Birth Name:
Christa Päffgen
Birth Date:
October 16, 1938
Birth Place:
Cologne, Germany
Death Date:
July 18, 1988
Place of Death:
Cannes Nisto Hospital, Ibiza, Spain
Cause of Death:
Cerebral hemorrhage after falling from a bicycle
Cemetery Name:
Friedhof Grunewald-Forst
Claim to Fame:
Nico was a German-born marginal singer, songwriter, musician, model, and actress. She had small roles in several films, including Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960) and Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls (1966). In 1967, at the insistence of Warhol, she sang on four songs of the Velvet Underground's debut album "The Velvet Underground & Nico". At the same time, she started a solo career and released "Chelsea Girl". Neither of albums was a commercial success. In Los Angeles Nico's friend and lover, Jim Morrison, suggested that she start writing her own material. Soon after John Cale of The Velvet Underground became her musical arranger and produced The Marble Index, Desertshore, The End... and other subsequent albums. Yet despite having access to and working with Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Lou Reed, Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Jackson Browne, Nico was unable to find an audience larger than a small club. This was in part that she was notoriously unpleasant to work with, addicted to heroin, abused alcohol and was partial deaf which made it difficult to hold a tune. After a concert in Berlin in June 1988, she went on holiday in Ibiza to rest and died as the result of a cycling accident.

Can we be honest here?

Labelled the first super model (she wasn’t), a star (nope, sorry) and a goth icon (sorry, heroin and wearing black doesn’t make an icon) Nico was a violent racist and insufferable bully who screamed at musicians on stage during the concert and made life for the members of the Velvet Underground a nightmare. Today, Nico is largely remembered as the odd, comically over-serious Teutonic femme fatale who made unlistenably gloomy records, or else as an over-sexed super-groupie who showed just how far you could get in show business with great bone structure. Despite what is written about Christa “Nico” Päffgen, in her 20’s and early 30’s she had been a tall, blond, beautiful actress, model and singer who was somewhat famous in the U.S. and Europe. By her forties she was nearly incoherent, her teeth were rotten, her hair was unkempt, her skin was bad and she had needle tracks everywhere.  She drank heavily and had been addicted to narcotics for 15 years. After being spurned by lovers Jim Morrison (she asked him to marry her and he just laughed), Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground bandmate Lou Reed as well as the French film star Alain Delon (they had a child together but he refuses to recognize his son) she fell into a serious drug addiction all the while recording a series of commercially unsuccessful albums backed by multiple rotating bands with dwindling audiences at her live concerts.

And it wasn’t just the boys — Nico is rumored to have had lesbian affairs with French movie star Jeanne Moreau and fashion icon Coco Chanel.

And her son? Christian Aaron Boulogne, whom she called Ari was raised by Alain Delon’s parents. Ari became a photographer and actor, and had a son, born in 1999, and a daughter, born in 2006 and keeps a very low profile. When Ari was 19 he returned to live with his mother who not only introduced Ari to heroin, she even shared needles with him.


Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Friedhof Grunewald-Forst

Havelchaussee 92B

Berlin, , 14193



Grave Location:

Abteilung IV, a.d.M. 50

Grave Location Description

Located in the largest forested area in Berlin, Germany as you enter the cemetery through the front gates walk up two rows towards Abteilung IV (Department 4) and look to your left for the black (of course) monument she shares with her mother.

Grave Location GPS

52.4925, 13.211111



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