by Maria Sofou
Holly Woodlawn, the transgender actress who became one of Andy Warhol’s superstars, died on Sunday Dec. 6 in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer.
Woodlawn grew up in Miami before before running away from home at 15 and landing in New York City in 1962 where she met Andy Warhol while attending a screening of Flesh in the Factory. After impressing director Paul Morrissey, Woodlawn starred in his Warhol-supported film Trash, giving such an excellent performance that director George Cukor launched a campaign to petition the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to nominate her for Best Actress Oscar award.
After appearing in Warhol and Morrissey’s Women in Revolt alongside fellow trans icons Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis, Woodlawn moved from NYC to San Fransisco to Miami, publishing her memoir A Low Life in High Heels in 1992. In early 2000s, the actress started performing in sold-out cabaret shows in New York and Los Angeles and more recently appeared as Vivian in the first season of Transparent.
Holly’s story inspired Lou Reed’s first verse of Walk On The Wild Side. She is immortalised through his lyrics:
Holly came from Miami, F-L-A
Hitchhiked her way across the USA
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, “Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side”
She will be missed.