Lisa Ray was born on 4 April 1972 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a Canadian actress and former model. Lisa Ray was born to a Bengali Indian father and a Polish mother and grew up in the suburb of Etobicoke.
She excelled academically, doing five years of high school in four, while attending three different high schools: Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, Richview Collegiate Institute and Silverthorn Collegiate Institute.
She spoke Polish to her maternal grandmother and watched movies of Federico Fellini and Satyajit Ray with her cinephile dad. Ray was spotted by an agent in a crowd during a family vacation in India when she was 16, when she began modelling.
Lisa Ray came to public attention when she appeared in an advertisement for Bombay Dyeing wearing a high-cut black swimsuit, opposite Karan Kapoor. Subsequently, she returned to Canada to attend university to study journalism, but a car injury which injured her mother derailed those plans. Instead, she returned to India where she appeared on the cover of Glad Rags wearing a red Baywatch-style swimsuit. The sensation that caused led to more magazine covers, spokesperson deals and a job as host of her own show-business program. A Times of India poll named her the “ninth most beautiful woman of the millennium,” the only model in the top ten. She also anchored a TV show Star Biz on Star Movies with actor/model Kelly Dorji.
She made her cinematic debut in 1994 in the Tamil film Nethaji opposite actor Sarath Kumar where she appeared in a brief role. Later she acted in a Telugu film Takkari Donga opposite Mahesh Babu. After turning down a number of roles, she made her Bollywood debut with the film Kasoor in 2001 opposite Aftab Shivdasani where her voice was dubbed by Divya Dutta as she could not speak Hindi. Her work in that film caught the eye of Deepa Mehta who cast Ray in the romantic Indian-Canadian romp, Bollywood/Hollywood in 2002. In 2005, she worked again with Mehta in the Oscar-nominated film, Water where she spoke her lines in Hindi although her voice was dubbed in the final cut. Since then she has worked in productions from Canada, Europe and the United States.
Past roles include a farm girl in All Hat, a school teacher in A Stone’s Throw a housewife in 1950s apartheid South Africa in The World Unseen and a Christian-Arab lesbian in the humorously titled I Can’t Think Straight directed by Shamim Sarif.
In 2007, Ray completed filming for Kill Kill Faster Faster, which is a contemporary film noir inspired by the critically acclaimed novel of the same name by Joel Rose. She appeared in a few uninhibited sex scenes, “something unheard of for an artist from India.”
She guest starred in USA Network series Psych, which was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, which aired on November 30, 2009.
She appeared in the famous song “Afreen Afreen” by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in 1996.
Lisa Ray has been featured in the Canadian edition of Hello magazine as one of the ’50 Most Beautiful People’ of the country. She gave a candid interview on her personal cancer trauma and surviving it, appearing on the cover of the 2010 anniversary issue of the Indian men’s luxury magazine The Man.
Ray has appeared in a guest role of a reporter, Dominique Ball, in the recent Woody Harrelson movie Defendor.
Ray was seen in UniGlobe Entertainment’s cancer docu-drama titled 1 a Minute scheduled for release in 2010. The documentary is being made by Namrata Singh Gujral and will also feature cancer survivors Olivia Newton-John, Diahann Carroll, Melissa Etheridge, Mumtaz and Jaclyn Smith as well as William Baldwin, Daniel Baldwin and Priya Dutt, whose lives have been touched by cancer. The feature is narrated by Kelly McGillis. It will also star Bárbara Mori, Deepak Chopra and Morgan Brittany.
On November 15, 2011, Ray announced that she had been named to host season two of Top Chef Canada.
She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on 23 June 2009, a cancer of the white blood cells known as plasma cells, which produce antibodies. It is a rare disease. In April 2010, she announced she was cancer-free following a stem cell transplant. She was formerly in relationships with fashion photographer Paolo Zambaldi and Canadian businessman W. Brett Wilson. In February 2012 she announced her engagement to management consultant Jason Dehni.