Anita Pallenberg, Actor, Model, and Rolling Stones Inspiration, Dies at 73

Anita Pallenberg, the actress, model and one-time girlfriend of both Keith Richards and Brian Jones has died, the Guardian reports. She was 73.


Pallenberg’s death was announced on Instagram by Stella Schnabel, daughter of Julian Schnabel, the painter and filmmaker. The cause of death is unknown.

Pallenberg was born in Rome in 1944, to an Italian travel agent and a German secretary. She was expelled from German boarding school at 16 and made her way to New York where she fell in with Andy Warhol and the gang at the Factory. Pallenberg’s involvement with the Rolling Stones—the role that she is possibly best-known for—started in 1965, when she and a friend snuck backstage at a concert in Munich. She struck up a romance with guitarist Brian Jones, but eventually left him for Keith Richards.

Richards and Pallenberg never married, but were together from 1967 to 1980 and had three children during their relationship. As a so-called “muse” for the Rolling Stones, Pallenberg wielded considerable influence. She sang back-up on “Sympathy for the Devil,” and her input on the Rolling Stones’s 1968 album “Beggars Banquet” supposedly led Jagger to remix some of its tracks. She also starred opposite Jagger in the 1968 crime drama Performance.


She also appeared in a number of other films, including Barbarella. Later in life, Pallenberg pursued a career in fashion and even flirted with the idea of writing a memoir—something that I would very much like to read, thanks—but worried that whatever she’d write would be too “salacious.” Also, everyone else is writing one, so why on earth should she? Speaking to the Guardian in 2008, she said, “If young Posh Spice can write her autobiography, then I don’t want to write one?!” Completely fair.

While we consider what could’ve been, enjoy this archival footage of Pallenberg stalking about Cannes in a rumpled trench coat and a lot of black eyeliner. It’s not as good as her memoir might have been, but it will have to do.

Senior Writer, Jezebel



I would imagine that when Richards was informed of her desire to write a memoir, he probably threatened her with the ability to summon the infinite power of whatever Dark Lord he sold his soul to to achieve immortality.