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Mary Woronov

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Mary Woronov
Woronov in 2007
Born (1943-12-08) December 8, 1943 (age 80)
Other namesMary Whitehead
  • Actress
  • writer
  • painter
Years active1966–present
Theodore Gershuny
(m. 1970; div. 1973)
Fred Whitehead
(m. 1976, divorced)

Mary Woronov (born December 8, 1943)[1][2] is an American actress, writer, and figurative painter. She is primarily known as a "cult star" because of her work with Andy Warhol and her roles in Roger Corman's cult films. Woronov has appeared in over 80 movies and on stage at Lincoln Center and off-Broadway productions as well as numerous times in mainstream American TV series, such as Charlie's Angels and Knight Rider. She frequently co-starred with friend Paul Bartel; the pair appeared in 17 films together, often playing a married couple.

Early life[edit]

Woronov was born December 8, 1943, in the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida,[a] while it was temporarily operating as the Ream General Hospital during World War II.[5] Woronov was born premature and doctors initially did not believe she would survive infancy.[4] At a young age, she relocated with her mother to Brooklyn Heights in New York City, where her mother married Victor D. Woronov, a Jewish cancer surgeon in 1949; they settled as a family and her stepfather legally adopted her.[1][6] She has one younger half-brother, Victor, who was born on her eighth birthday.[1]

Woronov studied art and sculpting at Cornell University, where she met and befriended artist Gerard Malanga in 1963.[2][7]

Acting career[edit]

1966–1973: Early work and collaborations with Andy Warhol[edit]

Through her friendship with Gerard Malanga, Woronov became involved with Andy Warhol's art studio, The Factory, in New York City. She appeared in numerous films for Warhol, becoming a Warhol superstar in the 1960s.[7] She danced with Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Warhol's multimedia presentation of The Velvet Underground, and played Hanoi Hannah in Chelsea Girls, the 1966 experimental underground film directed by Warhol. The film was Warhol's first major commercial success after a long line of avant-garde art films (both feature-length and short).

Of this time, she has said: "Of all the girls at Andy Warhol's Factory, I was the butch one. [Warhol] put me in his Screen Tests and I spent my nights at Max's Kansas City. ... I was the strong girl at the Factory."[8] Further reflecting on her working relationship with Warhol, she commented in 2018: "I have a very dark side, I can’t help it, but to me that period was wine and roses. It was darkness with pinpoints of light. My connection with Warhol was sort of like Lancelot’s connection to King Arthur".[7]

Woronov in Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)

Between 1970 and 1972, Woronov starred in several films by her then-husband, Theodore Gershuny: Kemek (1970) Sugar Cookies (1973); and the slasher film Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972).

In 1973, Woronov was cast as understudy to Julie Newmar in the role of Susan in the Broadway production of David Rabe's play Boom Boom Room. Newmar was fired during rehearsals and Woronov took over the role,[9] eventually earning a Theatre World Award for her performance. The production played November 8 - December 9, 1973, at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.[10]

Woronov's had a leading role in the Roger Corman-produced cult film Death Race 2000 (1975), followed by the Corman-produced Hollywood Boulevard (1976), directed by Alan Arkush and Joe Dante.[11]

1979–1990: Relocation to Los Angeles; further film roles[edit]

Woronov relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 1979,[2] appearing in Rock 'n' Roll High School the same year. Her breakthrough role came in Paul Bartel's black comedy Eating Raoul (1982), in which she portrayed the wife of a Los Angeles restaurant owner (also played by Bartel), both of whom resort to robbing and murdering swingers to support their declining business.

She subsequently had roles in numerous films including Blood Theatre (1984), Night of the Comet (1984), Chopping Mall and Nomads (1986). She became a fan of the Los Angeles punk music scene, and made an appearance with actor Jack Nance in the Suicidal Tendencies music video "Institutionalized" (1983); the two portrayed the protagonist's parents in the video.[12] She later reprised this character in the band's music video for the song "Possessed To Skate" (1987).

Subsequent film roles include in Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989), Dick Tracy (1990), and Where Sleeping Dogs Lie (1991). On television, Woronov made guest appearances on numerous series in the 1980s, such as Logan's Run, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Charlie's Angels, Mr. Belvedere, Murder, She Wrote, Amazing Stories, St. Elsewhere, Wings, Babylon 5, Family Matters, and Highlander: The Series.

1991–present: Later film performances[edit]

In 1991, Woronov reprised her role from Rock 'n' Roll High School in the sequel Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever. In 1995, she had a supporting role in the independent comedy film Glory Daze.

She later had roles in the animated Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003),[13] Rob Zombie's horror film The Devil's Rejects (2005), Ti West's supernatural horror film The House of the Devil (2009), and the black comedy splatter film All About Evil (2010).[14]

She appeared in Barneys New York fall 2014 advertising campaign, "L.A. Stories," shot by Bruce Weber.[8]

Other works[edit]

Painting and visual art[edit]

Woronov has worked as a painter since her relocation to California in 1979.[2][15] She has cited painter Francis Bacon as an influence on her artwork.[15]

In February 2022, she held a retrospective exhibition, The Story of the Red Shoe, at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.[16]


In 1995, Woronov published the memoir Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory, reflecting on her time as part of Andy Warhol's Factory.[17] She published her first novel, Snake, in 2000.[18] She subsequently published a short story collection in 2004 entitled Blind Love.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Woronov married producer/director Theodore Gershuny in 1970, completing three films with him – Kemek (1970), Sugar Cookies (1973), and Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972) – before their divorce in 1973. She then married producer Fred Whitehead in 1976, later divorcing.[6] She has resided in Los Angeles, California since 1979.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Chelsea Girls Hanoi Hannah
1966 Hedy Policewoman
1966 Kiss the Boot
1966 Milk Short film
1966 Shower
1966 Superboy
1966 The Beard Jean Harlow
1966 Since John F. Kennedy
1967 Four Stars
1970 Kemek Mary Wonderly
1972 Silent Night, Bloody Night Diane Adams
1973 Sugar Cookies Camilla Stone
1974 Seizure Mikki Hughes
1975 Death Race 2000 Calamity Jane
1975 Cover Girl Models Diane
1976 Hollywood Boulevard Mary McQueen
1976 Jackson County Jail Pearl
1976 Cannonball Sandy Harris
1976 Hollywood Man Julie
1977 Mr. Billion Bit Part (uncredited)
1977 Bad Georgia Road Hackett
1978 The One and Only Arlene
1979 The Lady in Red Woman Bankrobber
1979 Rock 'n' Roll High School Miss Togar
1981 Heartbeeps Party House Owner
1982 Eating Raoul Mary Bland
1982 National Lampoon's Movie Madness Secretary
1983 Angel of H.E.A.T. Samantha Vitesse
1983 Get Crazy Violetta
1984 Blood Theatre Miss Blackwell
1984 Young Lust
1984 Night of the Comet Audrey White
1985 Get Out of My Room
1985 Hellhole Dr. Fletcher
1986 Nomads Dancing Mary
1986 TerrorVision Raquel Putterman
1986 Chopping Mall Mary Bland
1987 Kappa Short film
1987 Black Widow Shelley
1988 Mortuary Academy Mary Purcell
1989 Warlock Channeler
1989 Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills Lisabeth Hepburn-Saravian
1989 Let It Ride Quinella
1990 Dick Tracy Welfare Person
1990 Club Fed Jezebel
1990 Watchers II Dr. Glatman
1991 Buster's Bedroom Jane
1991 Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever Doctor Vadar
1991 Motorama Kidnapping Wife
1991 Where Sleeping Dogs Lie Woman Tourist
1992 The Living End Daisy
1993 Good Girls Don't Wilamena LaRue
1993 Grief Attorney
1995 Number One Fan Wedding Coordinator
1995 Glory Daze Vicki
1998 Secrets of a Chambermaid Felicity
1998 Sweet Jane Sales Lady
1998 Mom, Can I Keep Her? Dr. Klein Video
1999 Zoo Prunella
1999 Invisible Mom II Olivia Video
2000 Straight Right Dr. Wright
2001 The Vampire Hunters Club Receptionist Video short
2001 The New Women Lisa LaStrada
2001 Perfect Fit Mom
2003 Prison A-Go-Go! Dyanne She-Bitch Slutface
2003 Looney Tunes: Back in Action Acme VP, Bad Ideas
2004 The Halfway House Sister Cecelia
2004 Frog-g-g! Doctor
2004 I Pass for Human Dr. Larraz
2005 The Devil's Rejects Abbie
2009 The House of the Devil Mrs. Ulman
2009 Heaven Wants Out Kitty
2011 Kitchenette: Part One Jo
2012 Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader House Mother
2016 Snowbird Today Theo Short film
2016 A Flock of Birds Ferida Short film
Year Title Role Notes
1974 Somerset Stephanie Dillard TV series
1976 Charlie's Angels Maxine Episode: "Angels in Chains"
1977 Logan's Run Irene Borden Episode: "Capture"
1979 Taxi Fran Strickland Episode: "Nardo Loses Her Marbles"
1979 Mrs. Columbo Kate's fellow inmate Episode: "Off the Record"
1980 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Nola Episode: "A Dream of Jennifer"
1980 Phyl & Mikhy Anya Episode: "Mikhy's Visitor"
1984 Hart to Hart Clavell Episode: "The Dog Who Knew Too Much"
1984 The Princess Who Had Never Laughed Governess TV movie
1985 Challenge of a Lifetime Mary Garritee TV movie
1985 A Bunny's Tale Miss Renfro TV movie
1985 Knight Rider Dr. Von Furst Episode: "Knight of the Juggernaut: Part 1"
Episode: "Knight of the Juggernaut: Part 2"
1985 Mr. Belvedere Cheryl Episode: "The Letter"
1985 Murder, She Wrote Brady Episode: "Jessica Behind Bars"
1986 Amazing Stories Nurse Episode: "Secret Cinema"
1986 Brothers Sophia Santini Episode: "The Seduction of Lou"
1986 St. Elsewhere Episode: "Nothing Up My Sleeve"
1987 You Again? Dr. Quinn Episode: "Where the Sun Don't Shine"
1987 Shell Game Bean Sweeney Episode: "The Upstairs Gardner"
1987 Sledge Hammer! Jill Taylor Episode: "The Spa Who Loved Me"
1987 Webster Carol Episode: "San Francisco: Part 2"
Episode: "San Francisco: Part 3"
1988 Trial and Error Officer Burdette Episode: "Man's Best Friend"
1988 Monsters Viki Episode: "Pillow Talk"
1992 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Officer Gwen Episode: "Money Talks"
1993 Wings Lydia Detmeir Episode: "The Gift: Part 2"
1993 Flying Blind Mona 4 episodes
1993 Acting on Impulse Receptionist TV movie
1994 Babylon 5 Ko D'ath Episode: "Born to the Purple"
1994 Shake, Rattle and Rock! E. Joyce Togar TV movie
1994 My So-Called Life Dr. Linda Shields Episode: "Pressure"
1995 Highlander: The Series Rita Luce Episode: "They Also Serve"
1995 Here Come the Munsters Mrs. Dimwitty TV movie
1996 Family Matters Mrs. Ramsay Episode: "Swine Lake"
1996 The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas Mrs. Dimwitty TV movie
1999 Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Motel Manager Episode: "Get Your Kicks at Motel 66"
2000 Who's Watching Who? Starring TV movie
2019 Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein Nancy Erlich Netflix short


  1. ^ Some sources state Woronov was born in Brooklyn, New York;[3] though this is where Woronov was primarily raised, she has stated in personal interviews that she was actually born at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d Richardson, Terry (2016). "Mary Woronov: From Superstar to Anti-Star". Purple. No. 26. ISSN 1766-8832. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mary Woronov Biography". Artnet. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.
  3. ^ Quigley, Eileen S. (2007). International Television & Video Almanac (52nd ed.). Groton, Massachusetts: Quigley Publishing Company. p. 497. ISBN 978-0-900-61081-3.
  4. ^ a b Chainsaw, Billy (August 2004). "Mary Woronov. The Warhol cine-star and born again punk looks back in bemusement". Bizarre Mag. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010.
  5. ^ "U.S. Military in Palm Beach". pbchistoryonline.org. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Looseleaf, Victoria (November 4, 2014). "Mary Woronov: Artist, Chelsea Girl, and B-Movie Queen". KCET. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Peasley, Aaron (August 4, 2016). "An Under-the-Radar Warhol Alum, at One of Los Angeles's Coolest Galleries". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "L.A. Stories". Barneys New York fall advertising mailer. 2014. p. 7.
  9. ^ "Press of Atlantic City 19 Oct 1973, page 9". Newspapers.com. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  10. ^ "Boom Boom Room – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  11. ^ Woronov, Mary (2016). "An Interview with Mary Woronov". Hollywood Boulevard (Blu-ray documentary short). Scorpion Releasing.
  12. ^ Rose, Cynthia. "Mary Woronov Interview". Psychotronicvideo.com. Archived from the original on September 17, 2007.
  13. ^ "The Show Must Go On! 'All About Evil' Teaser Trailer Debut". Bloody Disgusting. May 14, 2010. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "Final All About Evil One-Sheet and Info on the Special Los Angeles Screening". June 8, 2010. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012.
  15. ^ a b Looseleaf, Victoria (March 13, 2018). "Mary Woronov: Ferocious, Fractious, Fabulous". Art Now LA. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.
  16. ^ Blueskye, Brian (February 21, 2022). "Warhol superstar, actress and artist Mary Woronov to be celebrated with retrospective". The Desert Sun. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.
  17. ^ "Swimmning Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory". Biblio.com. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.
  18. ^ "Snake by Mary Woronov". Biblio.com. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.
  19. ^ "Blind Love". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on March 11, 2023.

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