So sad. Holly Woodlawn, a transgender actress known for her appearance in Andy Warhol’s work, passed away at 69 years old on Dec. 6 after battling cancer. Find out more about Holly below.
The transgender community lost an icon on Dec. 7. Holly Woodlawn, an actress who was made famous by Andy Warhol and her roles in Paul Morrissey‘s films, died in Los Angeles after losing a fight with cancer at 69 years old. Gone too soon, she will live on through her films and “Walk on the Wild Side,” a Lou Reed song that immortalizes the transgender legend.
Holly, who was born Harold Danhakl in Puerto Rico, had been fighting for her life since falling seriously ill in June 2015. After Holly was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, doctors found traces of cancer in her brain and liver. She was placed in an assisted living facility in October, which is reportedly where she sadly passed away. Her former caretaker and friend Mariela Huerta confirmed the heartbreaking news.
Holly began her career as a transgender icon after running away from home at just 15 years old and hitchhiking to New York City, according to the Associated Press. After making the bold move, she became one of Andy’s drag queen “superstars,” quickly gaining attention from filmmakers and landing roles in several independent films for which she received critical acclaim. Holly’s story inspired musician Lou Reed to write a song about her called “Walk on the Wild Side.” In the tune, Lou sings, “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.'”
Although she never found mainstream success, Holly made a slight comeback in the 1990s in more independent films such as Twin Falls Idaho and Milwaukee, Minnesota. Before falling ill, Holly made an appearance in two episodes of the Amazon TV show Transparent as a character named Vivian.
Upon confirming the news of Holly’s tragic death, Mariela mentioned that she also had no survivor. She will surely be missed within the transgender community, as well as across Hollywood.
HollywoodLifers, send your condolences to Holly’s friends and loved ones as they grieve the loss of the icon.