Who is Mary Woronov?

A figurative painter, author, and an actress with over 120 credits to her name, who gained worldwide recognition after her role as Calamity Jane in the movie “Death Race 2000”, Mary Woronov is perhaps still known best as the ‘cult star’ who worked with the famous artist, producer, and director Andy Warhol, and also starred in cult films directed by Roger Corman. During her career, she was seen in movies such as “Eating Raoul”, “Warlock”, and “Night of the Comet”, among others, while the television audience enjoyed her starring in numerous series, including “Knight Rider” and “Charlie’s Angels”.

Mary Woronov was born under the zodiac sign of Sagittarius on 8 December 1943, in the Breakers Hotel, in Palm Beach, Florida USA; she holds American nationality although she comes from a family of German descent. She now lives in Beverly Hills, California, but is a frequent visitor to New York

Early life and education

Mary was raised in Brooklyn Heights, New York City, after her mother, Carol Eschholz married a cancer surgeon Victor D. Woronov, who legally adopted Mary in 1949. In one of her interviews, she spoke about her childhood, saying: ‘My mother didn’t have much money. Then she married a Jewish doctor from Brooklyn, and things straightened out, fabulously. He was the salt of the earth. Suddenly, at six, I was in a private school for girls.’

Mary mentioned how happy she was to be educated in a school which helped her to grow as a painter and artist.

On her eighth birthday, she became a big sister to Victor, her half-brother, and as she said, although they are totally opposite, they are very close to each other.

The private school which Mary attended is Packer Collegiate Institute (formerly known as Female Academy), in Brooklyn Heights, and upon matriculating in 1961, she enrolled at Cornell University, where she studied arts and sculpting, however, after a class trip to Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, Mary decided to leave studies and launch her acting career.

Roles in movies

Mary made her acting debut portraying Jean Harlow in Andy Warhol’s movie “The Beard” in 1966, followed by her roles in “Chelsea Girls”, “Superboy”, “Since”, and “Kiss the Boot”, all directed by Andy Warhol, with Mary’s co-star being Gerard Malanga, known as Warhol Superstar.

In the following year, she was seen in the movie “****”, written and directed by Andy Warhol, which was originally a 24-hour film made up of shorter film segments. This was Mary’s last appearance in one of Andy’s underground movies; she left The Factory, and went on rehabilitation from heavy methamphetamine addiction, and then spent two years traveling across Europe with a friend.

In 1970, Mary returned as Mary Wonderly in “Kemek”, followed by her role as Diane Adams in “Silent Night, Bloody Night” in 1972, and then she was seen as Camila Stone in “Sugar Cookies” in 1973.

Mary portrayed Mikki Hughes in “Seizure” before she was cast to play her breakthrough role as Calamity Jane in “Death Race 2000” in 1975, also starring Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine, followed in the same year by her role as Diane in “Cover Girl Models”.

In the following years, Mary was seen in “Hollywood Boulevard”, “Bad Georgia Road” and “The One and Only”, before in 1979 being cast to play Miss Togar in “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”.

Rarely seen Photo of Mary published circa 1982 – shot for a German article on Mary's Painting – we are using it for the…

Posted by Mary Woronov on Thursday, September 21, 2017

The early ‘80s saw her in “The Lady in Red”, “Heartbeeps”, and “Movie Madness”, while one of her notable roles was her portrayal of Mary Bland in “Eating Raoul”, in 1982, a comedy crime drama written and directed by Paul Bartel, who also co-starred with Mary. The interesting fact is that after this collaboration, Mary and Paul appeared in 17 movies together, often playing a married couple.

For her performance in “Eating Raoul”, Mary was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, Saturn Award for Best Actress.

Since the list of Mary’s movie roles is too long to enumerate, we will mention some of her most significant, such as her performance in “Night of the Comet”, which brought her another Saturn Award nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress in 1985, and then her role as in “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills” brought her a nomination for the Film Independent Spirit Award – Best Supporting Female in 1990.

The late ‘90s saw Mary in “The Living End”, “Good Girls Don’t”, “Glory Daze”, “Sweet Jane”, and “Zoo” in 1999, while in the early 2000s, Mary starred in “Straight Right”, “The New Women”, and “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” in 2003.

Her most recent roles were in “I Pass for Human”, “The House of the Devil” in 2009, and then she was seen in “Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader”, in 2012. Seven years later, she portrayed Nancy Erlich in the short TV movie “Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein”.

Roles in series

Mary made her first television appearance in 1974, portraying Stephanie Dillard in the series “Somerset”, and she then had a guest role in an episode of “Charlie’s Angels” in 1976, while in the following year, she made an appearance as Irene Borden in “Logan’s Run”.

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In 1979, Mary was seen in “Taxi”, “Mrs Columbo” and “Phyl & Mikhy”, and then in 1984 she was cast to play Clavell in “Hart to Hart”, while in the following year, she portrayed Doctor Von Furst in “Knight Rider”, followed by her roles in “Mr. Belvedere” and “Murder, She Wrote”.

In the late ‘80s, Mary guest-starred in “Amazing Stories”, “Brothers”, “You Again?”, and “Sledge Hammer!”, and the early ‘90s saw her in “Flying Blind” in 1993, “My So-Called Life” in ’94, and “Highlander” in ’95.

Her most recent television role was in the 1999 series “Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction”, in which she portrayed Motel Manager.

Love life and relationships

There were various rumors both concerning Mary’s love life and her sexual orientation, however, she hasn’t spoken much about her personal life.

It’s known that she was in a marriage to Ted Gershuny, a producer and director, with whom she worked on filming for “Kemek”, in 1970.

The two married in the same year, and in her interview for purple.fr magazine, she talked about their marriage, saying that they were in love, and although they had problems, she stayed with him until 1973, when they divorced.

In 1976, Mary married Fred Whitehead, and as she said, he was her ‘guy with the pool and a gorgeous house’, and she also shared that he cheated on her on their wedding day, and she thought that was funny, thus she also had an affair, but despite the cheating, they stayed together for four years before they divorced.

Speaking about her love life after her second marriage, Mary said that she had several relationships, then in one moment of her life she decided to be alone, and added: ‘I used to have sex a lot, but I don’t have sex anymore. I’m not afraid of being alone, either. I do well alone. I can get really annoyed by other people.’

Where is she now?

After her last roles in movies and television, Mary devoted her time to writing and painting; she’s published two books, “Snake: Blind Love” and “Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory”.

On 25 February 2022, Mary’s fans had an opportunity to enjoy her acting and to talk with her at the Palm Springs Cultural Center event curated by Todd Hughes and P. David Ebersole – the audience also enjoyed her paintings, since the center’s walls were decorated by her art pieces, which were all for sale.

Age, appearance, and net worth

Mary’s age is 78, she has short, grey hair and piercing blue eyes – her body measurements aren’t available.

As of April 2022, Mary’s net worth has been estimated at $4 million, most of her wealth coming from her acting career.

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