The badly decomposed body of the actress and model Margaux Hemingway, who was once described as the face of a generation, was discovered by friends on Monday in her home in Santa Monica, Calif., the police said. She was 41.
Santa Monica police investigators arrived at Ms. Hemingway's apartment at 1:52 P.M., said Sgt. Gary Gallinot, a department spokesman. Ms. Hemingway, a granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, had not been seen since Friday, and friends were concerned, the sergeant said. He said there were no signs of forced entry or foul play.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office, Fred Corral, said yesterday that autopsy results would not be available for about two weeks but that a preliminary investigation pointed to death by "apparent natural causes," possibly linked to Ms. Hemingway's history of epilepsy. Ms. Hemingway had also struggled publicly with alcoholism and bulimia.
When Ms. Hemingway did not respond to phone calls or knocks on the door, friends asked a laborer working in the neighborhood to get a ladder so they could enter the home through a balcony, Sergeant Gallinot said. Ms. Hemingway had recently moved into the studio apartment near the beach.Her agent, David Mirisch, told CNN that she had recently finished narrating a series on animals.
Tall, blond and glamorous, Ms. Hemingway achieved nearly instant renown in the 1970's as a supermodel. She began her career at the urging of a former husband, Errol Wetson, a film producer and a founder and former owner of the Wetson hamburger chain.
Joe Eula, the New York fashion artist, said in 1975 that Ms. Hemingway had "the face of a generation, as recognizable and memorable as Lisa Fonssagrives and Jean Shrimpton."
Later that year, she signed what The New Yorker called "the largest single advertising contract ever involving a female personality." The $1 million contract made her the spokeswoman for Babe, a fragrance line developed by Faberge.
She made her screen debut in "Lipstick" in 1976, opposite her younger sister, Mariel. The film, which received negative reviews, was about a young model who seeks vengeance after she is raped, then humiliated when a jury acquits the defendant. Ms. Hemingway's acting career faltered, while her sister fared better, appearing in films like Woody Allen's "Manhattan."
Ms. Hemingway was born in Portland, Ore., in 1955, the second of the three daughters of John Hadley and Byra Whitlock Hemingway. She was said to have changed her name from Margot when she learned that her parents drank Chateau Margaux on the night of her conception.
The family spent several years on Ernest Hemingway's farm in Cuba. They then moved to San Francisco, where her father was a stockbroker. In 1967, the family moved to mountainous Ketchum, Idaho, where Ernest Hemingway had committed suicide six years earlier.
Ms. Hemingway's two marriages, first to Mr. Wetson, then to Bernardo Faucher, a French-born film maker, ended in divorce.
In addition to her sister, she is survived by her father and stepmother.