Stage name Maria Carmi
3 March 1880
|Died||15 June 1957
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.
Prince Georges V. Matchabelli
Princess Norina Matchabelli (3 March 1880 – 15 June 1957), born Norina Gilli in Florence, Italy, was co-founder of the perfume company Prince Matchabelli, a stage and screen actress, mime, mystic, publisher, and a devoted mandali of Indian spiritual teacher Meher Baba. Her stage name was Maria Carmi.
Acting career as Maria Carmi 
Norina Gilli began her stage career at Max Reinhardt's acting school at the Deutsches Theater and belonged to his company from 1907 to 1909. Under the stage name Maria Carmi, Norina played in Italian and German theater and in silent films. Her most notable performance was as the Madonna in the original spectacle-pantomime play The Miracle written by Karl Vollmöller whom she married in 1904. The play was originally produced in Germany. On 23 December 1911 it opened in London at the Olympia Arena. On 23 December 1923 it was revived in New York on Broadway, then went on a tour of Detroit, Milwaukee and Dallas. In the New York version she alternated nightly with Lady Diana Manners, another international beauty of the period. In all Norina gave over 1,000 performances of the play.
Princess and perfume 
Norina divorced Vollmöller and in 1916 married Prince Georges V. Matchabelli, the Georgian prince and diplomat in Stockholm, Sweden, 16 May 1917. He had been ambassador to Italy, and was living in Rome. A few years after the Soviet Georgia 1921 Bolshevik takeover of Georgia, Norina, who was then known as Princess Norina Matchabelli, immigrated to the United States on 11 December 1923 to perform in The Miracle on stage in NYC. Her husband immigrated on 21 December 1923 in time to see her opening on the NY stage. He was also an amateur chemist, and co-founded the now-famous perfume company Prince Matchabelli. Norina designed the perfume bottle after the family crown and in 1926 Georges dedicated the scent "Ave Maria" to her. In 1933 she and Georges divorced. Georges died in 1935 and in 1936 Norina sold the company to Saul Ganz for $250,000.00.
Meher Baba 
In 1931 Matchabelli met Spiritual teacher Meher Baba and became a devotee. She introduced many notable figures of the day to Meher Baba including Gabriel Pascal, Mercedes de Acosta and Karl Vollmöller (her first husband). She also founded the periodical Meher Baba Journal in 1938.
In the 1940s Norina Matchabelli gave a series of well-attended public talks in Carnegie Hall, New York City and other places in which she said she was delivering "thought-transmission" messages directly from Meher Baba. When speaking, the personal "I" switched to "I, Meher Baba." This startled some of Meher Baba's followers and they questioned Baba on it in India, but he did not appear concerned.  Thus Norina gained the reputation of a mystic or clairvoyant, an eccentric, and relatively occult in her thinking in comparison with other followers of Meher Baba at that time.
Norina Matchabelli died at Youpon Dunes in Myrtle Beach in 1957 at the age of 77. Her ashes were interred close by Meher Baba's samadhi on Meherabad Hill, near Ahmednagar, India. Her grave marker bears the inscription: Princess Norina was and will ever remain Baba's.
- 1912: The Miracle
- 1914: Eine venezianische Nacht
- 1914: L'Accordo in minore
- 1914: Sperduti nel buio
- 1915: Teresa Raquin
- 1915: Fluch der Schönheit
- 1915: Der Hermelinmantel
- 1915: Die rätselhafte Frau
- 1915: Sophias letztes Gesicht
- 1916: Das Wunder der Madonna
- 1916: Für den Ruhm des Geliebten
- 1916: Aphrodite
- 1916: Homunculus, Teil I
- 1916: Homunculus, Teil IV - Die Rache des Homunculus
- 1916: Der Pfad der Sünde
- 1916: Der Letzte eines alten Geschlechts
- 1916: Die Richterin von Solvigsholm
- 1916: Das Haus der Leidenschaften
- 1916: Der Fluch der Sonne
- 1917: Der Weg des Todes
- 1917: Wenn Tote sprechen
- 1917: Die Memoiren der Tragödin Thamar
- 1917: Rächende Liebe
- 1918: Das Spitzentuch der Fürstin
- 1920: Per il passato
- 1921: Forse che si, forse che no
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Maria Carmi|
- Maria Carmi at BFI Film & TV Database
- Maria Carmi at the Internet Movie Database
- Stage presence as Maria Carmi
- Awakener Magazine Article
- Photos at meherbabatravels.com