Veteran model and actress, Marisa Berenson is a legendary fashion figure with a widespread career in the film industry. The former supermodel who is now 67 has led iconic cover pages of magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar during her prime days as an esteemed model. One of the highest earning models of her time, the original It-Girl was once dubbed as the girl of the 70s by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. Born on February 15, 1947, Marissa has been living an extravagant and elite life filled with glamour nonetheless she has experienced her share of tragedies.
The eldest daughter of Robert Berenson, a wealthy diplomat, and Countess Maria Luisa Yvonne Radha de Wendt de Kerlor, Marisa hails from New York City. Her aristocrat mother known to the world as Gogo Schiaparelli was well-renowned in the high class social circles. From her mother’s side, Maris is the granddaughter to the larger than life Italian fashion mogul Elsa Schiaparelli. Growing up in such an upper-class household, Marisa enjoyed an aristocratic upbringing which included her being surrounded with several famous names in entertainment like Diana Vreeland who mentored her when she was a young model. Her little sister Berinthia Berenson was equally accomplished as a fashion photographer. Her demise during the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 was a devastating blow to Marisa. She had lost her father when she was sixteen and just beginning to step into modeling. She is the mother to Starlite Melody Randall and has been married twice. Her daughter’s father, James Randall married her in 1976. She remarried in 1982 to Aaron Richard Golub whom she separated from in 1987.
Marisa was in her prime all through the 60s and 70s. At the age of sixteen, she became the cover girl for Vogue with help from her long-time family friend, Diana Vreeland, who introduced her to modeling after she set out to New York to chase her dreams. Since then she became a fierce figure in modeling and was unstoppable. She became the favorite muse to big photographers like Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn and David Bailey. Previously she had appeared in ELLE Magazine with Berry donning her designer grandmother Elsa Schiaparelli’s dresses when she was five. Her first magazine appearance can be traced back to her baptism when the ceremony was featured by Vogue. The only person who seemed to not want to see Marisa as a model was her grandmother who wanted her to marry a good man and start a family. Marisa adorned the pages of magazines lavishly, frequently in the nude. In 1971, she transitioned to an actress in Death in Venice and a year later in Cabaret. She was nominated for Golden Globes twice for the later also sweeping nominations for a BAFTA. In 1975, she was seen as Lady Lyndon in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Landon. She also appeared in several other movies especially European and a handful of television movies in America. She starred in the Holocaust movie Playing for Time in 1980. Most recently she appeared on screen in I Am Love in 2010. In 2011, she walked the runway for fashion designer Tom Ford.
Marisa’s journey as a model has been quite prolific. Her life story has enthralled many aspiring fashion models. A detailed account of her glamorous life has been published as the biography, Marisa Berenson: A Life in Pictures by Rizzoli. The book is a visual effort to tell Marisa’s journey as a young model to one of the most accomplished models of her time.
Queen of the Scene in the 1970s, Marisa Berenson is truly an iconic model. Modeling came instinctively to the young woman who grew up privileged. She was the epitome of the modeling industry during the years she worked as a model.