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

(1931-12-21)21 December 1931
Codroipo, Italy
Died 15 November 2015(2015-11-15) (aged 83)
Brescia, Italy
Other names Moira degli elefanti ("Moira of the Elephants")
  • Circus performer
  • actress
  • television personality
Walter Nones
(m. 1961)
Children 2

Moira Orfei (Italian pronunciation: Script error: No such module "IPA".; born Miranda Orfei; 21 December 1931 – 15 November 2015) was an Italian circus performer, actress and television personality of remote Romani origins. Moira was also considered the queen of the Italian circus, one stage name being "Moira of the Elephants". Cult movie fans know her for the many sword-and-sandal (peplum) films she starred in.

Gli Italiani si voltano Moira Orfei 1954
Young actress and circus performer Moira Orfei walks towards the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, while a large group of men turn to look at her. 1954


Raised in a family who owned the circus company Circus Orfei, Moira became the symbol of circus in Italy and attained international fame. 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. 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).

Personal life

Her parents were Riccardo Orfei, who was the clown Bigolon, 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.


Year Title Role Notes
1960 The Loves of Hercules Nemea
Under Ten Flags Shipwrecked Cameo appearance
Ti aspetterò all'inferno Anouk
Queen of the Pirates Jana
The Giants of Thessaly Atalanta Cameo appearance
1961 Ursus Attea
Revenge of the Conquered Edma
Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules Halis Mosab
Rocco e le sorelle Lola
Armi contro la legge Norma
Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops Paesant girl Cameo appearance
Che femmina e… che dollari! Moira
1962 Kerim, Son of the Sheik Zaira
Il re Manfredi Grenda
I tromboni di Fra' Diavolo Carmela
Ursus in the Valley of the Lions Diar
Gli italiani e le donne Claudia Caracci Segment: "L'abito non fa il monaco"
1963 I due mafiosi Claudette
Toto vs. the Four Mrs. Fiore Scenes cut
Toto and Cleopatra Octavia the Younger
Samson and the Slave Queen Malva
Divorzio alla siciliana Marisa
The Monk of Monza Sister Virginia
The Beast of Babylon Against the Son of Hercules Ura
1964 The Two Gladiators Marzia
I predoni della steppa Malina
Revolt of the Praetorians Artamne
Samson and His Mighty Challenge Dalila
The Triumph of Hercules Pasiphae
1965 Casanova 70 Santina
How We Got into Trouble with the Army Taide Bonafini
L'incendio di Roma Poppaeia
Two Sergeants of General Custer Baby O'Connor
1966 Due mafiosi contro Al Capone Rosalía
The Birds, the Bees and the Italians Giorgia Casellato
1968 Torture Me But Kill Me with Kisses Adelaide
1974 Paolo il freddo Herself Cameo appearance
Scent of a Woman Mirka
1975 Dracula in the Provinces Bestia Assatanata
1980 Arrivano i bersaglieri Herself Cameo appearance
1982 Pin il monello Herself Cameo appearance
1990 Vacanze di Natale '90 Gloria
2003 Natale in India Herself Cameo appearance
2006 Moira Orfei: Amore e fiori Herself Documentary

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Moira Orfei para niños

  • Anastasini Circus
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