Born in Bulgaria the daughter of a famous stage actress and an aristocratic Italian statesman, Irina Maleeva, who speaks seven languages, first established herself as a child performer in Italy.
At age 15 she was discovered by the great Federico Fellini and performed in three of his movies.
By earning degrees in painting and set design from Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and additional studies at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios and London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Irina received the training that propelled her into a successful worldwide career in films, television, stage and cabaret, and as a recording artist.
Her motion picture roles have been with the giants of the film industry, including a lead with Orson Welles in “The Merchant of Venice,” and roles in Fellini’s “Satyricon, “Spirits From the Dead” and “Roma.” She also worked with directors Luchino Visconti and Roberto Rossellini. She has played more than 30 leading roles in European and American movies, starring opposite James Mason, Valentina Cortese, Therence Stamp, Anthony Franciosa and Charles Grodin.
Irina was given a supporting actress award by the Toronto Film Festival for her portrayal of a “Demented Contessa” in the film “Union City,” which she also produced, starring singers Debbie Harry and Pat Benetar.
In addition to her film achievements, Irina starred in 14 episodes of the Italian-French co-production TV series “Poly in Venice,” and in “The Girl Without Identity.” She has guest-starred on many American TV series, including “The Gilmore Girls,” “Pensacola: Wings of Gold,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Six Feet Under,” “Cracking Up,” “Angel,” “Threshold,” “Heroes,” “American Body Shop,” “12 Miles of Bad Road,” “Trading Eights” and the daytime dramas “Days of Our Lives” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
To fulfill her insatiable desire to perform, Irina has added a unique singing voice to her acting abilities. This has enabled her to travel the world – from New York to Rio to Tokyo – with her one-woman musical comedy shows. Her hits include “Passion, Pain and an Occasional Vodka Tonic” and “Irina A-Broad.”
Irina is now preparing for a new theater show, “Illusions,” which will open in Los Angeles late in 2012, after the release of her new CD by the same name.