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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com
Boston Globe Online / Nation | World
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Philanthropist, artist among plane victims

By Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff, 9/13/2001

They were known to many people by their associations: Sonia Morales Puopolo, 58, with her arts patronage and social causes; Berry Berenson Perkins with her many famous relatives and friends.

But yesterday, as news of their deaths in the terrorist hijackings spread around the social enclaves of Boston, Cape Cod, Los Angeles, and Miami, those who knew them insisted that each would be remembered for her own special vibrancy.

Berenson Perkins, 53, an actress and photographer who divided her time in recent years between homes in Jamaica and Wellfleet, was born into one of the fashion world's most famous families. Her maternal grandmother was haute couturiere Elsa Schiaparelli. Her great uncle was art historian Bernard Berenson. A onetime fashion model, she shared the celebrity limelight in the 1960s and '70s with her model-actress sister, Marisa.

She wed actor Anthony Perkins in 1973. He died in 1992. The couple had two sons, Osgood, 27, an actor, and Elvis, 25, a musician. Both now live in Los Angeles, where she was reportedly flying to see her younger son perform in concert. ''She had a joie de vivre like no one else I've known,'' said Susan Hartzler, a friend of 20 years. ''She loved animals, especially her dogs. She was my life mentor. Anywhere you went with Berry, even getting a haircut, was an experience you'd never forget.''

Eleanor Munro, who taught a memoir-writing seminar Berenson Perkins took this summer in Truro, recalled her as ''a dynamic presence in the class. Berry was so beautiful, so decorative, so unusual for a scruffy-looking community like this. She also had an incredibly rich story to tell.''

Puopolo, 58, was born in Puerto Rico and lived in Dover. A former ballet dancer, she was a prominent patron of the arts.

She was en route to Los Angeles on Tuesday to attend the Latin Grammy awards and to visit her son, according to her husband of 37 years, Dominic. Active in philanthropic circles, both in Boston and Miami, she gave generously to political, educational, and social-welfare groups, including the American Red Cross and AIDS Action Committee.

Besides her husband, she leaves her children, Dominic, 35; Mark Anthony, 29; and Tita, 28.

''In light of what happened, there's an irony there that I don't yet know how to deal with,'' her husband said. ''She loved the Red Cross, for instance, because it's always there for people in times of disaster. My wife was a very, very spiritual woman. Her whole life was about nonviolence.''

''We were like soulmates. We spent our whole lifetime together,'' he said. ''I loved her very, very dearly.''

This story ran on page A11 of the Boston Globe on 9/13/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

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