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Anita Pallenberg
Anita Pallenberg and son in Milan, 1970.jpg
Pallenberg and her son in 1970
Born (1942-04-06)6 April 1942
Rome, Italy
Died 13 June 2017(2017-06-13) (aged 75)
Occupation Actress, artist, model
Gabriel Roux
(m. 1982)
Children 3

Anita Pallenberg (6 April 1942 – 13 June 2017) was a German-Italian actress, artist, and model. A style icon and "It Girl" of the 1960s and 1970s, Pallenberg was credited as the muse of the Rolling Stones: she was the romantic partner of the Rolling Stones founder, multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, and later, from 1967 to 1980, the partner of Stones guitarist Keith Richards, with whom she had three children.

Early life

Pallenberg was born on 6 April 1942 in Rome, the daughter of Arnold "Arnaldo" Pallenberg, a German-Italian sales agent, amateur singer, and hobbyist painter, and Paula Wiederhold, a German embassy secretary. The family was separated because of World War II, and she did not see her father until she was three years old. Her father later sent her to a boarding school in Germany so that she would learn the language. She became fluent in four languages at an early age.

Pallenberg was expelled from school when she was 16, after which she spent time in Rome with the Dolce Vita crowd, and then went to New York City to hang out with Andy Warhol's Factory. She then began her career as a fashion model in Paris. She studied medicine, picture restoration and graphic design without ever completing a degree. Before settling in London, she had lived in Germany and her native Rome, as well as in New York City, where she was active in the Living Theatre, starring in the play Paradise Now.

Film and fashion

Pallenberg appeared in over a dozen films over a 40-year span. One of her first appearances was as the Great Tyrant in Roger Vadim's science fiction film Barbarella (1968); however, the character's actual voice was dubbed by Joan Greenwood. She played the sleeper wife of Michel Piccoli in Dillinger Is Dead (1969), directed by Marco Ferreri. Pallenberg also had roles in the German crime thriller A Degree of Murder (1967), which featured music composed by Brian Jones; the cult film Candy (1968) as James Coburn's possessive nurse; Volker Schlöndorff's Michael Kohlhaas – Der Rebell (1969), which was filmed in Slovakia; and the avant-garde Performance (1970), in which she played the role of Pherber. Performance was shot in 1968, but a nervous studio delayed its release.

Pallenberg appeared in a documentary about the Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil (1968), directed by French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. In an interview she gave The Independent, which published it on 16 March 2007, she related her encounters in Rome while La Dolce Vita (1960) was being filmed, with its director Federico Fellini, other filmmakers such as Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini, and with the novelist Alberto Moravia.

In 1985, for the video of "Wild Boys," Duran Duran used a clip of Pallenberg from Barbarella. She portrayed "The Queen" in the comedy-drama Mister Lonely by Harmony Korine, and played a character named Sin in Go Go Tales (both 2007).

In the 1990s, Pallenberg returned to education to study fashion. She graduated from Central Saint Martins in London in 1994 with a fashion and textile degree. However, she decided not to forge ahead with a career in fashion, finding it too cut-throat and cruel.

The Rolling Stones

Romantic relationships

Pallenberg is known for her romantic involvement with Rolling Stones band members Brian Jones and later Keith Richards. Pallenberg first met the band in 1965 in Munich, where she was working on a modelling assignment. Jones spoke German and they began a friendship that turned into a two-year relationship. She ended her relationship with Jones in 1967.

She began a relationship with Keith Richards. It lasted until 1980, although they never married. She was trying to raise their two young children but Richards was up all night and slept all day. In 1981, after Richards and Pallenberg had split up, Richards stated that he still loved Pallenberg and saw her as much as he ever did, although he had already met his future wife, Patti Hansen.

There were rumours that Pallenberg also had a brief affair with Mick Jagger during the filming of Performance and Keith Richards states in his autobiography Life that it happened. However, Pallenberg denied the affair, both in March 2007 when Performance was released on DVD and again during an interview in 2008.

Influence on the Rolling Stones

Pallenberg's burgeoning relationship with Jones helped renew his confidence and encourage him to experiment musically as the band were recording their 1966 album Aftermath, while her intelligence and sophistication both intimidated and elicited envy from the other Stones. Pallenberg played an unusual role in the male-dominated world of rock music in the late 1960s, with Jagger respecting her opinion enough for tracks on Beggars Banquet to be remixed after she criticised them. In the 2002 compilation release of Forty Licks, Pallenberg is credited as singing background vocals on "Sympathy for the Devil".

Pallenberg spent a lot of time with singer Marianne Faithfull, Jagger's girlfriend in the late 1960s, who remained a friend of Pallenberg. They appeared together in the fourth series (2001) of the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous in episode four, "Donkey", with Faithfull playing God and Pallenberg the Devil.

Personal life

Pallenberg and Richards together had three children: son Marlon Leon Sundeep (born 10 August 1969), daughter Dandelion Angela (who goes by her middle name; born 17 April 1972), and a son Tara Jo Jo Gunne (26 March – 6 June 1976). Tara Jo Jo died in his cot ten weeks after birth; the cause of death has been stated as SIDS or pneumonia.

After Tara Jo Jo's death, Keith's mother blamed Pallenberg and said she was an unfit mother, and took Angela to live with her. Pallenberg raised Marlon mostly on the road with the band, teaching him to read and write. When Marlon was eight, she moved into a house on Long Island, New York, so he could have a more routine life and go to school. In later years, she lived principally in Chelsea, London, spending winters in Jamaica.


Pallenberg died on 13 June 2017, aged 75, due to complications from hepatitis C. She is survived by her two children and five grandchildren.


  • A Degree of Murder (Mord und Totschlag, 1967) as Marie
  • Wonderwall (1968) as Girl at Party (uncredited)
  • Barbarella (1968) as The Great Tyrant
  • Candy (1968) as Nurse Bullock
  • Dillinger Is Dead (Dillinger è morto, 1969) as Ginette
  • Michael Kohlhaas – Der Rebell (1969) as Katrina – Marketenderin
  • Performance (1970) as Pherber
  • Umano non umano (1972, Documentary)
  • Le berceau de cristal (The Crystal Cradle) (1976)
  • Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998) as Casino
  • Absolutely Fabulous (2001, Episode: "Donkey") as Devil
  • Mister Lonely (2007) as The Queen
  • Go Go Tales (2007) as Sin
  • Cheri (2009) as La Copine
  • Stones in Exile (2010, Documentary) as Herself
  • 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011) as Sky's Mother (final film role)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Anita Pallenberg para niños

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