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Ray was born to an Indian Bengali father and a Polish mother., grew up in predominantly white suburb of Etobicoke, Toronto.
She ate curry, spoke Polish to her maternal grandmother and watched movies by Federico Fellini and Satyajit Ray with her cinephile dad. 
She wanted to do Journalism after finishing high school, but with modeling offer from a big publication made her entry into the fashion world.
 Career She has developed into an internationally acclaimed performer with a reputation for taking on challenging roles (ref: Glow magazine, December 2007- 'Mehta needed a skilled and serious actress who could handle such a politically and emotionally charged role and Ray rose to the challenge proving her abilities to herself, Mehta and the North american film community)
She spent a decade modelling in India and dabbled in Indian films before moving to London to attend drama school. (ref: Glow magazine, December 2007- Ray, 35 got her first big-screen break in 2001 when she was offered the lead role in the Bollywood thriller Kasoor, a remake of the American film Jagged Edge. This got her noticed by Indian-Canadian director Deepa Mehta, who gave her a starring role in Bollywood/Hollywood, a romantic-comedy-meets-musical-parody set in Toronto. The success of this film earned her rave reviews at TIFF and numerous Hollywood movie offers. But despite having her foot firmly in the door, Ray did the unthinkable for an up-and-coming actress: She said no to Hollywood and went to acting school instead)
Bollywood career She began her acting career with the Bollywood film Kasoor in 2001 opposite Aftab Shivdasani. She subsequently starred as the female lead of Canadian director Deepa Mehta's romantic Indian-Canadian romp, Bollywood/Hollywood in 2002. In 2005, she worked again with Mehta in the Oscar-nominated film, Water(ref: imdb.com). Since breaking through she has worked in productions from Canada, Europe and the United states (ref: imdb.com)
Recent roles include a farm girl in 'All Hat', a school teacher in 'A Stone's Throw' and a housewife in 50's apartheid South Africa in The World Unseen.
In 2009, she did the film 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 nude in the movie and in a few uninhibited sex scenes, something which no mainstream actress of Indian origin had done before.Lisa Ray has dared to venture into virgin territory as far as Indian actresses are concerned. In the just released independent movie Kill Kill Faster Faster Ray moves from having a guy fondling her between her legs in one scene to going 69 in another - something unheard of for an artist from India.
2009 saw Ray play a Christian-Arab lesbian in the humourously entitled "I Can't Think Straight" directed by Shamim Sarif. She appeared in the famous song "Afreen Afreen" by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in 1996.
Awards She was voted Star of the Future at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, Top Ten most Beautiful Indian Woman of the Millenium by the Times of India and won the Best Actress in a Canadian film for 'Water' by the Vancouver Critics Circle (ref: imdb.com, Glow magazine, December 2007)