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Ira von Fürstenberg, Jet-Setting Princess and Actress, Dies at 83

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Ira von Fürstenberg, who got here as shut as one can get to having all of it as an Italian-born princess descended from Charlemagne, an heiress to the Fiat fortune, a Vogue mannequin, a big-screen ingénue and a globe-trotting bon vivant, died on Feb. 19 at her house in Rome. She was 83.

Her son, Hubertus von Hohenlohe, stated she died after breaking her ribs and perforating her lungs in a home accident.

Mixing the gilded privilege of the old-world European aristocracy with the élan of the midcentury movie and trend peerage, Ms. von Fürstenberg seemingly outlined the time period “jet setter,” bouncing between houses in Rome, London, Paris, Madrid and the shores of Lake Geneva.

“My solely actual house is on airplanes,” she stated. “I spend a lot time going from nation to nation that my kids suspect that I’m actually a flight attendant.”

She shared a surname with the famend dressmaker, Diane von Fürstenberg, who married the princess’s dressmaker brother, Egon, in 1969. “After I first met Egon, she was the famous sister,” Diane instructed Ladies’s Put on Day by day final month. “She had gotten married in Venice and was a film star.”

The princess flaunted each noble lineage and seemingly inexhaustible wealth from her mom, Clara, who was a granddaughter of Giovanni Agnelli, who based Fiat, and a sister of Gianni Agnelli, the dashing Fiat chief.

Her house in Paris was even fitted with strong gold tub faucets, as a result of, as she as soon as put it, “all people has to see one thing lovely within the morning with a purpose to have a superb day.”

Even so, Ms. von Fürstenberg was something however content material to settle into a lifetime of pampered indolence.

In her many careers, she posed for fashion shoots with luminary photographers like Irving Penn and Helmut Newton; walked the runway sporting a Mondrian costume by Yves Saint Laurent; appeared in movies with the actors Peter Lawford and Donald Pleasence; served as an govt for Valentino; and later turned an artist herself, exhibiting in museums ornamental objects normal from bronze, rock crystal and semiprecious stones.

Fame got here early to Ms. von Fürstenberg. At 15, she made headlines on either side of the Atlantic when she married the Spanish-born prince and playboy Alfonso Hohenlohe-Langenburg, affectionately often known as the King of Golf equipment for his work founding the Marbella Membership, a haven for stars and socialites, on Spain’s Costa del Sol.

Due to her younger age she wanted a particular dispensation from Pope Pius XII to marry the prince, who was 31, but there was little, if any, sniff of scandal. In reality, she graced the duvet of Life journal on Oct. 17, 1955, for what the journal deemed “the marriage of the yr.”

“All the weather of a medieval romance have been current for the marriage — the tapestried palaces, the tiaraed women, the presents of pricey silver and priceless jewels,” the journal reported.

Accompanying photographs confirmed the princess in a lace bridal robe, laughing joyously alongside the neatly mustached groom as they led a flotilla of greater than 100 adorned gondolas by the canals of Venice. The celebration lasted greater than two weeks, luring 400 European aristocrats.

Their union yielded glittering events around the globe and mingling among the many trend and artwork elite, together with Salvador Dalí — who requested the newly wedded princess to pose nude, a request that she and her husband shortly rejected. They’d two sons, Christoph, who died in Thailand in 2006, and Hubertus, a former Olympic skier for Mexico.

However the good instances wouldn’t final. In 1960, the couple drew significantly much less fawning press when the princess took up with Francisco Pignatari, often known as Child, a Brazilian industrialist and notorious playboy.

An article in Life that yr, headlined “A Princess’s Fairly Pickle,” reported that Ms. von Fürstenberg was “dwelling modestly in a 17-room lodge suite in Mexico Metropolis,” the place her husband managed the Volkswagen franchise for the nation.

The prince wouldn’t go quietly. At 4 a.m. someday, the article continued, law enforcement officials banged on the princess’s door to go looking the suite. To the rescue got here Mr. Pignatari, greater than 20 years her senior, who was staying a flooring above her. He was briefly jailed on prices of adultery, however the prices have been shortly dropped for lack of proof.

Because the couple spiraled towards divorce, the prince at one level absconded with the kids, dressing them in wigs to disguise them as women. The princess countered with a good-looking reward to seek out them.

Nonetheless chivalrous the Brazilian mogul’s intentions in the course of the lodge raid, their love didn’t final, both. The couple married in Reno, Nev., in 1961 and divorced three years later.

“She had received caught up in a person’s world as half a toddler,” Hubertus later stated.

Her survivors embody her son, Hubertus.

Virginia Carolina Theresa Pancrazia Galinda von und zu Fürstenberg was born on April 17, 1940, in Rome. Her father, Prince Tassilo Fürstenberg, traced his lineage to the German Home of Fürstenberg; her mom was descended from scions of Italian trade.

Throughout World Warfare II, the household ducked hostilities by transferring to Lausanne, Switzerland, later settling in Venice. Educated at boarding colleges in Switzerland and England, the princess was making public appearances by 13, serving as a swimwear mannequin for a household pal, the Italian designer Emilio Pucci. Two years later, the photographer Cecil Beaton would seize a portrait of her with flowers in her hair.

After the turmoil of her marriages, Ms. von Fürstenberg met the movie producer Dino De Laurentiis on a flight in 1966. Mr. De Laurentiis was intrigued by her potential as an actress and shortly had her underneath contract.

The following yr, she co-starred in “Dead Run,” an espionage thriller starring Mr. Lawford, and within the Italian spy spoof “Matchless,” starring Patrick O’Neal and Mr. Pleasence.

Not all critics have been charmed by her efficiency, with a overview by Howard Thompson in The New York Instances saying: “An actual, sure-enough member of royalty from the society columns, Princess Ira Fürstenberg, performs a bland, casually clad femme fatale.”

Undeterred, she went on to make greater than two dozen screen appearances into the early Nineteen Eighties, though she later stated she wished she had been seen as greater than a tawny-eyed temptress. “Administrators solely take a look at my navel, and producers solely take a look at my title,” she as soon as stated. Her greatest alternative at a breakout function, in “Brother Solar, Sister Moon,” Franco Zeffirelli’s 1972 epic about St. Francis of Assisi, was snipped from the movie’s ultimate lower.

Nonetheless, she stated in a 2019 interview with Sotheby’s, she had no regrets about her years in movie.

“I’ll not have been that successful,” she added, “however I had a good time with my great companions, and tales of that point are so many who I can not bear in mind.”

Close to the tip of her life, she regarded again with comparable fondness towards her time in trend, mingling with mates like Diana Vreeland, the storied trend editor, and the designer Karl Lagerfeld, who typically stayed along with her in her Swiss villa.

Along with her closets stuffed with designer garments, she by no means stopped presenting herself in a fashion befitting a princess.

As she recalled in a 2019 interview with Vogue: “My father used to say, ‘One should cowl oneself.’”