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A compendium of queer people in the 19th and 20th centuries // Drawn and researched by Michele Rosenthal

Candy  Darling

Candy Darling 1944to –1974

American actress, Warhol Superstar. During her childhood on Long Island, she obsessed over, and eventually emulated, the glamorous stars of Hollywood, particularly Kim Novak. She was still a teenager when she began visiting the local gay bar dressed as a woman, and by the age of 20 she was frequenting the scene in Greenwich Village, spending time with drag queens, other trans women, artists, and eventually Andy Warhol. Warhol gave her a small role in his film Flesh, followed by a leading role in Women in Revolt, which made her a staple at The Factory. After these roles, she performed in a number of films and plays, including the Tennessee Williams play Small Craft Warnings at Williams’s invitation. She is immortalized in the Velvet Underground song “Candy Says,” and in the second stanza of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” She died of cancer before the age of 30, but—a Superstar to the last—took one final opportunity to pose for glamor shots on her deathbed.

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