Zoë Lund

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Zoë Tamerlis Lund
Zoë Tamerlis Lund.jpg
Lund in 1993
Zoë Tamerlis

(1962-02-09)February 9, 1962
DiedApril 16, 1999(1999-04-16) (aged 37)
Cause of deathCocaine-induced heart failure
Other names
  • Zoë Tamerlaine
  • Vanessa Lancaster
  • Tamara Tamarind
  • Musician
  • model
  • actress
  • screenwriter
Years active1979–1999
Spouse(s)Robert Lund (m.1986)

Zoë Tamerlis Lund (February 9, 1962 – April 16, 1999), also known as Zoë Tamerlis and Zoë Tamerlaine, was an American musician, model, actress, author, producer, political activist and screenwriter.[2] She was best known for her association in two films with film director Abel Ferrara: Ms .45 (1981), in which she starred, and Bad Lieutenant (1992), for which she co-wrote the screenplay.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Lund was born Zoë Tamerlis[1] on February 9, 1962[3] to mother Barbara Lekberg, an American sculptor of Swedish descent,[2][5] and a father of Romanian descent. She dropped out of college.[1]


At a young age, Lund was an accomplished composer/musician; but the power of celluloid took a firmer grasp. "I could write a concerto with 17 violins that could be very powerful, but film works on a more visceral level where I can go into the collective audience and make sure my point gets across."[6] Lund was also a pianist.[2]

Ms .45[edit]

Lund made her debut in Abel Ferrara's Ms .45 (1981). She was only 17 years old during the making of the film.[6][7]

Lund said in an interview that she had a lot of input manifesting the character: "In the beginning stages of the film, the only material that existed was vague descriptions of several scenes. Being that my face is on camera, without dialogue, for something like 98% of the time, I was involved very much. As to the film being pro-woman, I go beyond that by saying that the film is as much pro-woman as it is pro-garment worker, whatever."[6]

"In any case, Miss Tamerlis's exoticism is of the fashion-magazine kind, as opposed to the real kind," Janet Maslin wrote in her review of the film. "So she isn't very frightening, and neither is much of what she does."[8]

Although it was not an immediate success, Ms .45 eventually became a cult film in later years.

1980s work[edit]

Not wanting to become part of what she called "Abel's stable" she marked her own career path.[6]

Three years after Ms .45 was released in 1981, Lund got her second chance to star in a movie, this time in a role that required her to play two different roles. Special Effects was written and directed by Larry Cohen. In it he cast Lund as a wannabe starlet who is murdered on film by a fallen director portrayed by Eric Bogosian, who then finds a lookalike to take her place in the movie he decides to make around the snuff footage. As the starlet, Lund's voice was dubbed by another actress, meaning it wasn't until an hour into her second movie that audiences finally got to hear her distinctly New Yorker inflections (Lund's character in Ms. 45 was mute).[9][3][4][10]

Lund also appeared in an episode of Miami Vice, which was directed by Paul Michael Glaser and titled "Prodigal Son". She later appeared in The Houseguest (1989) and Temístocles López's Exquisite Corpses (1989).[6][9][2][3] Lund even appeared in the ABC series, Hothouse.[2]

Bad Lieutenant[edit]

Despite not wanting to become part of what she calls "Abel's stable",[6] Lund collaborated with Ferrara again on Bad Lieutenant (1992), which she co-wrote.[11][12][13] Lund also agreed to appear in the film, playing the woman who helps Harvey Keitel's title character freebase some heroin.

According to Lund, "There was a lot of rewriting done on the set. Two other characters were cut, and my character modulated and took on more and more. A lot of things had to be changed and improvised. The vampire speech – which is crucial to the Lieutenant – was written two minutes before it was shot. I memorized it and did it in one take. The speech is important because she is acute in knowing the journey the Lieutenant makes. She shoots him up, sends him off, knowing of his passion, she lets him go."[6]

Lund said in an interview that Bad Lieutenant was the most personal film she had ever acted in.[6] She also claims in another interview that she wrote the screenplay all by herself.[14] She also claimed that she co-directed several scenes in Bad Lieutenant.[15]

Later career[edit]

As a director, Lund made two shorts: The Innocent Tribunal (1986) and Hot Ticket (1996).[2] She also wrote the pilot episode of FBI: The Untold Stories.[2]

Lund worked on unproduced screenplays about famous junkies such as John Holmes and Gia Carangi.[9] Lund attempted to publish several novels, including Curfew: USA and 490: A Trilogy and Kingdom for a Horse.[1][6][2] A film adaptation of Curfew: USA and the screenplay about Holmes were both projects that Ferrara had considered filming.[2] Other unproduced screenplays that have been credited as Lund's works included Last Night of Summer and Free Will and Testament.[2]

Although she had never met supermodel Gia Carangi, she was working on a biographical screenplay of Carangi's life at the time of her death, and she appeared posthumously in the documentary The Self-Destruction of Gia.[3]

According to Abel Ferrara: "...one time in the 90s, we were going to try to do Pasolini's story but only with Zoe as Pasolini; a female director living the life that Pasolini lived." However, her death led to a fifteen-year hiatus with the project until Ferrara's film Pasolini (2014) was released.[16] In 1996, Lund also wrote the first draft of New Rose Hotel (1998).[2]

Personal life and death[edit]


Lund lived and worked under many names such as Vanessa Lancaster and Tamara Tamarind.[1]

Drug addiction[edit]

Lund was unapologetic about her heroin addiction. She wrote at length about heroin and advocated it for legal recreational use in the USA, as well as romanticized its effects.[9] "She loved heroin, she was killed by heroin," Ferrara said on her heroin addiction. "...Zoe was one of these people who thought heroin was the greatest thing in the world, and she did until the day she died. She was down on coke, down on everything, but you know, heroin was the elixir of life for her."[7]

"I've known a lot of serious drug users," Richard Hell, a friend of Lund's, recalled in 2002, "but Zoë was Queen. You've got to admire someone as committed to it as she was. She didn't just LOVE heroin, she believed in it."[1]


Lund said in an interview, "...I never lost my religion. I have always had a certain increasing awareness of religion...I do believe that the Gospel is the ultimate story. What is amazing about the book is that over the millennia, the gospel has become so refined to the point where the Christ story does present a very refined and highly charged model for the search for truth. We can use the book as a basis for our own path to spirituality and grace."[6]


From 1979 to 1986, she was the companion of Edouard de Laurot.[1][17] Both David Scott Milton and Jonas Mekas claim that Laurot co-wrote most of the screenplay of Bad Lieutenant.[1][17][18] Laurot also co-wrote Lund's book Curfew: USA.[1] After Laurot's death in 1993, and before Lund's in 1999, the latter bequeathed the manuscript of a novel the former had written to Mekas.[18]

In 1986, Lund started dating her future namesake husband, Robert Lund. They lived together in an apartment located on 10th Street, and according to Paul Rachman, the Lunds reportedly owned "dozens of roaming pet rats." The couple were married later that same year. Although they never got divorced, Lund and her husband separated in 1997 when the former moved to Paris where she lived with "her new boyfriend" until her death in 1999.[1][5]


Lund died in Paris on April 16, 1999 of heart failure, due to extended cocaine use, which replaced her long-term heroin use after her move to Paris in 1997.[6][3][4][5][19][20] She was 37.[9][2][4]


In 2007, experimental group Bodega System released the album "Blood Pyx". The cover features Zoë as photographed by her widower, Robert Lund. In the early 2000s, American Hardcore director Paul Rachman made two documentary shorts about Lund's life: Zoe XO (2004) and Zoe Rising (2009). In the former short, Robert Lund discusses their relationship, while in the latter Zoë's mother Barbara Lekberg focuses more on her childhood.[5]

Abel Ferrara said of Lund in a 2012 interview, "Zoe was a brilliant, creative person before the drugs, the drugs just killed her."[7]


Year Film Role Notes
1981 Ms. 45 Thana Credited as Zoë Tamerlis
Alternative title: Angel of Vengeance
1984 Special Effects Andrea Wilcox/Elaine Credited as Zoe Tamerlis
Terror in the Aisles Thana Archival footage
1989 The Houseguest Marla Credited as Zoe Tamerlaine
Exquisite Corpses Belinda Maloney Credited as Zoë Tamerlis
1992 Bad Lieutenant Zoe Writer
1993 Hot Ticket Director, writer
1994 Hand Gun Zelda
Dreamland Caroline
Year Title Role Notes
1985 Miami Vice Miranda 1 episode
1988 Hothouse Chickie 7 episodes


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rubinstein, Raphael (September 2014). "MISSING FOOTAGE". The White Review. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Claire Perkins, Constantine Verevis (2012). Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0230371949.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Zoë Lund (Tamerlis)". filmfanatics.net. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Angel of Vengeance, Casualty of Obsession: Zoe Tamerlis". May 1, 2009. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Macaulay, Scott (November 1, 2011). "FILMMAKER PAUL RACHMAN REMEMBERS ZOE LUND". Filmmaker. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Zoe Tamerlis Lund interview
  7. ^ a b c Walker, Luke (March 15, 2012). "Breaking Bad: The Second Coming of Abel Ferrara". Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (May 15, 1981). "FILM: 'MS. 45,' A WOMAN DOING A 'DEATH WISH' JOB". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e Mott, Allan (November 7, 2012). "Pretty in the Past: Zoë Lund". Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Zoe Tamerlis on Ms. 45 on YouTube
  11. ^ "Mr. Beaks Gets Gutshot By Abel Ferrara's Grindhouse Classic MS. 45!". Ain't It Cool News. December 17, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  12. ^ Romano, Stephen (April 20, 2015). "Stephen Romano's RETRO 13 – Ms. 45". Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  13. ^ Weldon, Michael (1996). The Psychotronic Video Guide To Film. Macmillan. ISBN 9780312131494.
  14. ^ Zoe Tamerlis on the script of "Bad Lieutenant" on YouTube
  15. ^ Zoe Tamerlis on drugs and sex in "Bad Lieutenant" on YouTube
  16. ^ Vestby, Ethan (December 9, 2013). "Abel Ferrara on Artistic Freedom, Collaboration, 'Ms. 45,' Pier Paolo Pasolini & More". Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  17. ^ a b Milton, David Scott (September 13, 2014). "Edouard de Laurot, Film Genius and Lunatic". Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Edouard De Laurot
  19. ^ "Zoë Lund And Bad Lieutenant". May 7, 2009. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  20. ^ Meyers, Ric (2011). For One Week Only: The World of Exploitation Films. Eirini Press. ISBN 9780979998935.

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