World Trade Center Victim Profiled in Recent Book

Wed. September 26, 2001 12:00 AM by XPresspress

Raleigh, NC - In May of this year, Lightning Bug Press issued a new, updated edition of SPLIT IMAGE: THE LIFE OF ANTHONY PERKINS. Now, four months later, the book seems sadly out of date. SPLIT IMAGE chronicles Perkins’ life and that of his wife, Berry Berenson, up through Perkins' death of AIDS on September 12, 1992. In a tragic footnote, Berenson was among the 56 passengers on American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, one day earlier than the 9th anniversary of her husband’s death.

Berenson, 53, was a granddaughter of the Paris fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and a grandniece of Bernard Berenson, noted American art scholar of the Italian Renaissance. She was also the sister of actress/model Marisa Berenson (CABARET, BARRY LYNDON) and the mother of actor Oz Perkins (SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, LEGALLY BLONDE) and Elvis Perkins, a musician.

Berenson wed PSYCHO star Perkins (PSYCHO was recently named the #1 most heart-pounding movie by the American Film Institute) in 1973. Berenson was a photographer who worked with Halston and Andy Warhol. Her photos have made the covers of INTERVIEW and LIFE magazines. After setting her career aside for a few years in favor of motherhood, she had a short career as an actress, appearing in REMEMBER MY NAME (1978) with her husband, WINTER KILLS (1979), and CAT PEOPLE (1982).

SPLIT IMAGE offers the following descriptions of Berenson:

“Rock singer and poet Patti Smith… remembers that… Berry was always an attentive listener. ‘She seemed unspoiled, uncompetitive, and really interested in what other people had to say,’ Smith remembered, ‘at a time when we were all struggling.’”

“‘You never saw two people who belonged together so much,’ Ernest Thomas [said].” (Thomas, who later starred in the TV Series WHAT’S HAPPENIN’, was directed by Perkins in The Broadway production of DON’T CALL BACK. “‘Berry was a big kid, a tall, gangly child. She loved that man inside and out, unconditionally. It was just good to see the way she would look at him while he was directing us, with her chin in her hand. No matter what people say about him, the bottom line is this woman loved him and he loved her and they had beautiful kids together. He said it was the best thing that ever happened to him. Her love was so overwhelming that it had swept him off his feet.’”

“‘I believe that Tony, in his search for truth and beauty, found Berry,’ [Film Director] Joel Schumacher mused. ‘He was looking for love, and he found love, because she is love. If you know her and you’re in her presence, you will know love, you will feel love, and you will be love. And you will love her. It’s impossible to be in the same room with Berry Perkins and not love her and feel love. It’s impossible. So I think that on Tony’s great journey he found his quest.’”