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Friday, October 23, 2009


Everybody knows the movie “Mahogany” (1975) and its cult hit song starring Diana Ross in a story of an aspiring fashion designer who becomes a runway model and the toast of the industry. Although the film was a box office success the critics hated it! “Time” chastised fill in director Berry Gordy for "squandering one of America's most natural resources: Diana Ross". In hindsight the movie is alright and gives us a good view of the fashion industry and Rome in the mid 70’s.

What not many people know is that Marisa Mell also played a part in this movie as Carlotta Gavina owner of an important Italian fashion modeling agency with the same name situated in Rome where the model Mahogany (Diana Ross) hopes to start a new career. Although Marisa Mell had only a few scenes in the movie it was quite a boost for her filmography but unfortunately she was not able to profit from this part in the following years in getting more substantial film jobs! Another cult actor in this movie is Anthony Perkins, notorious as Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). He plays a fashion photographer in Rome falling in love with Mahogany. According to Marisa Mell, she had as a young women, like so many other girls during that time, a crush on Anthony Perkins. In 1963, before her move to Rome, Marisa Mell was invited to a Film Festival in Buenos Aires (Brasil) to promote her then movie “Venusberg” which was quite a success in that city running more than 46 weeks at the local theater. So the German embassy invited Marisa Mell to honor a party in her name by inviting several A-list actors like Janet Leigh, Kirk Douglas, Cathérine Deneuve… Among the guests was also Anthony Perkins. Although Marisa Mell did not know that he was there at the beginning of the evening she quickly noticed the very handsome actor in the room. So being the host of the party it was not difficult for her to make contact with him in the hope to get to know him better and maybe even a little bit more. But to her dismay, Anthony Perkins was not interested in the beautiful young actress. He only had eyes for another man in that room: the Spanish actor Julian Mateos. Every trick in the book known by her was used in trying to seduce Perkins but it was to no avail. Julian Mateos was the object of his desire, not Marisa Mell. Marisa Mell claims that she also had a short affaire with the Spanish actor at that moment and that her body language was enough to warn Perkins that Julian Mateos was off limits for him. After this encounter Marisa Mell always thought that Anthony Perkins was gay untill she met him again in Rome on the set of Mahogany. Great was her surprise again, more than ten years later, when the actor showed up with his young wife Berry Berenson, sister of actress Marisa Berenson, mother of his two children.


Keith said...

I saw the movie as a kid. I enjoyed it back then. Haven't seen it since then though. I gave your blog an award in my post for Monday on my Sugar & Spice blog.

Anonymous said...

Her only US production -- a camp classic! (One reviewer called Marisa a "schlock actress" and wrote, "Ironically, the film's first lines, 'You're a real success! Success!', were spoken by an actress who never experienced any.") I like the movie, and Marisa tried to make the best of her unworthy part. She plays Carlotta Gavina with grace and self-irony.

sinnlighet said...

yes yes me like, this is a coooool blog!!

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