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Marisa Berenson

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Marisa Berenson
Berenson in 2013
Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson

(1947-02-15) February 15, 1947 (age 77)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation(s)Actress, model
Years active1967–present
James Randall
(m. 1976; div. 1978)
Aaron Richard Golub
(m. 1982; div. 1987)
ChildrenStarlite Melody Randall
RelativesElsa Schiaparelli (grandmother)
Berry Berenson (sister)
Oz Perkins (nephew)
Elvis Perkins (nephew)

Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson (born February 15, 1947) is an American actress and model.[1] She appeared on the front covers of Vogue and Time, and won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Natalia Landauer in the 1972 film Cabaret. The role also earned her Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations. Her other film appearances include Death in Venice (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), S.O.B. (1981), and I Am Love (2009).

In 2001, she made her Broadway debut in the revival of Design for Living.

Early life[edit]


Berenson was born in New York City, the elder of two daughters. Her father, Robert Lawrence Berenson, was an American career diplomat turned shipping executive of Russian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent, and his family's original surname was Valvrojenski.[2][3] Her mother was Maria-Luisa Yvonne "Gogo" Radha de Wendt Schiaparelli, a socialite of Italian, Swiss, & French descent.[1][4]


Berenson's maternal grandmother was the fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli,[5][1] and her maternal grandfather was Wilhelm de Wendt de Kerlor, a theosophist and psychic medium.[4][6][7] Her younger sister, Berinthia, who was killed on 9/11, became a model, actress, and photographer, known as Berry Berenson. Berry was married to actor Anthony Perkins.

She is also a great-grandniece of Giovanni Schiaparelli, an Italian astronomer who was the first to describe the canals of Mars, and a second cousin, once removed, of art expert Bernard Berenson and his sister Senda Berenson, an athlete and educator who was one of the first two women elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.[8]


Berenson at the 2009 Venice Film Festival

A fashion model discovered as a teenager by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland,[1] Berenson came to prominence in the 1960s. She appeared on the cover of the July 1970 issue of Vogue as well as the cover of Time on December 15, 1975. She appeared in numerous fashion layouts in Vogue in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] She was known as "The Queen of the Scene" for her frequent appearances at nightclubs and other social venues in her youth,[9] and Yves Saint Laurent dubbed her "the girl of the Seventies".[10][1]

Berenson's early film roles included Gustav von Aschenbach's wife in Luchino Visconti's 1971 film Death in Venice and the Jewish department store heiress Natalia Landauer in the 1972 film Cabaret. The latter role led to two Golden Globe nominations, a BAFTA nomination, and an award from the National Board of Review.

She portrayed the tragic beauty Lady Lyndon in the Stanley Kubrick film Barry Lyndon (1975).[1] Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote: "Marisa Berenson splendidly suits her costumes and wigs."[11][12] She recalled her experience working under Kubrick's direction:

I liked him very much. He had a lot of dry humour. Contrary to what people think — they have this image of Stanley as this difficult ogre — he wasn't at all. He was a perfectionist, but every great director I've worked with has been a perfectionist. You have to be to make extraordinary films.[13]

Berenson's other performances included Casanova & Co. (1977), Killer Fish (1979), the Blake Edwards comedy S.O.B. (1981), The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud (1984), and Clint Eastwood's White Hunter Black Heart (1990), as well as in made-for-TV movies in the United States, such as the Holocaust-themed drama Playing for Time (1980). She guest-starred in an episode of The Muppet Show during its third season in 1978.[14] She made her Broadway debut in the 2001 revival of Design for Living, which also starred Jennifer Ehle, Alan Cumming, and Dominic West. In 2009, she appeared in the film I Am Love.[citation needed]

In August 2016, she appeared in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre in London, as Lady Capulet.[15]

Berenson is chairman of the board of Culture Project, an organization that sponsors the theater.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

On September 11, 2001, her younger sister and sole sibling, Berry Perkins, widow of actor Anthony Perkins, was killed in the first flight to hit the World Trade Center. Marisa was also in an airplane during the terrorist attacks, flying from Paris to New York. In an interview with CBS, she told of the experience and how hours later she landed in Newfoundland (flights were diverted to Canada), and was told of her sister's death by a phone call with her daughter.[1] Said Berenson: "I have hope and tremendous faith. I think that's what gets you through life ... through tragedies is when you have faith."[16]

Of her practice of Transcendental Meditation[1] she said:

India changed my life, because I was searching for my spiritual path, and I ended up in an ashram in Rishikesh with Maharishi and the Beatles. We'd sit on the floor at night, and George and Ringo would play the guitar, and we'd meditate all day, and have meals together, and become vegetarians, and live in huts. But it was just normal. It wasn't like, "Oh, here are the Beatles." The most important thing was my transcendental meditation.[17]

Berenson lives in a villa on the outskirts of Marrakesh.[1] She is fluent in English, Italian,[18] and French.[19]


Berenson's first husband was James Randall, a rivet manufacturer;[1] they wed in Beverly Hills in 1976[20] and divorced in 1978. The couple have one daughter, born 1977, who is a social worker.[21]

Her second husband was Aaron Richard Golub (born 1942, Worcester, Massachusetts), a lawyer, whom she married in 1982 and divorced in 1987. During the divorce proceedings, the judge ruled "the increased value of Ms. Berenson's acting and modeling career during the marriage were marital property" and therefore subject to consideration in any settlement agreements.[22][23][24][25]



Title Year Role Notes
Death in Venice 1971 Frau von Aschenbach
Cabaret 1972 Natalia Landauer NBR Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated – Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer - Female
Nominated – BAFTA Film Award for Best Supporting Actress
Un modo di essere donna 1973 Sibilla Ferrandi
Barry Lyndon 1975 Lady Honoria Lyndon
Some Like It Cool 1977 The Caliph's Wife
Killer Fish 1979 Ann
S.O.B. 1981 Mavis
Led by the Nose 1984 Vera
The Syringe 1984 L'Arbalète'
The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud 1984 Emma Herrmann
Flagrant désir 1986 Jeanne Barnac
Via Montenapoleone 1987 Francesca
White Hunter Black Heart 1990 Kay Gibson
Night of the Cyclone 1990 Françoise
Il giardino dei ciliegi 1992 Charlotte
Venti dal Sud 1994 Anne de Bois
Le grand blanc de Lambaréné 1995 Helene Schweitzer
Tonka 1997 Mme Pflaum
Elles 1997 Chloé
Riches, belles, etc. 1998 Alizéa
Retour à la vie 1999 Stéphanie
The Photographer 2000 Julie Morris
Primetime Murder 2000 Martha Werther
Lisa 2001 Princess Maruschka
Lonesome 2001 Verena
People 2004 Daniella
Le plus beau jour de ma vie 2004 Barbara
Color Me Kubrick 2005 Alex Witchell
24 Bars 2007 La mère
Vote and Die: Liszt for President 2008 Dr. Elizabeth Dyson
I Am Love 2009 Allegra Rori Recchi
Cinéman 2009 Lady Lyndon
The Disciple 2010 Maria
Weddings and Other Disasters 2010 Lucrezia
Hitler in Hollywood 2010 Marisa Berenson
Gigola 2011 Solange
Opium [fr] 2013 Marquise Casati
The Love Punch 2013 Clothilde
Branagh Theatre Live: Romeo and Juliet 2016 Lady Capulet
Halston 2019 Herself
DogMan 2023 Aristocrat Woman


Title Year Role Notes
Coronet Blue 1967 Mary Barclay Episode: "Faces"
The Muppet Show 1978 Herself Episode: Marisa Berenson
Tourist 1980 Marian Television film
Playing for Time 1980 Elzvieta Television film
Bel ami 1983 Clotilde de Marelle Limited series
The Equalizer 1985 Andrea Browne Episode: "Back Home"
Sins 1986 Luba Tcherina Recurring role (3 episodes)
Who's The Boss? 1986 Genevieve Pescher Episode: "Not with My Client You Don't"
ABC Afterschool Specials 1986 Liz Childs Episode: "Getting Even: A Wimp's Revenge"
Lo scialo 1987 Nina Recurring role (3 episodes)
Hemingway 1988 Pauline Pfeiffer Main role (4 episodes)
Spy Wars 1989 Isabella De Ambrosis Main role (3 episodes)
Ocean 1989 Muneca Chavez Main role (6 episodes)
Have A Nice Night 1990 Barbara Jenkins Television film
Blaues Blut 1990 Ann Ryder Episode: "Schatten der Vergangenheit"
Chillers 1990 Professor Rebecca Vernay Episode: "The Thrill Seeker"
L'enfant des loups 1991 Radegonde Television film
Hollywood Detective 1991 Dorothy Parker Episode: "Romanoff a Clef"
Ti ho adottato per simpatia 1991 Unknown Television film
Murder, She Wrote 1992 Claudia Cameron Episode: "Danse Diabolique"
Notorious 1992 Katarina Sebastian Television film
Maigret 1995 Mme Crosby Episode: "Maigret et la tête d'un homme"
Het verdriet van België 1995 Madame Laura Recurring role (2 episodes)
Maintenant et pour toujours 1998 Marianne Television film
Ama il tuo nemico 2 2001 Unknown Television film
Commissaire Valence 2004 Mme Irène Episode: "Machination"
Julie, chevalier de Maupin 2004 Madame de Maintenon Television film
Venus and Apollo 2005 Albina de Braise Episode: "Soin défraîchi"
Le juge est une femme 2005 Julie de Berg Episode: "La petite marchande de fleurs"
Mafiosa 2006–
Caterina Paoli Recurring role (6 episodes)
Lost Signs 2007 Irène de Lestrade Recurring role (12 episodes)
Il peccato e la vergogna 2010 Elena Fontamara Recurring role (2 episodes)
Caldo criminale 2010 Lucrezia Television film
Le sang de la vigne 2011 Shirley Episode: "Le dernier coup de Jarnac"
La collection: Ecrire pour... la trentaine vue par des écrivains 2014 Marianne Episode: "Rose Mystica"
Velvet Colección 2018 Sandra Petribello Recurring role (2 episodes)


Title Year Role Venue Ref.
Holiday 1980 Julia Seton Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles [26]
Design For Living 2001 Grace Torrence Broadway, Roundabout Revival [27]
Romeo and Juliet 2016 Lady Capulet West End, Kenneth Branagh Revival [28]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Saner, Emine (October 30, 2019). "'I did the first nude in Vogue': Marisa Berenson on being a blazing star of the 70s and beyond: Interview". The Guardian. London. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  2. ^ Berenson, Bernard (1949). Sketch for a Self-Portrait. Pantheon.
  3. ^ "Robert L. Berenson, Ex-Envoy And Head of Shipping Line, Dies". The New York Times. February 3, 1965. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Elsa Schiaparelli, Shocking Life, NY: Dutton, 1954.
  5. ^ Linda Greenhouse, "Schiaparelli Dies in Paris; Brought Color to Fashion", The New York Times, November 15, 1973
  6. ^ Thurman, Judith (October 20, 2003). "Mother of Invention". The New Yorker – via www.newyorker.com.
  7. ^ Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica entry Archived May 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Senda Berenson | Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. March 15, 2024.
  9. ^ John Corry, "About New York", The New York Times, February 4, 1974
  10. ^ Judy Klemesrud, "And Now, Make Room for the Berenson Sisters", The New York Times, April 19, 1973, p. 54
  11. ^ Vincent Canby, Barry Lyndon review, The New York Times, December 19, 1975
  12. ^ "marisa berenson". Archived from the original on December 13, 2021 – via www.youtube.com.
  13. ^ "Marisa Berenson on the making of Barry Lyndon: Kubrick wasn't a 'difficult ogre - he was a perfectionist'", Independent, July 13, 2016
  14. ^ Video on YouTube
  15. ^ Kellaway, Kate (July 24, 2016). "Marisa Berenson: 'Being directed by Branagh is an amazing adventure'". The Guardian. London.
  16. ^ "48 Hours: And Then There Were 2". CBS. October 12, 2001.
  17. ^ "Chatting Up Marisa Berenson", Leslie Camhi, September 27, 2011. The New York Times. Retrieved Sept 2011
  18. ^ "Actors who speak Italian". January 29, 2013.
  19. ^ Marisa Berenson "Kubrick disait que je ne serai jamais aussi belle..." Archive INA.
  20. ^ "People, Nov. 22, 1976". Time. November 22, 1976 – via content.time.com.
  21. ^ "Milestones, Nov. 21, 1977". Time. November 21, 1977 – via content.time.com.
  22. ^ David Margolick, "Divorce Quandary: Is Fame Property?", The New York Times, September 26, 1990
  23. ^ Ronald Sullivan, "Her Fame Is Ruled His Too: Soprano Must Share Income", The New York Times, July 3, 1991
  24. ^ Joyce Wadler, "Public Lives: Still a Bad Boy, as a Lawyer and a Novelist", The New York Times, April 7, 2000, p. B2:4
  25. ^ "Claude Solnik, "Breaking up is even harder to do for celebrities", Long Island Business News, 20 January 2006". Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  26. ^ "Holiday".
  27. ^ "Marisa Berenson – Broadway Cast & Staff". IBDB.
  28. ^ "Marisa Berenson Theatre Credits, News, Bio and Photos".

External links[edit]