Nena von Schlebrugge

Nena von Schlebrugge, shown here on the left, is perhaps better known as the mother of Uma Thurman, model and actress. Click on Uma for more information. But Nena herself was also a very successful model in her day.

Nena was born in Mexico City in 1941. Her father was Westphalian Baron Karl von Schlebrugge, who was jailed by the Nazis. Nena's mother was Brigit Holmquist, a famous beauty. A nude statue of her stands in the Swedish port of Trelleborg.

Nena was at school in Stockholm in 1955, when she was spotted by Norman Parkinson, the Vogue photographer, who encouraged her to take up modeling. So at the age of 15, she went to London and met Eileen Ford of the Ford Model Agency. She sent her on to New York.

In the late 1950's and early 1960's Nena modeled for the fashion magazines Vogue and Harpers, as well as for the leading designers. Here on the right is a Norman Parkinson photograph of Nena in 1958.

In 1964 Nena married LSD Guru Timothy Leary but divorced him a year later in 1965. At one of his parties she met her second husband Robert Thurman, whom she married in 1967.

Robert was studying at Harvard in East Asian studies. He traveled throughout Asia and subsequently took up as professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University. He was the first Westerner to become a Buddhist monk and is great friends with the Dalai Lama.

Nena became a psychotherapist in New York. She had three sons and a daughter, Uma (born in 1970) who is now a successful film actress and model. Here is a picture of Nena and her daughter Uma.