THE trans actress who inspired Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side and was a favourite actress of artist Andy Warhol died in Los Angeles yesterday.
Born in Puerto Rico in 1946, Holly Woodlawn grew up in Miami, Florida and came out at a young age.
She died after a battle with brain and liver cancer at the age of 69.
Woodlawn ran away at the age of 16 to New York and it was there she met Andy Warhol and changed her name from Haroldo Danhakl to Holly Woodlawn.
Holly Woodlawn was in Room 306 when I arrived to see her today. At 3:06pm LA time, she passed away. pic.twitter.com/docl33j3iW
— Joe Dallesandro (@DallesandroJoe) December 6, 2015
She would go on to star in Trash and Women in Revolt produced by Warhol and directed by Paul Morrissey.
Her bold move from Florida to New York inspired the first verse in Reed’s iconic song: “Holly came from Miami F.L.A. Hitch-hiked 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.”
In a candid interview in the early 70s she said she was grateful the US military discriminated against “transsexuals” because otherwise she would have been conscripted to fight in the Vietnam War.
Woodlawn went on to have a successful career in theatre and a number of sold-out cabaret tours, but she never achieved mainstream success.
Her final role was as Vivian on the Amazon series Transparent about about a trans man coming out to his family.[showads ad=FOOT]