian, so he memorized his lines phonetically. In “Hello, Goodbye” with Gerard Depardieu, he did the same thing with French. Romance languages come easily: He was raised by Turkish immigrants who spoke to him in Ladino, the Spanish-Jewish dialect that flourished among Spanish Jews after the Inquisition.

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- Debra Kamin

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