Betsy von Furstenberg, Broadway Star and Soap Opera Actress, Dies at 83

Betsy Von Furstenberg - H 2015
Courtesy Everett Collection

Betsy Von Furstenberg - H 2015

The German baroness appeared in several 1950s plays and on the serials 'The Secret Storm,' 'As the World Turns' and 'Another World.'

Actress Betsy von Furstenberg, the daughter of a German count who starred in many Broadway productions of the 1950s, has died. She was 83.

Von Furstenberg died April 21 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at her home in Manhattan, her son, Glyn Vincent, told The New York Times.

The baroness, who came with her parents to New York before World War II, made her Broadway debut in the 1951 Philip Barry comedy Second Threshold.

Von Furstenberg went on to appear in such plays as Dear Barbarians (with Cloris Leachman), Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (with Gig Young), What Every Woman Knows, The Chalk Garden, Child of Fortune, Nature’s Way (written by Herman Wouk) and Mary, Mary through the early 1960s.

In 1970, she starred in Neil Simon's The Gingerbread Lady with Maureen Stapleton, who won a Tony Award for her performance in the drama.

As a teenage model, von Furstenberg had a role in the Italian film Women Without Names (1950), set in a camp for displaced women after World War II. She was accompanied overseas by her mother, a native of Memphis, Tenn., whom the count met on a vacation.

Von Furstenberg also appeared on such TV anthology series as Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, Playhouse 90 and Alfred Hitchcock Presents; the series Have Gun — Will TravelThe Defenders and Adventures in Paradise; and the soap operas The Secret Storm, As the World Turns and Another World.

She wrote Mirror, Mirror, a novel that was centered on an heiress and published in 1988.

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