The twin sister of actress Pier Angeli, Marisa Pavan was generally cast in gentle roles during her brief career as a leading lady of 1950s films. The attractive, Italian-born brunette made her motion picture debut in John Ford's 1952 remake of "What Price Glory?", playing a sweet village girl, and followed as a doomed Native American in love with Indian fighter Alan Ladd in Delmar Daves' "Drum Beat" (1954). Pavan won a Golden Globe Award and earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as the sensitive teenaged daughter of the formidable Anna Magnani in "The Rose Tattoo" (1955). She held her own in the costume epic "Diane" (also 1955), in which she competed with Lana Turner for the affections of Roger Moore. In Nunnally Johnson's "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" (1956), Pavan brought warmth and believability to her role as the war-time love of Gregory Peck. After appearing opposite Tony Curtis in the taut mystery "The Midnight Story" (1957) and two more costume epics, "John Paul Jones" and "Solomon and Sheba" (1959), the actress retired from the big screen for more than a decade.
Now a mature beauty, Pavan returned to the screen in a small role in the French farce "L'Evenment le plus important depuis que l'homme a marche sur la lune/A Slightly Pregnant Man" (1973). She made a handful of other appearances, notably as one of the subjects of the documentary "Stelle Emigranti/Wandering Stars" (1983) and alongside her husband Jean-Pierre Aumont in "Johnny Monroe" (1987).
Pavan also made a few appearances on American TV, notably as Margot Frank in the 1967 ABC version of "The Diary of Anne Frank". She also appeared in the miniseries "Arthur Hailey's 'The Moneychangers'" (NBC, 1976) and "The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald" (ABC, 1977).