Although she only knew Andy Warhol for a short time, just under a year in the mid 60s, one cannot hear the name of the artist without thinking of his prized “Factory Girl”, Edie Sedgwick. Suffering from mental illness and drug addiction, the well-to-do society girl found a little niche for herself in 1960s Manhattan artist scene, modeling and starring in some of Warhol’s underground film works.
Before meeting Warhol, by only one month, Edie found herself next to music sensation Bob Dylan. Their sorted affair which ended with Dylan marrying someone else, much to the surprise of Edie, who probably never got over the devastation. Dylan’s Blond on Blond is supposedly about Edie.
The fascination with Edie Sedgwick rocks on.
“Edie was born to die young,” says one article.
“She arrived in NY in 1964 with a trust fund, spending it quickly going though $80,000 in 6 months. She was a society girl, a trustafarian drawn to the margins of Bohemia. In January 1965, she met Warhol at a party. Few socialites graced The Factory, [Warhol's Manhattan hide-out where he produced films among other things]. Once he met Edie, the two were practically inseparable. Edie became like an accessory Andy Warhol wore everywhere he went.
Edie transformed herself in the process, cutting her hair and dying it silver blond. She often wore tights from her dance classes everywhere, creating a signature 60s look: Black tights, long t-shirts, her chandelier earings, dark eye-makeup and pale lips.
Drugs were her downfall. She says she was first introduced to really hard drugs at the Factory, where she became an underground film star, featured in Warhol’s voyeuristic films.
She died at age 28, five years after leaving the Factory.
Being in and out of institutions to treat her mental illness, a trait that ran through her family and tragically took the lives of two of her brothers, Edie finally had given up drug use and was married. However, she was prescribed medication for a physical injury and after a night at a party, at which she drank heavily, her husband gave her the prescribed amount of her prescription and the two went to bed.
In the morning, Edie Sedgwick was dead. Her death was recorded as overdose/suicide. (Wonder about the “suicide” – it sounded more like an accidental overdose. Makes me wonder how drunk her husband was, and if it was worded this way to protect his involvement.)
Her story in tragic, yet glamourous, and, of course, sad as well. She was a great beauty that few got to know, and too few of the world got to see. She may have had an outstanding career hadn’t her addictions taken over her life.
Naturally that is why we are so intrigued.
Source: Style Over Substance by Linda Grant
P.S. The Wit Continuum’s favorite pic of Edie is the one at the top of page–perfect 60s icon.