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Anita Pallenberg

Anita Pallenberg
Born (1944-04-06) 6 April 1944 [1]
Rome, Italy
Residence London, England[2]
Occupation Actress; fashion designer; artist; former model
Partner(s) Keith Richards (1967–1979)
Children Marlon Richards
Angela (Dandelion) Richards
Tara Richards (deceased)

Anita Pallenberg (born 6 April 1944) is an Italian-born actress, model, and fashion designer. She was the romantic partner of Rolling Stones multi-instrumentalist and guitarist Brian Jones and later the partner of Keith Richards, the guitarist of the same band, from 1967 to 1979, by whom she has two children.


  • Early life 1
  • Romantic involvements 2
  • Children 3
  • Influence on the Rolling Stones 4
  • Cleared of manslaughter 5
  • Film and fashion 6
  • Filmography 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Pallenberg was born on 6 April 1944 in German-occupied Rome, the daughter of Arnaldo Pallenberg, an Italian sales agent, amateur singer and hobbyist painter and Paula Wiederhold, a German secretary. Anita became fluent in four languages at an early age and studied medicine, picture restoration and graphic design without achieving a degree.[3] Before settling in London, she lived in Germany, her native Rome, as well as New York City, where she was involved with the Living Theatre, starring in the play Paradise Now, which featured on-stage nudity, and Andy Warhol's Factory.[2]

Romantic involvements

Pallenberg is known for her romantic involvement with Rolling Stones band members Brian Jones, whom she met in 1965 in Munich, where she was working on a modelling assignment,[4] and Keith Richards, for whom she left Jones in 1967 while on holiday in Morocco after Jones' violent behaviour towards Pallenberg.[5] She remained in a relationship with Richards until 1980 although they never married. There were rumours that she also had a brief affair with Mick Jagger during the filming of Performance, and Keith Richards states in his autobiography Life that it happened.[6] However, Pallenberg denied the affair in March 2007 when Performance was released on DVD.[7]


Pallenberg and Richards together had three children: son Marlon Leon Sundeep (born 10 August 1969), daughter Angela (her middle name, which she chose to go by after initially being named and called Dandelion by her parents), born 17 April 1972), and a second son, Tara Jo Jo Gunne (26 March – 6 June 1976), who died in his cot 10 weeks after birth.

Influence on the Rolling Stones

Author A. E. Hotchner mentions Pallenberg's influence on the development and presentation of the Rolling Stones from the late 1960s and through the 1970s.[8] She played an unusual role in the male-dominated world of rock music in the late 1960s, acting as much more than just a groupie or partner of a band member. Jagger respected her opinion enough that tracks on Beggars Banquet were remixed when Pallenberg criticised them.[8] In the 2002 compilation release of Forty Licks, Pallenberg is credited as singing background vocals on "Sympathy for the Devil".

Tony Sanchez's account of his time as Richards's bodyguard and drug dealer mentions Pallenberg's strange spiritual practices: "She was obsessed with black magic and began to carry a string of garlic with her everywhere — even to bed — to ward off vampires. She also had a strange mysterious old shaker for holy water which she used for some of her rituals. Her ceremonies became increasingly secret, and she warned me never to interrupt her when she was working on a spell."[9] Sanchez goes on to describe Anita as having been "like a life-force, a woman so powerful, so full of strength and determination that men came to lean on her".[10]

Richards says she shared his addiction to heroin;[11] she was charged first in the 1977 Toronto heroin arrest that led to Richards being arrested on charges that could have led to a lengthy prison sentence. A warrant for Pallenberg's arrest was the reason police came to search the pair's hotel rooms; she pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and was fined, several weeks after Richards's arrest.[12]

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.[13] In a 1985 Rolling Stone interview, Mick Jagger claimed that Pallenberg "nearly killed me",[14] when he was asked whether the Rolling Stones had any responsibility for the personal drug addictions of people close to the band.

Singer Marianne Faithfull, Jagger's girlfriend in the late 1960s, remained a friend of Pallenberg's. 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.

Cleared of manslaughter

In 1979, a 17-year-old boy, Scott Cantrell, shot himself in the head with a gun owned by Keith Richards, while in Pallenberg's bed, at the South Salem, New York house shared by Richards and Pallenberg. The youth had been employed as a part-time groundskeeper at the estate and was involved in a sexual relationship with Pallenberg. Richards was in Paris recording with the Rolling Stones but his son was at the house when the teen killed himself. Pallenberg was arrested; however, the death was ruled a suicide in 1980, despite rumours that Pallenberg and Cantrell had been playing a game of Russian roulette. The police investigation stated that Pallenberg was not in the room or on the same floor of the house at the time the fatal shot was fired.[1]

Film and fashion

Pallenberg has appeared in more than a dozen films over a forty-year span. Most notably, she appeared as The Great Tyrant in Roger Vadim's 1968 cult-classic sci-fi film Barbarella, and as the sleeper wife of Michel Piccoli in the film Dillinger Is Dead (1969), directed by Marco Ferreri. She also had roles in the German crime thriller A Degree of Murder (1967) which featured music by Brian Jones, the cult film Candy (1968) as James Coburn's possessive nurse, Volker Schlöndorff's Michael Kohlhaas – Der Rebell which was filmed in Slovakia in 1969, and the 1970 avant-garde Performance in which she played the role of Pherber (actually filmed in 1968 but not released for two years).

Pallenberg appeared in a 1968 documentary about the Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil, directed by French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. In a March 2007 interview, she related her encounters in Rome in 1960, while La Dolce Vita was being filmed, with Italian filmmakers such as Federico Fellini, Alberto Moravia, Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini.[15] In 1985 for the video of "Wild Boys" Duran Duran used the clip of Pallenberg from Barbarella.

Pallenberg has been portrayed in popular film and television. Monet Mazur played a young Pallenberg in the 2005 film Stoned, a biographical film about the last year of Brian Jones' life. In 2006 the NBC television show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip included a story arc in which the character Harriet Hayes was hired to play Pallenberg in a film.

Pallenberg studied fashion design as a mature student at Central Saint Martins in London; she graduated in 1994.[2] She now divides her time between New York City and Europe, and sporadically appears in public as a party DJ. Pallenberg has five grandchildren.



  1. ^ a b Charone, Barbara. Keith Richards: Life As a Rolling Stone. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1982
  2. ^ a b c Barber, Lynn (24 February 2008). "Lady Rolling Stone". The Observer. Retrieved 26 October 2008. 
  3. ^ Wyman, Bill. Stone Alone. p. 409.  
  4. ^ Bill Wyman. Stone Alone. pp. 409–410
  5. ^ Bill Wyman. Stone Alone. pp. 491–495
  6. ^ Richards, Keith.  Richards, Keith. Life. 2010
  7. ^ Sullivan, Chris (23 March 2007). "Performance: Anita Pallenberg talks about the notorious Sixties film". The Independent. .
  8. ^ a b Hotchner, A.E. Blown Away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990
  9. ^ Sanchez, Tony. Up & Down with the Rolling Stones. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996 (originally 1980)
  10. ^ Sanchez, 116
  11. ^ Richards, Keith. Life. Back Bay Books, 2010, p. 380.
  12. ^ Sandford, Christopher. Keith Richards: Satisfaction, Carroll & Graf: New York, 2003, p. 227
  13. ^ "Keith Richards – Interview". Rolling Stone (magazine) 12 November 1981.
  14. ^ "Mick Jagger Steps Out – Interview". Rolling Stone (magazine) 14 February 1985
  15. ^ Anita Pallenberg's interview with The Independent 16 March 2007

External links

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