Transgender actress Holly Woodlawn died at age 69 on Sunday. One of Andy Warhol’s muses, she appeared in films by Warhol and Paul Morrissey throughout the 1970s. She also inspired Lou Reed’s canonical “Walk on the Wild Side.”
Woodlawn’s career reached its apex in the 1970s; however, she had recently returned to the screen, appearing in two episodes of Transparent. Variety reports that Woodlawn had been suffering from cancer after many years of alcohol and substance abuse.
Born Haroldo Danhaki in Puerto Rico, Woodlawn moved to New York City from Miami, Florida. She changed her named to “Holly Woodlawn” after meeting Warhol and soon began to make a splash in the underground film scene, starring in films like Trash and Women in Revolt.
She’ll live on in the lyrics to “Walk on the Wild Side,” which are notably dated in some places, but poignant as ever when talking about her beginnings:
“Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.; hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A.; 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.’”
Woodlawn died in Los Angeles, receiving a hospital visit from former costar Joe Dallesandro before she passed.
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