Worked With:

Tilda Swinton


Ornella Muti


John Malkovich


Jean-Hugues Anglade


Tony Peck


Lucy Gordon


Jeanne Moreau


Benoît Magimel


Carol Alt


Niels Schneider

Marisa Berenson Biography


Home > Actresses > B > Berenson, Marisa > Biography


Birth Name: Marisa Berenson
Born: 02/15/1947
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA


There was always society column interest in Berenson and her sister, Berry, as they were the granddaughters of designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and the grand-nieces of art historian Bernard Berenson (some sources insist they are merely cousins). Berenson's face often graced the pages of VOGUE and in one memorable fashion spread she recreated the famous Josephine Baker jungle woman photo, wearing little more than a belt made of hanging bananas. A shy woman despite her pedigree, Berenson was first seen on film as the woman lost by Dirk Bogarde in "Death in Venice" (1970). She gained recognition in portraying Natalie Landauer, the Jewish department store heiress who comes to Liza Minnelli first for English lessons, then sexual advice, in Bob Fosse's "Cabaret" (1972). In 1975, she was Ryan O'Neal's wife in Stanley Kubrick's visually-stunning "Barry Lyndon" (1975), but subsequent roles in English-language films tapered off and Berenson was more often seen in newspapers and magazines with her friend Diane von Furstenberg, and with Andy Warhol, as well as the Studio 54 and Regine's set. Her marriage to Jimmy Randall was covered extensively by Rona Barrett as well as by Warhol.

Yet, Berenson wanted to act. She appeared on stage in Williamstown and Los Angeles in Philip Barry's "Holiday" in 1980, playing a slightly spoiled heiress. Berenson often turned to TV in the USA for the chance to work more frequently. She was one of the Polish members of the Auschwitz band in "Playing for Time" (CBS, 1980). Berenson appeared in an episode of "Who's the Boss?" (ABC), as an executive who romances Tony. She even appeared in an "ABC Afterschool Special".

By the 90s, Berenson was based in Paris and, with demise of the social whirl of which she had been identified in America, her name was less frequently in the columns. Oddly, or perhaps, ironically, this seemed to give her career a boost. She was cast by Clint Eastwood in "White Hunter, Black Heart" (1990) in a role vaguely based on Katharine Hepburn, played a key role in the Arts & Entertainment six-part 1991 series, "The Hollywood Detective" and was the villainous Katarina in the 1992 Lifetime remake of "Notorious". Berenson also began acting in French and even Dutch films; in 1995 she was Mrs. Schweitzer in "Le Grand blanc de Lambarene", a French biopic about Albert Schweitzer, the French-Alsatian physician who devoted his life to working in the Gabon hinterlands. Two years later, she had a cameo as a wealthy woman who offers a ride to "Tonka", an Indian refuge in France, and played a Sapphic hairdresser in "Elles/Women".