Born 1931 in a castle in Westphalia, Elizabeth Caroline Maria Agatha Felicitas Therese Freiin von Furstenberg-Hedringen left Germany with her parents for New York before World War II. While attending the Hewitt School in Manhattan, she began modeling at 14 and embarked with her mother on a globe-girdling career that led to a role in an Italian film called Women Without Names, about post-World War II internees. That projected her onto the cover of Look magazine, photographed by Stanley Kubrick, for an article titled “Working Debutante.”
In 1951, she made her Broadway debut in Philip Barry’s “Second Threshold,” which earned her a spot on the cover of Life magazine as “the most promising young actress of the year”.
She went on to star or co-star in “Oh, Men! Oh, Women!,” “The Chalk Garden,” “Nature’s Way,” “Mary, Mary” and Neil Simon’s “The Gingerbread Lady.”
von Furstenberg appeared on television in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Have Gun — Will Travel, Playhouse 90 and Toast of the Town.
She also appeared in daytime soap operas, including The Secret Storm (as Niele Neeves) and Another World (as the Duchess of Essex). In 1983, she famously replaced the legendary Eileen Fulton in the role of Lisa on As the World Turns, and stayed with the soap for more than a year.
Elizabeth Caroline Maria Agatha Felicitas Therese Freiin von Furstenberg-Hedringen was born in Arnsberg, Germany, near Cologne, on Aug. 16, 1931.
Her father, Franz-Egon, was a count. Her mother, the former Elizabeth Foster-Johnson, an American from Memphis whom the count met on a vacation, was devoted to her daughter’s career.
Besides her son, von Furstenberg is survived by a daughter, Gay Caroline Gerry; two grandchildren; and a half brother, Count Egon von Furstenberg.