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Marianne Faithfull

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Marianne Faithfull
Faithfull in 2009
Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull

(1946-12-29) 29 December 1946 (age 77)
Hampstead, London, England
  • Singer
  • actress
Years active1964–present
(m. 1965; div. 1966)
Ben Brierly
(m. 1979; div. 1986)
Giorgio Della Terza
(m. 1988; div. 1991)
PartnerMick Jagger (1966–1970)
RelativesSimon Faithfull (half-brother)
Musical career

Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull (born 29 December 1946) is an English rock singer. She achieved popularity in the 1960s with the release of her hit single "As Tears Go By" and became one of the lead female artists during the British Invasion in the United States.

Born in Hampstead, London, Faithfull began her career in 1964 after attending a party for the Rolling Stones, where she was discovered by Andrew Loog Oldham. Her debut album Marianne Faithfull (1965, released simultaneously with her album Come My Way), was a commercial success followed by a number of albums on Decca Records. From 1966 to 1970, she had a highly publicised romantic relationship with Mick Jagger. Her popularity was enhanced by her film roles, such as those in I'll Never Forget What's'isname (1967), The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968) and Hamlet (1969). However, her popularity was overshadowed by personal problems in the 1970s. During this time, she was anorexic, homeless and addicted to heroin.

Faithfull was noted for her distinctive voice; her melodic and high-registered vocals prevailed during her 1960s career, but these were altered by severe laryngitis coupled with persistent drug abuse during the 1970s, which left her voice permanently raspy, cracked and lower in pitch. This new sound was praised as "whisky soaked" by some critics and seen as having helped to capture the raw emotions expressed in Faithfull's music.[1]

After a long commercial absence, Faithfull made a comeback with the 1979 release of her critically acclaimed album Broken English. The album was a commercial success and marked a resurgence of her musical career. Broken English earned Faithfull a nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and is often regarded as her "definitive recording". She followed this with a series of albums, including Dangerous Acquaintances (1981), A Child's Adventure (1983) and Strange Weather (1987). Faithfull wrote three books about her life: Faithfull: An Autobiography (1994), Memories, Dreams & Reflections (2007) and Marianne Faithfull: A Life on Record (2014).

Faithfull received the World Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2009 Women's World Awards, and she was made a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the government of France.

Early life[edit]


Faithfull was born in Hampstead, London. Her half-brother is artist Simon Faithfull. Her father, Major Robert Glynn Faithfull, was a British intelligence officer and professor of Italian Literature at Bedford College of London University.

Faithfull's mother Eva was the daughter of Artur Wolfgang, Ritter von Sacher-Masoch, an Austro-Hungarian nobleman. Eva chose to style herself as Eva von Sacher-Masoch, Baroness Erisso.[2] Eva had been a ballerina for the Max Reinhardt Company during her early years, and danced in productions of works by the German theatrical duo Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.[3]

Faithfull's mother had been born in Budapest and moved to Vienna in 1918. The family of Sacher-Masoch secretly opposed the Nazi regime in Vienna. Faithfull's father's intelligence work for the British Army brought him into contact with the family, and he thus met Eva.[4] Faithfull's maternal grandfather had aristocratic roots in the Habsburg Dynasty, and Faithfull's maternal grandmother was Jewish.[5]

Faithfull's maternal great-great-uncle was Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whose erotic novel, Venus in Furs, spawned the word "masochism."[6] In regard to her roots in the Austrian nobility, Faithfull appeared on the British television series Who Do You Think You Are? where it was discussed that the title used by family members was Ritter von Sacher-Masoch.[7]


Her family lived in Ormskirk, Lancashire, while her father completed a doctorate at Liverpool University.[8] She spent some of her early life at the commune at Braziers Park, Oxfordshire, formed by John Norman Glaister, where her father, who was instrumental in its foundation, lived and participated. Her parents divorced when she was age 6,[8] after which she moved with her mother to Milman Road in Reading. Her primary school was in Brixton. Living in reduced circumstances, Faithfull's girlhood was marred by bouts of tuberculosis. She was a charitably subsidised (bursaried) pupil at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Convent School, Reading, where she was, for a time, a weekly boarder.[9] While at St Joseph's, she was a member of the Progress Theatre's student group.[10]

Singing career[edit]


Cashbox advertisement, September 19, 1964

Faithfull began her singing career in 1964, landing her first gigs as a folk music performer in coffeehouses.[1] She soon began taking part in London's exploding social scene. In early 1964 she attended a Rolling Stones launch party with artist John Dunbar and met Andrew Loog Oldham, who 'discovered' her. "As Tears Go By",[11] her first single, was written and composed by Jagger, Keith Richards, and Oldham, and became a chart success. (The Rolling Stones recorded their version one year later, which also became successful.)[12] She then released a series of successful singles, including "This Little Bird", "Summer Nights", and "Come and Stay with Me".[1] Faithfull married John Dunbar on 6 May 1965 in Cambridge with Peter Asher as the best man.[8] The couple lived in a flat at 29 Lennox Gardens in Belgravia, London SW1.[8] On 10 November 1965, she gave birth to their son Nicholas.[8]

In 1966, she took Nicholas to stay with Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg in London. During this period, Faithfull started smoking marijuana and became best friends with Pallenberg. She began a much-publicised relationship with Mick Jagger that same year and left her husband to live with him. The couple became a notorious part of the hip Swinging London scene. She is heard on The Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine".[13] She was found wearing only a fur rug by police executing a drug search at Keith Richards's house in West Wittering, Sussex. In an interview 27 years later with A.M. Homes for Details, Faithfull discussed her wilder days and admitted that the drug bust fur rug incident had ravaged her personal life: "It destroyed me. To be a male drug addict and to act like that is always enhancing and glamorising. A woman in that situation becomes a slut and a bad mother." It was during this time that Faithfull lost three opportunities to appear in films. “I really thought I had blown my career.”[14] In 1968, Faithfull, by now addicted to cocaine, gave birth to a stillborn daughter (whom she had named Corrina) while returning from Jagger's country house in Ireland.[1][15]

Faithfull performing on the Dutch TV programme Fanclub on 17 September 1966

Faithfull's involvement in Jagger's life was reflected in some of the Rolling Stones's best known songs. "Sympathy for the Devil", featured on the 1968 album Beggars Banquet, partially was inspired by The Master and Margarita, written by Mikhail Bulgakov, a book that Faithfull introduced to Jagger. The song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on the 1969 album Let It Bleed was supposedly written and composed about Faithfull; the songs "Wild Horses" and "I Got the Blues" on the 1971 album Sticky Fingers were allegedly influenced by Faithfull, and she co-wrote "Sister Morphine" (the writing credit for the song was the subject of a protracted legal battle that was resolved with Faithfull listed as co-author). In her autobiography, Faithfull said Jagger and Richards released it in their own names so that her agent did not collect all the royalties and proceeds from the song, especially as she was homeless and addicted to heroin at the time. In 1968, Faithfull appeared in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus concert, giving a solo performance of "Something Better".[1]

She is bisexual, and during the 1960s, she had relationships with both men and women.[16][17]

Michael Cooper, Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Shepard Sherbell, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Brian Jones at the Royal Concertgebouw on 1 September 1967


Faithfull ended her relationship with Jagger in May 1970 after she started an affair with Anglo-Irish nobleman "Paddy" Rossmore, and she lost custody of her son in that same year, which led to her attempting suicide.[1] Faithfull's personal life went into decline, and her career went into a tailspin. She made only a few appearances, including an October 1973 performance with David Bowie, singing Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe".[1]

Faithfull lived on London's Soho streets for two years, suffering from heroin addiction and anorexia nervosa.[18] Friends intervened and enrolled her in an NHS heroin-assisted treatment programme.[19] She failed at controlling or stabilising her addiction at this time.[20] In 1971, producer Mike Leander found her on the streets and made an attempt to revive her career, producing part of her album Rich Kid Blues. The album was shelved until 1985.[1]

Severe laryngitis, coupled with persistent drug abuse during this period, permanently altered Faithfull's voice, leaving it cracked and lower in pitch. While the new sound was praised as "whisky soaked" by some critics, journalist John Jones of the Sunday Times wrote that she had "permanently vulgarised her voice".[1] In 1975, she released the country-influenced record Dreamin' My Dreams, re-released in 1978 as Faithless with some new tracks added, which reached No.1 on the Irish Albums Chart.[1] Faithfull moved into a squat without hot water or electricity in Chelsea with then-boyfriend Ben Brierly of the band the Vibrators. She later shared flats in Chelsea and Regent's Park with Henrietta Moraes.

In 1979, the same year she was arrested for marijuana possession in Norway, Faithfull's career returned full force with the album Broken English, her most critically hailed album.[1] Partially influenced by the punk explosion and her marriage to Brierly in the same year, it ranged from the punk-pop sounds of the title track, which addressed terrorism in Europe (being dedicated to Ulrike Meinhof), to the punk-reggae rhythms of "Why D'Ya Do It?", a song with aggressive lyrics adapted from a poem by Heathcote Williams.[21] The musical structure of this song is complex: On the surface hard rock, it has a tango in 4/4 time, with an opening electric guitar riff by Barry Reynolds in which beats 1 and 4 of each measure are accented on the up-beat, and beat 3 is accented on the down beat. Faithfull, in her autobiography, commented that her fluid yet rhythmic reading of Williams' lyric was "an early form of rap".[1] Broken English was the album that revealed the full extent of Faithfull's alcohol and drug use and their effects on her singing voice, with the melodic vocals on her early records being replaced by a raucous, deep voice which helped capture the raw emotions expressed in the album's songs.[1]A disastrous Feb. 1980 appearance on Saturday Night Live was blamed on too many rehearsals, but it was suspected that drugs had caused her vocal cords to seize up.


Faithfull began living in New York City after the release of Dangerous Acquaintances in 1981. The same year, she appeared as a vocalist on the single "Misplaced Love" by Rupert Hine, which charted in Australia.[22] Despite her comeback, she was battling with addiction in the mid-1980s, at one point breaking her jaw tripping on a flight of stairs while under the influence.[1] Rich Kid Blues (1985) was another collection of her early work combined with new recordings, a double record showcasing both the pop and rock 'n' roll facets of her output to date. In 1985, Faithfull performed "Ballad of the Soldier's Wife" on Hal Willner's tribute album Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill. Faithfull's restrained readings lent themselves to the material, and this collaboration informed several subsequent works.

In 1985, she was at the Hazelden Foundation Clinic in Minnesota for rehabilitation. She then received treatment at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. While living at a hotel in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts, Faithfull started an affair (while still married to Brierly) with a dual diagnosis (mentally ill and drug dependent) man, Howard Tose, who later committed suicide by jumping from a 14th floor window of the flat they shared.[1] In 1987, Faithfull dedicated a "thank you" to Tose within the album package of Strange Weather, on the back sleeve: "To Howard Tose with love and thanks". Faithfull's divorce from Brierly was finalised that year. In 1995, she wrote and sang about Tose's death in "Flaming September" from the album A Secret Life.[1]

In 1987, Faithfull ventured into jazz and blues on Strange Weather, also produced by Willner. The album became her most critically lauded album of the decade. Coming full circle, the renewed Faithfull cut another recording of "As Tears Go By" for Strange Weather, this time in a tighter, more gravelly voice. The singer confessed to a lingering irritation with her first hit. "I always childishly thought that was where my problems started, with that damn song," she told Jay Cocks in Time magazine, but she came to terms with it as well as with her past. In a 1987 interview with Rory O'Connor of Vogue, Faithfull declared "forty is the age to sing it, not seventeen."[15] The album of covers was produced by Hal Willner after the two had spent numerous weekends listening to hundreds of songs from the annals of 20th-century music. They chose to record such diverse tracks as Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It with Mine" and "Yesterdays", written by Broadway composers Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach. The work includes tunes first made notable by such blues luminaries as Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith; Tom Waits wrote the title track. In 1988, Faithfull married writer and actor Giorgio Della Terza, and they divorced in 1991.[1]


When Roger Waters assembled an all-star cast of musicians to perform the rock opera The Wall live in Berlin in July 1990, Faithfull played the part of Pink's overprotective mother. Her musical career rebounded for the third time during the early 1990s with the live album Blazing Away, which featured Faithfull revisiting songs she had performed over the course of her career. Blazing Away was recorded at St. Ann's Cathedral in Brooklyn. The 13 selections include "Sister Morphine", a cover of Edith Piaf's "Les Prisons du Roy", and "Why D'Ya Do It?" from Broken English. Alanna Nash of Stereo Review commended the musicians whom Faithfull had chosen to back her—longtime guitarist Reynolds was joined by former Band member Garth Hudson and pianist Dr. John. Nash was impressed with the album's autobiographical tone, noting "Faithfull's gritty alto is a cracked and halting rasp, the voice of a woman who's been to hell and back on the excursion fare which, of course, she has." The reviewer extolled Faithfull as "one of the most challenging and artful of women artists," and Rolling Stone writer Fred Goodman asserted: "Blazing Away is a fine retrospective – proof that we can still expect great things from this greying, jaded contessa."[15]

A Collection of Her Best Recordings was released in 1994 by Island Records to coincide with the release of the Faithfull autobiography; the two products originally shared the same cover art. It contained Faithfull's updated version of "As Tears Go By" from Strange Weather, several cuts from Broken English and A Child's Adventure and a song written by Patti Smith scheduled for inclusion on an Irish AIDS benefit album. This track, "Ghost Dance", suggested to Faithfull by a friend who later died of AIDS, was made with a trio of old friends: Stones' drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Ron Wood backed Faithfull's vocals on the song, while Keith Richards coproduced it. The retrospective album featured one live track, "Times Square", from Blazing Away as well as the Faithfull original "She", penned with composer and arranger Angelo Badalamenti to be released the following year on A Secret Life, with additional songs co written with Badalamenti. Faithfull sang "Love Is Teasin," an Irish folk standard, with The Chieftains on their album The Long Black Veil, released in 1995. Faithfull sang a duet and recited text on the San Francisco band Oxbow's 1997 album Serenade in Red. Faithfull sang interlude vocals on Metallica's song "The Memory Remains" from their 1997 album Reload and appeared in the song's music video; the track reached No. 28 in the U.S. (No.3 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart) and No.13 in the UK.

As her fascination with the music of Weimar-era Germany continued, Faithfull performed in The Threepenny Opera at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, playing Pirate Jenny. Her interpretation of the music led to a new album, Twentieth Century Blues (1996), which focused on the music of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht as well as Noël Coward, followed in 1998 by a recording of The Seven Deadly Sins, with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. A hugely successful concert and cabaret tour accompanied by Paul Trueblood at the piano, culminated in the filming, at the Montreal Jazz Festival, of the DVD Marianne Faithfull Sings Kurt Weill.

In 1998, Faithfull released A Perfect Stranger: The Island Anthology, a two-disc compilation that chronicled her years with Island Records. It featured tracks from her albums Broken English, Dangerous Acquaintances, A Child's Adventure, Strange Weather, Blazing Away, and A Secret Life, as well as several B sides and unreleased tracks.

Faithfull's 1999 DVD Dreaming My Dreams contained material about her childhood and parents, with historical video footage going back to 1964 and interviews with the artist and several friends who have known her since childhood. The documentary included sections on her relationship with John Dunbar and Mick Jagger, and brief interviews with Keith Richards. It concluded with footage from a 30-minute live concert, originally broadcast on PBS for the series Sessions at West 54th. The same year, she ranked 25th in VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Rock and Roll.

Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) wrote the song "Incarceration of a Flower Child" portraying Syd Barrett in 1968; it was never recorded by Pink Floyd. The song was recorded by Faithfull on her 1999 album Vagabond Ways.


Faithfull performing in 2008

Faithfull released several albums in the 2000s that received positive critical response, beginning with Vagabond Ways (1999), which was produced and recorded by Mark Howard. It included collaborations with Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, and writer (and friend) Frank McGuinness. Later that year she sang "Love Got Lost" on Joe Jackson's Night and Day II.

Her renaissance continued with Kissin Time, released in 2002. The album contained songs written with Blur, Beck, Billy Corgan, Jarvis Cocker, Dave Stewart, David Courts and the French pop singer Étienne Daho. On this record, she paid tribute to Nico (with "Song for Nico"), whose work she admired. The album included an autobiographical song she co-wrote with Cocker, called "Sliding Through Life on Charm".

In 2005, she released Before the Poison. The album was primarily a collaboration with PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, but Damon Albarn and Jon Brion also contributed. Before the Poison received mixed reviews from both Rolling Stone and Village Voice.[23][24] In 2005 she recorded (and co-produced) "Lola R Forever", a cover of the Serge Gainsbourg song "Lola Rastaquouere" with Sly & Robbie for the tribute album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited. In 2007, Faithfull collaborated with the British singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf on the duet "Magpie" from his third album The Magic Position and wrote and recorded a new song for the French film Truands called "A Lean and Hungry Look" with Ulysse.

In March 2007 she returned to the stage with a touring show titled Songs of Innocence and Experience. Supported by a trio, the performance had a semi-acoustic feel and toured European theatres throughout the spring and summer. The show featured many songs she had not performed live before including "Something Better", the song she sang on The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. The show included the Harry Nilsson song "Don't Forget Me", "Marathon Kiss" from Vagabond Ways, and a version of the traditional "Spike Driver Blues".

Articles published at that time hinted Faithfull was looking to retirement and was hoping that money from Songs of the Innocence and Experience would enable her to live in comfort. She said: "I'm not prepared to be 70 and absolutely broke. I realised last year that I have no safety net at all and I'm going to have to get one. So I need to change my attitude to life, which means I have to put away 10 per cent every year of my old age. I want to be in a position where I don't have to work. I should have thought about this a long time ago but I didn't."[25] However, she still lived in her flat in Paris[26] (located in one of the most expensive streets of the capital) and had a house in County Waterford, Ireland.[26] Recording of Easy Come, Easy Go commenced in New York City on 6 December 2007; the album was produced by Hal Willner who had recorded Strange Weather in 1997. A version of Morrissey's "Dear God Please Help Me" from his 2006 album Ringleader of the Tormentors is one of the songs featured. In March 2009, she performed "The Crane Wife 3" on The Late Show.[27] In late March, she began the Easy Come, Easy Go tour, which took her to France, Germany, Austria, New York City, Los Angeles and London.[28]

On 3 May 2009, she was featured on CBS News Sunday Morning and interviewed by Anthony Mason in the "Sunday Profile" segment. Both in-studio and on-the-street (New York City) interview segments with Faithfull and Mason were interspersed with extensive biographical and musical footage.[29]

In November, Faithfull was interviewed by Jennifer Davies[30] on World Radio Switzerland, where she described the challenges of being stereotyped as a "mother, or the pure wife". Because of this, she insisted, it has been hard to maintain a long career as a female artist, which, she said, gave her empathy for Amy Winehouse when they met recently.[31]

In 2010, she was honoured with the Icon of the Year award from Q magazine.


On 31 January 2011, Faithfull released her 18th studio album Horses and High Heels in mainland Europe with mixed reviews.[32] [33] [34] The 13 track album contains four songs co-written by Faithfull; the rest are covers of mainly well known songs such as Dusty Springfield's "Goin' Back" and the Shangri-Las' "Past, Present, Future". A UK CD release was planned for 7 March 2011. Faithfull supported the album's release with an extensive European tour with a five-piece band, arriving in the UK on 24 May for a rare show at London's Barbican Centre, with an extra UK show at Leamington Spa on 26 May.

On 7 May 2011, she appeared on the Graham Norton Show.[35] She reunited with Metallica in December 2011 for their 30th anniversary celebration at the Fillmore where she performed "The Memory Remains".[36]

In 2012, Faithfull recorded a cover version of a Stevie Nicks track from the Fleetwood Mac album Tusk as part of a Fleetwood Mac tribute project. The track "Angel" was released on 14 August 2012 as part of the tribute album Just Tell Me That You Want Me.[37]

On 22 June 2013, she made a sell-out concert appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with jazz musician Bill Frisell playing guitar, as a part of Meltdown Festival curated by Yoko Ono.[38]

In September 2014, Faithfull released an album of all-new material, titled Give My Love to London. She started a 12-month 50th anniversary tour at the end of 2014.

During a webchat hosted by The Guardian on 1 February 2016, Faithfull revealed plans to release a live album from her 50th anniversary tour. She had ideas for a follow-up for Give My Love to London, but had no intention of recording new material for at least a year and a half.[39]

Faithfull's album Negative Capability, was released in November 2018. It featured Rob Ellis, Warren Ellis, Nick Cave, Ed Harcourt, and Mark Lanegan.[40][41]


A spoken word album titled She Walks in Beauty was released in May 2021.[42] She is accompanied with musical arrangements by Warren Ellis, Brian Eno, Nick Cave and Vincent Segal. The album sees her recite the 19th-century British Romantic poets.[43]

In 2023, Rolling Stone ranked Faithfull at number 173 on its list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.[44]


In 1999, Faithfull ranked 25th on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll.[45]

On 4 November 2007, the European Film Academy announced that Faithfull had received a nomination for Best Actress for her role as Maggie in Irina Palm.

On 5 March 2009, Faithfull received the World Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2009 Women's World Awards.[46] "Marianne's contribution to the arts over a 45-year career including 18 studio albums as a singer, songwriter and interpreter, and numerous appearances on stage and screen is now being acknowledged with this special award."[47] The award was presented in Vienna, with ceremonies televised in over 40 countries on 8 March 2009 as part of International Women's Day.[47]

On 23 March 2011, Faithfull was awarded the Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of France's highest cultural honours.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Nominee(s) Category Result Ref.
European Film Awards 2007 Irina Palm Best Actress Nominated [48]
Grammy Awards 1981 Broken English Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Nominated [49]
Q Awards 2009 Herself Q Icon Won [50]
Women's World Award 2009 Herself Lifetime Achievement Award Won [46]

Personal life[edit]

Faithfull has had three miscarriages and four abortions. The first abortion was in 1964, when she had become pregnant by Gene Pitney; the procedure was still illegal in the United Kingdom at the time and Faithfull has stated that she had a hard time dealing with the guilt. She began to feel better once her son was born the year after. Subsequent terminations were from her period of drug abuse as she did not wish for the children to be born as addicts.[51][52]


Faithfull's touring and work schedule has been repeatedly interrupted by health problems. In late 2004 she called off the European leg of a world tour, promoting Before The Poison after collapsing on stage in Milan, and was hospitalised for exhaustion. The tour resumed later and included a US leg in 2005. In September 2006, she again called off a concert tour, this time after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.[53][54] The following month, she underwent surgery in France and no further treatment was necessary owing to the tumour having been caught at a very early stage. Less than two months after she declared having beaten the disease, Faithfull made her public statement of full recovery.[55]

In October 2007, Faithfull said that she suffered from hepatitis C on the UK television programme This Morning and that she had first been diagnosed with the condition 12 years earlier. She discusses both the cancer and hepatitis diagnoses in further depth in her memoir Memories, Dreams and Reflections.[3] On 27 May 2008, Faithfull released the following blog posting on her MySpace page, with the headline "Tour Dates Cancelled" and credited to FR Management – the company operated by her boyfriend/manager François Ravard: "Due to general mental, physical and nervous exhaustion doctors have ordered Marianne Faithfull to immediately cease all work activities and rehabilitate. The treatment and recovery should last around six months."[56]

In August 2013, Faithfull was forced to cancel a string of concerts in the US and Lebanon following a back injury while on holiday in California.[57]

On 30 May 2014, Faithfull suffered a broken hip after a fall while on holiday on the Greek island of Rhodes and underwent surgery.[58] Afterwards, an infection developed at the site of the prosthesis, causing Faithfull to cancel or postpone parts of her 50th anniversary tour for additional surgery and rehabilitation.[59]

On 4 April 2020, it was announced that Faithfull was in hospital in London receiving treatment for pneumonia after having tested positive for COVID-19.[60] Her management company reported that she was "stable and responding to treatment".[60] On 21 April she was discharged following a three-week hospitalisation.[61] In a brief statement, Faithfull publicly thanked the hospital staff who "without a doubt" saved her life.[61] She initially thought that she would not be able to sing again after the effects of the coronavirus on her lungs and continued to suffer memory loss because of it.[62] However, she has since been working on her breathing and undertaking singing practice as a part of her recovery.[63]


Acting career[edit]

In addition to her music career, Faithfull has had a career as an actress in theatre, television and film.

Her first professional theatre appearance was in a 1967 stage adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in which she played Irina, co-starring with Glenda Jackson and Avril Elgar. The previous year, she played herself in Jean-Luc Godard's film Made in U.S.A.. Faithfull featured in the 1967 film I'll Never Forget What's'isname. In the French television film Anna, Faithfull sang Serge Gainsbourg's "Hier ou Demain". 1968 found a fetishist portrayal, a black leather-clad motorcyclist in the French film La Motocyclette (English titles: The Girl on a Motorcycle and Naked Under Leather), and 1969 Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising, her role Lilith. In London 1969 at the Round House, Faithfull played Ophelia in Hamlet, later filmed as Hamlet.

Her stage work included Edward Bond's Early Morning at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in which she played a lesbian Florence Nightingale; The Collector at St Martin's Theatre in the West End; Mad Dog at Hampstead Theatre; A Patriot for Me by John Osborne, at the Palace Theatre; and the role of Lizzie Curry in N. Richard Nash's The Rainmaker, which toured the UK. Other film roles in the 1970s included Sophy Kwykwer in Stephen Weeks's Ghost Story (AKA Madhouse Mansion); and Helen Rochefort in Assault on Agathon.

Her television acting in the late 1960s and early 1970s included The Door of Opportunity (1970),[65] adapted from W. Somerset Maugham's story, followed by August Strindberg's The Stronger (1971),[66] and Terrible Jim Fitch (1971) by James Leo Herlihy.[67]

In 1991, she played the role of Pirate Jenny in The Threepenny Opera at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Later she performed Kurt Weill's "The Seven Deadly Sins" with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, a CD of which was released in 1998.

She has played both God and the Devil. She appeared as God in two guest appearances in the British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. In 2004 and 2005, she played the Devil in William Burroughs' and Tom Waits' musical The Black Rider, directed by Robert Wilson, which opened at London's Barbican Theatre.

In 2001, Faithfull appeared in C.S. Leigh's Far From China. She has appeared in Patrice Chéreau's Intimacy (2001), and in 2004, in Jose Hayot's Nord-Plage. Faithfull appeared as Empress Maria Theresa in Sofia Coppola's 2006 biopic Marie Antoinette. She starred in the film Irina Palm, released at the Berlinale film festival in 2007. Faithfull plays the central role of Maggie, a 60-year-old widow who becomes a sex worker to pay for medical treatment for her ill grandson.[68]

Faithfull lent her voice to the 2008 film Evil Calls: The Raven, but it was recorded several years earlier when the project was titled Alone in the Dark. She has appeared in the 2008 feature documentary by Nik Sheehan on Brion Gysin and the dreamachine, titled FLicKeR.[69]

In 2008, Faithfull toured readings of Shakespeare's sonnets, drawing on the "Dark Lady" sequence. Her accompanist was the cellist Vincent Ségal.[56]

In 2011 and 2012, Faithfull had supporting roles in the films Faces in the Crowd and Belle du Seigneur.

Faithfull starred in a production of Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins at Landestheater Linz, Austria. The production ran from October 2012 to January 2013.[70]

On 18 September 2013, Faithfull was featured in the genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?, tracing her family's roots, in particular her mother's side of the family in pre-World War II Austria.

TV and filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1966 Made in U.S.A herself, singing in a cafe What's she singing? As Tears Go By
1967 Anna (TV movie) Une jeune femme dans la soirée dansante
I'll Never Forget What's'isname Josie Faithfull became the first person to say "fuck" in a mainstream studio picture.
1968 The Girl on a Motorcycle Rebecca
1969 Hamlet Ophelia
1971 The Stronger TV film with Britt Ekland, directed by Patrick Garland
1972 Lucifer Rising (Short) Lilith
1974 Ghost Story Sophy Kwykwer
1975 Assault on Agathon Helen Rochefort
1992 The Turn of the Screw Narrator
1993 When Pigs Fly Lilly
1994 Shopping Bev
1995 Moondance Mother Additionally provided the vocals for "Madam George"
1996 Crimetime Club Singer
2001 Intimacy Betty
Far from China Helen
Absolutely Fabulous (TV series) God – "The Last Shout: Part 1" (1996)
– "The Last Shout: Part 2" (1996)
– "Donkey" (2001)
2004 A Letter to True Narrator Documentary, written and directed by Bruce Weber, released in the U.K. in 2008
2006 Paris, je t'aime Marianne segment "Le Marais"
Marie Antoinette Empress Maria Theresa
2007 Irina Palm Maggie nominated European Film Award for Best Actress
2011 Faces in the Crowd Dr. Langenkamp
2012 Belle du Seigneur (film) [fr] Mariette
2013 Who Do You Think You Are?(TV series) Herself, series 10, episode 9
2021 Dune Bene Gesserit Ancestor (voice)
2023 Wild Summon Narrator (voice)

Stage work[edit]

Year Production Role Location Notes
1967 Three Sisters Irina Royal Court Theatre, London
1968 Early Morning Florence Nightingale Royal Court Theatre, London
1969 Hamlet Ophelia The Roundhouse, London
1973 Alice in Wonderland Alice Theatre Royal, Brighton
A Patriot for Me Countess Sophia Delyanoff Palace Theatre, Watford
Mad Dog Jane Ludlow; Little Ford Fauntleroy (disguised) Hampstead Theatre, London
1974 The Collector Miranda Wyvern Theatre, Swindon St. Martin's Theatre, London
1975 The Rainmaker Lizzie Curry Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford and UK tour
The Kingdom of Earth Myrtle Ravenstock Greenwood Theatre, London
1991 The Threepenny Opera Pirate Jenny Gate Theatre, Dublin
2004 The Black Rider Pegleg Barbican Centre, Londo

Work as an author[edit]


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  16. ^ Steinfeld, Dave (9 August 2020). "Marianne Faithfull: Keeping The Faith". CURVE. Archived from the original on 9 July 2023. Retrieved 9 February 2023.
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  18. ^ Sylvie Simmons interview, Mojo Magazine, 2005 Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
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  24. ^ Goldfein, Josh (12 April 2005). "Angel With Big Friends – Before the poison review". Village Voice. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2012. Faithfull's voice is just too weak to carry a tune without a narrative crutch... Luckily for you, the age of iconic chanteuse auto-tribute albums (Nancy Sinatra, Loretta Lynn, the Sixths) is coincident with the rise of iTunes. Unless you dig Nick's poetry, grab the Polly songs and run.
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  31. ^ "'Marianne Faithfull: An icon', radio interview, World Radio Switzerland (10 mins)". Worldradio.ch. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  32. ^ Andy Gill (4 March 2011). "Horses and High Heels Marianne Faithfull". The Independent. UK. Archived from the original on 8 March 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012. it's not territory she occupies comfortably (Two stars out of five)
  33. ^ "Horses and High Heels-review". Uncut (April 2011): 80. Producer Hal Wilner again helms this follow-up but the chemistry proves more fitful.
  34. ^ Green, Thomas H (5 March 2011). "Horses and High Heels, CD review". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2012. Marianne Faithfull's Horses and High Heels is heavy with world-weary pathos.
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  41. ^ "BMG PROMOTES FRED CASIMIR TO EVP OF GLOBAL RECORDINGS". Musicbusinessworldwide.com. 5 June 2018. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  42. ^ Phil Mongredien (2 May 2021). "Marianne Faithfull with Warren Ellis: She Walks in Beauty review – a magical return". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
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  45. ^ "VH1: 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll". Rockonthenet.com. Archived from the original on 7 October 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
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  73. ^ "Marianne Faithfull Edited by Marianne Faithfull and Francois Ravard, Contribution by Will Self and Terry Southern, Introduction by Salman Rushdie – Rizzoli New York – Rizzoli New York". Rizzoli New York. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]