Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Queen of the Scene
Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson was born February 15, 1947 in New York City to Robert L. Berenson and Countess Maria Luisa Yvonne Radha de Wendt de Kerlor better known as Gogo Schiaparelli. Her father was of Lithuanian Jewish descent and her mother was of Italian, Swiss, French, and Egyptian ancestry. Her mother was the daughter of Swiss-French Count Wilhelm de Wendt de Kerlor and fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. She was hugely successful especially in Paris, second only to Coco Chanel. Elsa collaborated with Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau. Marisa followed in the famous steps of her grandmother and came to prominence as a model in the early 1960s. She first appeared on the cover of Vogue in July 1970. This would be the first of many times that she appeared on the cover and in the magazine. Marisa became a favorite at Vogue. She graced the cover of some of the biggest international fashion magazines as well as appearing in various fashion layouts. She was often photographed by her sister, Berry. In December 1975 she appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Her frequent appearances at nightclubs and other social venues gave her the title of Queen of the Scene. Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent dubbed her The Girl of the Seventies. On her fame and successful Marisa remarked, "I once was one of the highest paid models in the world." In 1971 she started an acting career when she stared in the film, Death in Venice. Her breakout role was in the 1972 film Cabaret. She was nominated for two Golden Globes, a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) nomination, and an award from the National Board of Review. Her best known role was as Lady Lyndon in Barry Lyndon (1975). Ms. Berenson also appeared in many European movies and TV series. She also starred in made-for-TV movies in the U.S. In 1978 she guest hosted an episode of The Muppet Show. Along with her beauty and fame came admirers. In the early seventies she became the companion of French banker, David René de Rothschild. She married James Randall, a rivet manufacturer in Beverly Hills California, in 1976. A year later they had a daughter, Starlite Melody Randall. The coupled divorced in 1978, only two years after they married. She remarried in 1985 to Aaron Richard Golub, a lawyer. They divorced in 1987 and the judge ruled that "the increased value of Ms. Berenson's acting and modeling career [during the marriage] were marital property." (I'm not sure what that means but sounds somewhat important. Hehe) On September 11, 2001, Marisa's sister/photographer, Berry was killed in the first flight to hit the World Trade Center. Marisa herself was in an airplane during the terrorist attacks, flying from Paris to New York. Hours later her flight landed in Canada as did many others. Marisa was told of her sister's death during a phone call with her daughter. Talking about the experince Marisa said, "I have hope and tremendous faith. I think that's what gets you through life ... through tragedies is when you have faith." Marisa Berenson is a style icon, a beauty, a strong courageous person, and over all an amazing and wonderful woman.