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Warhol Superstar Holly Woodlawn Died at 69

Holly Woodlawn
Danielle Levitt

Lou Reed's muse and inspiration for 'Walk on the Wild Side,' the trans actress died after a battle with brain and liver cancer.


Photo by Danielle Levitt for Ponystep

The 69-year-old Puerto Rican actress--known for her roles in such queer films as Trash, Women in Revolt, and Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers--died after a battle with brain and liver cancer at West Hollywood's City View Villa Assisted Living. An important figure of Warhol's factory scene, her visibility was groundbreaking to the Stonewall-era LGBTQ community.

Joe Dallesandro, fellow costar in Warhol films, posted the news of Woodlawn's death on Facebook:

"I arrived to the hospice and went to Holly's room, #403. I was next to her talking and telling her all the love that was being sent her way from everyone. It was like she knew I was there.

"I am sorry to say at 3:06pm Los Angeles time, Holly Woodlawn passed away."

"I was very happy when I gradually became a Warhol superstar. I felt like Elizabeth Taylor!" Woodlawn told the Guardian in 2007, "Little did I realize that not only would there be no money, but that your star would flicker for two seconds and that was it. But it was worth it, the drugs, the parties, it was fabulous. You live in a hovel, walk up five flights, scraping the rent. And then at night you go to Max's Kansas City where Mick Jagger and Fellini and everyone's there in the back room. And when you walked in that room, you were a STAR!"

Michael Musto interviewed Woodlawn last year for Out. As Musto wrote: When he asked her if she needed the trappings of womanly glamour to be funny, she said, "No," ripped her wig off, and tossed it aside. "I am what I am," announced Holly, as if about to launch into an '80s show tune. As she sat there, triumphant in a few straggling grey hairs, I cracked, "I'd love to see Barbara Walters do that!"

Here's a clip of Musto singing a happy birthday song ("Sixteen Candles") to her at the Limelight:

One of her final acting roles was in Amazon Prime's Transparent (she had several short moments at the Shangri-La apartment complex that Maura Pfefferman moves into after coming out as trans).

Many others have been posting photos and memories on fellow Warhol star Penny Arcade's Facebook page.

Watch a short interview with Woodlawn conducted by Penny Arcade below:

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