Candy Darling: Wikis


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Candy Darling

"Candy Darling on her Deathbed" by Peter Hujar
Born James Lawrence Slattery
November 24, 1944(1944-11-24)
Forest Hills, Queens, New York, U.S.
Died March 21, 1974 (aged 29)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor

Candy Darling (November 24, 1944 – March 21, 1974) was an American Warhol Superstar. A male-to-female transsexual, she starred in Andy Warhol's films Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), and was a muse of the protopunk band The Velvet Underground.


Early life

Candy Darling was born James Lawrence Slattery in Forest Hills, Queens, daughter of Theresa Phelan, a bookkeeper at Manhattan's Jockey Club, and James (Jim) Slattery, who was described as a violent alcoholic.[1] There is some conjecture around her year of birth. According to former Warhol associate, Bob Colacello, Candy was born in 1946, while IMDb has listed her year of birth as 1948. Her friend, roommate, and posthumous editor, Jeremiah Newton, states that she was born on November 24, 1944.

Early years — before transition — were spent in Massapequa Park, Long Island, where she and her mother had moved after her parents divorced. Her half-brother Warren, a product of Theresa Slattery's first marriage, left home for the U.S. military, leaving Jimmy as the only child; Warren later denied his connection to her.

She spent much of her childhood absorbing the influences of US television and old Hollywood movies, from which she learned to impersonate her favorite actresses, such as Joan Bennett and Kim Novak. She claimed to have "learned about the mysteries of sex from a salesman in a local children's shoe store" and finally revealed an inclination towards dressing as a female when her mother confronted her about local rumors which described her dressed as a girl frequenting a local gay bar called The Hayloft. In response Jimmy left the room and reappeared in full feminine attire. Her mother later said that, "I knew then... that I couldn't stop Jimmy. Candy was just too beautiful and talented."

Late at night, Darling would often take a cab (thereby avoiding the attention of neighbors she would receive if she walked) a short distance to the Long Island Rail Road station for the train to Manhattan, frequently sitting across from Long Island starlet Joey Heatherton. Once there, she referred to her Cape Cod-style home at 79 First Avenue in Massepequa Park as her "country house" and hung out in Greenwich Village, meeting people through the circle of Seymour Levy on Bleecker Street.

Her first assumed name was Hope Slattery. According to Bob Colacello, Darling adopted this name sometime in 1963/1964 after she started going to gay bars in Manhattan and making visits to a doctor on Fifth Avenue for hormone injections. Jackie Curtis stated that Candy adopted the name from a well-known Off-Off Broadway actress named Hope Stansbury, with whom she lived for a few months in an apartment behind the Caffe Cino so that she could study her. Holly Woodlawn remembers that Darling's name evolved from Hope Dahl to Candy Dahl and then to Candy Cane. Jeremiah Newton believed she adopted her forename out of a love for sweets. In her autobiography, Woodlawn recalled that Darling had adopted the name because a friend of hers affectionately called her "darling" so often that it finally stuck.

The Warhol years

Before they actually met in 1967, Darling saw Andy Warhol at the after-hours club called The Tenth of Always. Candy was with Jackie Curtis, who invited Warhol to the play she had written and directed called Glamour, Glory and Gold. It was being performed at Bastiano's Cellar Studio on Waverly Place. Taylor Mead brought Andy to see it and afterwards went to the club Salvation in Sheridan Square, where he was joined by Candy and Curtis at his table.

Warhol cast Darling in a short comedic scene in Flesh (1968) with Jackie Curtis and Joe Dallesandro. After Flesh, Candy was cast in a central role in Women In Revolt (1971). She played a Long Island socialite drawn into a woman's liberation group called PIGS (Politically Involved Girls) by a character played by Curtis. Interrupted by cast disputes encouraged by Warhol, Women in Revolt took longer to film than its predecessor and went through several title changes before a consensus was reached. Darling wanted it called Blonde on a Bum Trip since she was the blonde, while Curtis and Woodlawn told her it was more like "Bum on a Blonde Trip" — titles which were both used in the film during Candy's interview scene.

Women in Revolt was first shown at the first Los Angeles Filmex as Sex. Later it was shown as Andy Warhol's Women, an homage to George Cukor. Unable to get a distributor for the film, Warhol rented out the Cine Malibu on East 59th Street and launched the film with a celebrity preview on February 16, 1972. After the screening there was a dinner in Candy's honor at the restaurant, Le Parc Perigord on Park Avenue at 63rd Street, followed by a party at Francesco Scavullo's townhouse round the corner, where they watched TV reviews of the movie. They watched it being called "a rip-off", that it "looked as if it were filmed underwater," and "proves once again that Andy Warhol has no talent. But we knew that since the Campbell's Soup cans."

Among the guests at Darling's party were D.D. Ryan, Sylvia Miles, George Plimpton, Halston, Giorgio di Sant 'Angelo and Diane and Egon von Furstenberg. Jackie Curtis stood out in the cold, along with other gate crashers. When a security guard asked, "My God, what are they giving away in there?" one of the guests responded, "Would you believe, a transvestite?"

The day after the celebrity preview a group of women wearing army jackets, pea coats, jeans and boots and carrying protest signs demonstrated outside the cinema against the film, which they thought was anti-women's liberation. When Darling heard about this, she said, "Who do these dykes think they are anyway?... Well, I just hope they all read Vincent Canby's review in today's Times. He said I look like a cross between Kim Novak and Pat Nixon. It's true - I do have Pat Nixon's nose."

After Warhol

Candy Darling went on to appear in other independent films, including Brand X by Wynn Chamberlain, Silent Night, Bloody Night, as well as a co-starring role as a victim of gay bashing in Some of My Best Friends Are...

She also appeared in Klute with Jane Fonda and Lady Liberty with Sophia Loren. In 1971 she went to Vienna to make two films with director Werner Schroeter; The Death of Maria Malibran, and another one that was never released. Her attempt at cracking the mainstream movie circuit — by campaigning for the leading role in Myra Breckinridge (1970) — led to rejection and bitterness.

Theatre credits include two Jackie Curtis plays, Glamour, Glory and Gold (1967) and Vain Victory: The Vicissitudes of the Damned (1971), and Tennessee Williams' play, Small Craft Warnings, at the invitation of Williams himself. She also starred in the 1973 Off-Broadway revival of The White Whore and the Bit Player, a 1964 play by Tom Eyen. Darling's character, a Hollywood actress known only as "the Whore", was based on Marilyn Monroe. As a review of the play stated, "With her teased platinum hair and practiced pouts, Miss Darling looks like her character and resolutely keeps her acting little-girl-lost. The role-playing aspect works to her advantage. She could, after all, be a male lunatic pretending to be the White Whore."[2]

Illness and death

Darling died of leukemia on March 21, 1974, aged 29, at the Columbus Hospital division of the Cabrini Health Center.[3] In a letter written on her deathbed and intended for Andy Warhol and his followers, Darling said, "Unfortunately before my death I had no desire left for life . . . I am just so bored by everything. You might say bored to death. (D)id you know I couldn't last. I always knew it. I wish I could meet you all again."[4]

Her funeral was attended by huge crowds, including friends Pat Ast and Julie Newmar; a piano piece was played by Faith Dane; Gloria Swanson was remembered for saluting Darling's coffin. The New York Times honored her request that her obituary should appear on the front page.

Candy Darling was cremated, her ashes interred by her friend Jeremiah Newton in the Cherry Valley Cemetery, located in Cherry Valley, New York, a tiny historical village located at the foot of the Catskill Mountains.

Portrayals in film

Candy Darling was first portrayed by Stephen Dorff in the 1996 film I Shot Andy Warhol.

A feature length documentary on Candy, titled Beautiful Darling, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival (or Berlinale) in February 2010. The documentary features archival film and video footage, photographs, personal papers, archival audio interviews with Tennessee Williams, Valerie Solanas, Jackie Curtis and Candy's mother; and contemporary HD interviews with, amongst many others, Holly Woodlawn, Fran Lebowitz, John Waters, Julie Newmar, Peter Beard and Taylor Mead. Academy Award nominated-actress Chloë Sevigny narrates the film, voicing Candy's private diary entries and personal letters. The film was directed by James Rasin, and produced by Jeremiah Newton and Elisabeth Bentley.

Portrayals on stage

Candy is portrayed by Broadway actor, Brian Charles Rooney, in the world premiere of "Pop!" a new musical by Anna K. Jacobs & Maggie-Kate Coleman, at Yale Repertory Theatre, directed by Mark Brokaw (Broadway: After Miss Julie, How I Learned to Drive, etc.): November - December 2009[5] [6]

In popular culture

  • Greer Lankton famously made a bust of Candy that was displayed at the 1995 Whitney biennial.
  • Candy Darling's letters, sketches and journal entries were compiled into a book titled My Face for the World to See by Hardy Marks publications.

Sources and further reading

  • My Face for the World to See: the Diaries, letters and drawings, Candy Darling, edited by Jeremiah Newton, Hardy Marks Publications 1992, ISBN 0-945367-21-X
  • I Shot Andy Warhol, Mary Harron and Daniel Minahan, Bloomsbury 1996, ISBN 0-7475-2995-7
  • A Low Life in High Heels, Holly Woodlawn, with Jeff Copeland, St Martin's Press 1991, ISBN 0-312-06429-2
  • Popism: the Warhol '60s, Andy Warhol, Hutchinson 1981
  • The Life and Death of Andy Warhol, Victor Bockris, 4th Estate 1998, ISBN 1-85702-805-8
  • Holy Terror: Andy Warhol close up, Bob Colacello, Cooper Square 2000, ISBN 0-8154-1008-5
  • Man Enough to be a Woman, Jayne County
  • Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling Andy Warhol Superstar, film by James Rasin


  1. ^ Bell, Arthur. "Darling Candy, where were you the night Jean harlow died?", The Village Voice, May 18, 1972. Accessed June 18, 2009. "The young boy from Forest Hills had to have it for himself. He became Candy Darling."
  2. ^ Mel Gussow, "Eyen's 'The White Whore and Bit Player' Arrives", The New York Times, 6 February 1973.
  3. ^ "Candy Darling Dies; Warhold 'Superstar'", The New York Times, 22 March 1974
  4. ^ Wiegand, David (1997-07-28). "Candy's Fairy-Tale `Face' Diaries Reveal Longing For Identity". 
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

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