When Holly Woodlawn walked on the wild side #flashbackfriday
Known for walking on the wild side as well as appearing in Andy Warhol’s films, Holly Woodlawn died of cancer last December 6 at the age of 69 in LA.
But despite the hardships she had undergone, she managed to blaze brightly across the night sky as one of the transgender movement’s iconic heroines.
Holly Woodlawn’s 15 minutes
Holly Woodlawn– whose real name was Haroldo Danhakl– was born in Puerto Rico, but took on a new name after she left home at age 16.
When she hitchhiked from Miami to New York City, her journey was immortalized in Lou Reed’s famous song, “Walk on the Wild Side.”
To quote the 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 became part of a group of prostitutes, living off the streets and turning tricks. For a time, she bought 25-cent lipsticks from subway vending machines and wondered “when my next meal was coming.”
HollY Woodlawn on the screen
Later on, she was picked to appear in Andy Warhol’s movies, Trash and Women in Revolt. But though she received critical acclaim, she wasn’t recognized by the mainstream.
The transgender actress told The Guardian in 2007: “I was very happy when I gradually became a Warhol superstar. I felt like Elizabeth Taylor!”
“Little did I realize that not only would there be no money, but that your star would flicker for two seconds and that was it. But it was worth it, the drugs, the parties, it was fabulous,” she said.
In the ’90s, she appeared in other movies like Twin Falls Idaho and Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss .
She also appeared in the Golden Globe-winning US TV comedy series, Transparent.
Holly Woodlawn’s immortality
Having fallen on hard times, she admitted in an interview in 2013: “”Walk on the Wild Side” made me immortal, honey, for what that’s worth.”
But she also noted that she didn’t get to know Lou Reed properly until after the song’s 1972 release.
She also wasn’t surprised that she had lived this long. She said, “Everyone thought I was going to be the first to go. Ha ha, I fooled them all!”
Holly Woodlawn’s parting shot
Despite– or because of– everything she had gone through, she still managed to retain her biting sense of humor.
“You can’t take everything too heavy in life. Listen, you have to have a real sense of humor to get through this life. I mean, honey, get real,” she pointed out.
Holly Woodlawn’s former caretaker and friend Mariela Huerta said the transgender legend had no surviving relatives.