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Mary Woronov

Mary Woronov

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Also Known As: Penny Arcade,Mary Woronow Died:
Born: December 8, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: Cast ... actor painter
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BIOGRAPHY

This tall, leggy and strikingly attractive performer has built a cult following with three decades of appearances in some decidedly off-center films. Sometimes lesbian, often formidable and usually sexually aggressive, Woronov has played leads and supporting roles in more than 40 films ranging from low-budget horror, sci-fi and actioners to soft-core adult fare to major Hollywood releases. She seems most comfortable on the margins however; her best work has been done for actor-writer-director Paul Bartel.

Woronov came to NYC in the early 1960s to be a painter. She hooked up with the artistic crowd at Andy Warhol's Factory and subsequently became a "superstar" in several of the celebrated pop artist's experimental 1960s films, notably "The Chelsea Girls" (1966) where, as Hanoi Hannah, she berated a room full of fashion victims. Woronov segued to the NYC stage, winning a Theatre World Award for her Broadway debut in David Rabe's "Boom Boom Room" (1974). Her film career picked up with roles in relatively mainstream fare with a strong exploitation angle, She earned good notices playing a scheming gold digger wife of an arrogant millionaire in "Seizure" (1974), a gory horror flick from neophyte helmer Oliver Stone. Woronov seemed to find her spiritual home at producer Roger Corman's New World Pictures appearing in such memorable cheapies as Bartel's "Death Race 2000" (1975), as racecar driver Calamity Jane, and Allan Arkush's boisterous "Rock 'n' Roll High School" (1979), as a tough principal. Woronov truly shone in Bartel's deadpan sick comedy "Eating Raoul" (1982), a cult classic which Corman refused to finance. As the prudish Mary Bland, she helped her equally strange husband (Bartel) pursue his culinary dreams in a memorably twisted manner. Woronov was again delicious as a pretentious divorcee in Bartel's "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills" (1989).

In recent years, Woronov has successfully resumed her art career as a painter, with exhibits in New York and London. She still turns up on film and TV, typically in small parts and cameos, often in gay-themed indies like Gregg Araki's "The Living End" (1992) and Richard Glatzer's "Grief" (1993), and sometimes in such unlikely multiplex fodder as Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" (1990). Woronov even lent her ineffable cool to a tiny but memorable guest shot as a no-nonsense doctor on the acclaimed teen/family drama "My So-Called Life". She has authored a 1995 memoir entitled "Swimming Underground: My Years in the Warhol Factory".

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