21 May 2018

Nina & Frederik

The Danish couple Frederik (1932-1994) and Nina van Pallandt (1932) were as Nina & Frederik a famous singing duo in the late 1950s and the 1960s. They had many international hits and also acted in several films together. After the couple split up in 1969, Nina had a solo career as a singer and a Hollywood actress. Frederik joined a major Australian crime syndicate, for which he provided transportation for drug trafficking.

Nina & Frederik van Pallandt
Dutch postcard by C.K.Z., Zeist. Photo: publicity still for the romantic musical Mandolinen und Monschein/Mandolins and Moonlight (Hans Deppe, 1959).

Nina & Frederik in Mandolinen und Mondschein (1959)
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden/Westf, no. 829. Photo: Arca / Cinepress / Constantin. Publicity still for Mandolinen und Mondschein/Mandolins and moonlight (Hans Deppe, 1959).

Nina & Frederik
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 5655.

Baron Frederik


Frederik, Baron van Pallandt was born in 1932 in Copenhagen, Danmark. He was the son of the Dutch ambassador in Denmark at the time. He met Nina Magdalene Möller (born in 1932, in Hellerup, Danmark) already in 1938, while their families were friends.

Frederik studied agriculture at the University of Trinidad. When he met Nina again in 1957 in Copenhagen they started a duo singing easy listening songs in cabarets. Nina & Frederik performed with growing success in Scandinavia, Western Europe and America.

Nina was married at the time. In1955, she had married Hugo Wessel, the son of Denise Orme and Theodore W. 'Tito' Wessel, a Danish millionaire and one-time Danish chargé d'affaires in Chile.

In 1958 Nina & Frederik appeared together in a beer commercial, named on IMDb Nina & Frederik Western (Erik Dibbern, 1958), and they made their feature debut in Verdens rigeste pige/The Richest Girl in the World (Lau Lauritzen, Alice O'Fredericks, 1958).

Soon, their first film was followed by Kærlighedens melodi/Formular to Love (Bent Christensen, 1959) and the German Schlager film Mandolinen und Mondschein/Mandolins and Moonlight (Hans Deppe, 1959) starring Christine Görner and Claus Biederstaedt.

In 1959 Nina & Frederik issued their first record, and in 1960 they married. In those years they achieved worldwide popularity with songs like Listen to the Ocean, Mango buy me Mango, Sucu, Sucu, and Little Donkey. They moved effortlessly from folk to calypso to pop to protest songs like Bob Dylan’s Blowin' in the Wind.

They played in famous concert halls, like the London Palladium in 1966. But in 1969 Nina & Frederik separated and in 1975 they divorced.

Nina & Frederik
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. AX 3988. Photo: Corona. Publicity still for Verdens rigeste pige/The Richest Girl in the World (Lau Lauritzen, Alice O'Fredericks, 1958).

Nina & Frederik
Dutch postcard by C.K.Z., Zeist, no. 232. Photo: publicity still for Mandolinen und Mondschein/Mandolins and Moonlight (Hans Deppe, 1959).

Nina van Pallandt
Dutch postcard by Hercules, Haarlem, no. 245. Photo: Gofilex. Publicity still for Mandolinen und Mondschein/Mandolins and Moonlight (Hans Deppe, 1959).

Jet-setter Nina


After their divorce, Nina van Pallandt kept working in show business. In 1969 she contributed the song Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown? to the James Bond-film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Peter R. Hunt, 1969) starring George Lazenby.

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) is another 1969 song by Peter Sarstedt. It was a #1 hit in the UK-charts for six weeks in 1969. One theory is that Nina was the mysterious Marie-Claire in the song about a young jet-setter who moved in high circles but was from a lowly origin.

In 1972 Nina became famous in the US as the mistress of hoaxer Clifford Irving, who went to jail when his biography of Howard Hughes, allegedly written with Hughes' co-operation, proved to be a fake. Hughes himself came out of seclusion to repudiate the work. Van Pallandt helped expose Irving's fraud by revealing that he was vacationing with her in Mexico at the time he was allegedly interviewing Hughes.

She appeared, as herself, in Orson Welles' non-fiction film Vérités et mensonges/F For Fake (1974).

The height of Van Pallandt's film career was her appearance in four films directed by Robert Altman: The Long Goodbye (1973), A Wedding (1978), Quintet (1979), and O.C. and Stiggs (1985).

She also appeared in secondary parts in Cloud Dancer (Barry Brown, 1980) with David Carradine, Cutter's Way (Ivan Passer, 1981) with Jeff Bridges, and the fantasy adventure The Sword and the Sorcerer (Albert Pyun, 1982).

In Europe she played in the German exploitation film Euer Weg führt durch die Hölle/Jungle Warriors (Ernst R. von Theumer, 1984), the Spanish drama Así como habían sido/The Way They Were (Andrés Linares, 1987) with Antonio Banderas, and the Danish road movie Time Out (Jon Bang Carlsen, 1988) with Patricia Arquette.

On TV, she appeared as a guest on several episodes of The Morecambe & Wise Show for BBC television during 1969 and the early 1970s . In 1988, she acted in the Tales of the Unexpected episode A Time to Die (Paul Annett, 1988).

In American Gigolo (1980, Paul Schrader), she worked with Richard Gere, who would later play Clifford Irving in The Hoax (Lasse Hallström, 2006), about Irving's fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. In the film Nina is portrayed by Julie Delpy.

Nina en Frederik
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 5449.

Nina & Frederik
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 5655.

Nina & Frederik van Pallandt
Dutch postcard by DRC, no. 1407. Photo: Dezo Hoffmann / Ufa.

Drug-trafficking Frederik


A year after his divorce from Nina, Frederik van Pallandt married Maria-Jesus de Los Rios Coello de Portugal.

Frederik invested his chart profits in a number of ventures, farming for a while in Ibiza - where Nina was a close neighbour - and in 1984, he bought the copyrights of Burke's Peerage, a publication containing genealogical records of historical families. Burke’s Peerage was then bought by Joseph Goldberg, who reprinted the immediate previous edition.

In the 1990s, he settled in the Philippines. There he became involved with an Australian syndicate involved in the trafficking of cannabis, using his yacht the Tiaping to transport the shipments.

On 15 May 1994, both Frederik and his Filipina girlfriend Susannah were shot dead in a hut at Puerto Galera in the Philippines. Rumours say the murderer was another member of the syndicate.

Nina flew out to the Philippines to bring Frederik's body home to Europe. He was buried near his parents' grave in IJhorst in the Netherlands.

Frederik and Nina had three children: Floris Nicolas Ali, Baron van Pallandt (1961-2006), who worked as a scriptwriter and director for Dutch television, Kirsa Eleonore Clara, Baroness van Pallandt  (1963), and Ana Maria Else, Baroness van Pallandt (1965).

Frederik had also a son with his second wife, Daniel Tilopa, Baron van Pallandt (1977).

In the 1970s, Nina van Pallandt married for a third time to Robert Kirby, a South African actor and satirist. The marriage was brief.


Several Nina & Frederik songs from Verdens rigeste pige/The Richest Girl in the World (1958). Source: id4mytube (YouTube).


Nina & Frederick sing Mango vendor in Mandolinen und Mondschein/Mandolins and Moonlight (Hans Deppe, 1959). Source: Alte Film- und Fernsehschätze (YouTube).


Trailer of The Hoax (2006). Source: rocka1969 (YouTube).

Sources: Guy Lazarus (IMDb), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Karl Dallas (The Independent), Wikipedia and IMDb.
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