Lisa Ray

“Truth is the breath of life issuing from our silent source.”

Lisa Ray, Canadian actress and model, 1972-present. 

Toronto-born Lisa Ray is Bengali-Pole Canadian actress known as much for her stunning looks and high-quality acting repertoire as for her resilience and brave fight against a rare and incurable form of cancer. Her most well-known films are the critically acclaimed Deepa Mehta vehicles Bollywood/Hollywood, Water, and Cooking with Stella.

Ray was an only child whose family liked to spend time in nature. Her mother taught her to swim in ponds, and she credits her fierce independence to those early years. She graduated high school a year early, intending on studying journalism. Ray was discovered as a model during a gap year in Mumbai and her very first job landed her the cover of a prominent fashion magazine. She went on to model for several prominent brands in India. 

Bollywood came calling immediately, but she initially turned down most roles, with the exception of the quirky film Kasoor in 2000. Deepa Mehta, the Indian-Canadian director, cast her in her breakout acting role in the successful rom-com Bollywood/Hollywood in 2002. Mehta also cast Ray in 2005s Oscar-nominated film set in colonial India, Water. She is known for her green, cat-like eyes and olive skin, with a chameleon-like quality so coveted in models and actresses. 

At the height of her career in 2009, Ray received a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a very rare form of cancer of the bone marrow. She went into stem-cell therapy and other treatments immediately, miraculously recovering in a year. She credits Canadian doctors for saving her life.

In happier times, her entrepreneur boyfriend Jason Dehni proposed in Napa Valley, and the two married in 2012. A month later, her cancer came back. Although she initially hid the news from him, she decided to take matters into her own hands and began a holistic healing regimen that included meditation. After changing her diet “radically,” she went into remission in three months, even though this form of cancer is deemed incurable. She writes about the ordeal in her 2019 memoir, Close to the Bone, which also describes her struggles with disordered eating.

In their mid-40s, Ray and her husband decided to start a family. Her previous cancer treatments and lifelong medications prevented her carrying a child, however after pursuing surrogacy in India and Mexico, they were successfully matched in Georgia, resulting in twin girls, Sufi and Soleil, in 2018. Her blog, LisaRayWrites, explores motherhood, her own poetry, wellness and beauty.

Ray has become a vocal advocate for stem-cell transplants and partnered with Indian designer Satya Paul to create a line of sarees that were auctioned to raise funds for cancer research, She also donated part of the proceeds of her film, Cooking with Stella, to an institute for myeloma research.


No items found.


No items found.