Anita Pallenberg, Actress and Longtime Girlfriend of Keith Richards, Dies at 75

Keith Richards Anita Pallenberg and Baby
Ilpo Musto/REX/Shutterstock

Anita Pallenberg, muse of the Rolling Stones and longtime girlfriend of Keith Richards, who appeared in films including Nicolas Roeg’s “Performance,” died Tuesday in Chichester, England. She was 75.

Stella Schnabel, daughter of painter Julian Schnabel, reported her death on Instagram. “Thank you for the most important lessons,” wrote Schnabel.

An Italian-German actress, model, and fashion designer, Pallenberg was known as an icon of 1960s style. She was said to have an important influence on several Rolling Stones albums, and described herself as “A vagabond. An adventurer. I am not a person with one specific talent. I wish I was.”

Her film roles included playing the Great Tyrant in Roger Vadim’s “Barbarella,” a nurse in cult film “Candy,” and in “Performance.”

In her later years, she took classes in textiles, designed clothes, gardened, and painted. She also appeared in an episode of “Absolutely Fabulous” with Mick Jagger’s one-time girlfriend and fellow fashion inspiration Marianne Faithfull, with whom she remained close.

She met Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones while modelling in 1965 and left him in 1967 for Richards after Jones became unstable and violent. Jones died in 1969.

Pallenberg and Richards remained a couple until 1980, and they had three children together: Marlon, Angela, and Tara, who died in infancy. Richards has said that they were both addicted to heroin and Pallenberg was charged in the 1977 Toronto drug arrest; the pair went to rehab rather than prison.

Richards tweeted Wednesday that she would be “always in my heart.”

She was briefly Mick Jagger’s lover, a relationship which reportedly took place during the production of “Performance.”

Pallenberg is survived by her two children and five grandchildren.

This story was updated 6/14 with place of death and correct age.

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    1. Marie says:

      I don’t want to be insensitive, but could you publish the autopsy report, too?

      Since her age (75, not 73 as first reported) wasn’t right, maybe her cause of death isn’t right, too?

      Thanks.

    2. Keith Potter (Hersham boy) says:

      A real loss to people of my generation. That’s a war baby,same age as the Stones.

    3. Patricia says:

      I was always infatuated with the life of Anita Pallenberg. She seemed to be in the drivers seat, and managed her situation as well as anyone could. Only drugs stole some of her power. I was 15 or 16 when I heard about Anita, and that she was with Brian Jones, my rock crush at the time. i switched my interest to beautiful Keith, but so did that force of nature, Anita. I’m glad to hear that he took care of her at the end – it was the right thing to do. He was her husband even if they never officially married. She must have been as fabulous as she as beautiful, because she was deeply loved by two amazing men. She was a rock muse on the scale of Pattie Boyd, I’m sorry she didn’t write her autobiography – but those were her memories to share or hold onto. She always looked happy, with Brian or with Keith.

    4. Victoria Sayers says:

      Anita was a personality of a social/ musical/artistic period of our history. We all know if her affairs with Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, and her long term relationships with Keith Richards and heroin. She found ways in the 60’s to get lots of drugs legally in countries like Morocco. She mothered three children with Keith. She also contributed to movies, style, and modeling. Whatever the cause of death, a piece of our history is gone. Let the woman rest in peace, please.

    5. Thomas says:

      Sorry for your loss i worked with the stones two tours in americasilver eagle and in jkvl fl
      Under jet set RIP

    6. David says:

      She probably died of a heroin overdose & they try to cover it up somehow. Her late friend Nikki Sudden died of a heroin overdose a few years ago, too. Once an addict, always an addict. Why can’t they just tell the truth? By ‘protecting’ a false image of these famous junkies, they only contribute to drug addiction. Heroin & other hard drugs are on the rise again.

      • The Truth says:

        David: Once an ignorant ass, always an ignorant ass.

      • Steve says:

        David i feel very sorry for you, to think that you know what you are talking about. When you die they might say died from HIV from your infected lover??? No its not once a addict always a addict.Like Jeffery said wait for the facts as thought is not a fact!

      • Jeffrey K. says:

        Until you know the facts, autopsy reports, save your frigging assumptions to yourself . You obviously don’t know anyone who’s been doing heroin recreationally or addictively, and has overcome, or succumb to the pain of using. MANY do stop, We never forget,what heroin is like, good and bad,especially since it’s in the news daily. And YES , some DO continue life without, others relapse later. Possibly die. Don’t judge till you know the facts. She may have certainly been “carrying on” but she may not have. We don’t need the stigma of always being a Fucking Junkie.

    7. lgall108 says:

      Sorry, *was said to have had.

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