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Päffgen, Christa (Nico)

Born: 1938 AD
Died: 1988 AD, at 49 years of age.

Nationality: German
Categories: Actresses, Models, Singer


1938 - She was born on October 16th in Cologne, in Nazi-controlled Germany. Nico was one of the most fascinating and mysterious women of the multimedia revolution of The Sixties, and long after that till the present day. 1940 - At the age of two she was taken to the little town of Spreewald on the outskirts of Berlin where she lived together with her mother and grandfather, a railway man, through the end of World War II. Her father died in a concentration camp. 1946 - Fleeing from the Russian occupation, mother and daughter wound up in the ruined American Sector of Berlin where Christa (Nico's real name is Christa Päffgen) worked part-time as a seamstress. She was sent to school till she was 13 years old, then took a job selling lingerie. After a year, her mother found her work as a model with a Berlin fashion house. 1953 - At 15 she was sent to the Isle of Ibiza on assignment and met the photographer who gave her the name Nico after a recently departed boyfriend of his, called Nico Papatakis. Later on she also met him as the owner of a night-club in Paris. 1958 - She first appeared in For the First Time, starring Mario Lanza and directed by Rudolph Maté in a short scene shot in Capri between June and November. At Ibiza Nico began a lifelong involvement with the isle. 1959 - On holidays at a friend's villa in Rome, Nico was invited to the set of "La Dolce Vita". Fellini noticed her standing off in a corner and offered her a sizable role in the film on the spot. 1960 - Nico went to New York to model and enrolled in Lee Strassberg's Method School, joining the same class as Marilyn Monroe, in preparation for a career as a serious actress. 1962 - In November she had a big role in a French movie called Strip-Tease, where she did an act with a doll on stage at a club. 1964 - She met Brian Jones, through him she met Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, and made her first record for his Immediate label: I'm Not Sayin, a Gordon Lightfoot song, produced by Jimmy Page. 1962 - She had an affair with French actor Alain Delon, whom she had met in Italy, and had a child. Nico called the boy Ari. In that period everybody wanted to know that mysterious blonde girl, and gave her short but complete adoration. 1967 - Legend has it that Nico told Andy: 'I want to sing' and he introduced her to his latest protégés, "The Velvet Underground", a part of Warhol's mixed-media Exploding Plastic Inevitable troupe. 1969 - Met film director Philippe Garrel in Italy and made ten movies with him over the next five years, shot on location in Iceland, Egypt and Death Valley. 1976-1979 - She had lost her manager and friend Lutz Ulbrich. 1981 - She moved to London to record the "Drama of Exile" album, a record with an history of stolen master-tapes, re-recorded versions and most of all an unhappy Nico. 1985 - After nearly a decade's wait she released a new album, "Camera Obscura", once again produced by John Cale. 1988 - On July 18th, she went for a bike-ride on the isle of Ibiza, she was visiting again, a bike rider of a healthy-living woman, almost clean of her narcotic past. people found her unconscious by the side of her bike, and took her to the Cannes Nisto Hospital, where she died at 8 pm of a brain hemorrhage.          - Her ashes were buried in Berlin, in a small cemetery in the Grunewald Forest, at the edge of the Wannsee, in to her mother's grave, Margarete Päffgen on the 16th of August, with a few friends playing a song from Desertshore on a cassette recorder.



Page last updated: 3:23pm, 18th Dec '12