Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Actress/model Marisa Berenson

Marisa Berenson is one of those women who's been able to distinguish herself as an actress and as a model.

The daughter of American career diplomat Robert Berenson and a second cousin once removed of art expert Bernard Berenson, as well as the granddaughter of Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, Marisa Berenson came from a rather regal pedigree that prepared her for the world of high fashion and high cinematic art.

After a successful modeling career in the 1960s, she appeared in some pretty classy movies, playing the wife of Gustav von Aschenbach's wife in Luchino Visconti's 1971 movie Death in Venice, Jewish department store heiress Natalia Landauer in the 1972 film version of the musical Cabaret, and Lady Lyndon in Stanley Kubrick's 1975 movie Barry Lyndon.  More recently, she played textile-manufacturing matriarch Allegra Recchi in the 2009 Italian movie I Am Love, which also starred Tilda Swinton. 

Her sister Berinthia, who married actor Anthony Perkins, also became an actress and model, as well as a photographer, but Berinthia "Berry" Berenson is sadly remembered for another reason; she was on the jet airliner that al-Qaeda suicide hijackers flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  Marisa, coincidentally, was flying from Paris to New York that day, and her plane was diverted to Canada.  Of Berry's death, she said, "I have hope and tremendous faith. I think that's what gets you through life . . . through tragedies is when you have faith."

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