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Holly Woodlawn, Transgender Actress & Subject of ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’ Dies at 69

Holly Woodlawn, the transgender actress who appeared in Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey films and was the subject of Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side,” died Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 69.

The Associated Press reported that she had been suffering from cancer. Most recently, she had appeared in two episodes of “Transparent” as Vivian.

The star of underground films including “Trash” and “Women in Revolt” was born Haroldo Danhakl in Puerto Rico. After moving from Miami to New York and meeting Warhol, she took the name Holly Woodlawn and became one of Warhol’s drag queen “superstars.”

The Reed song recounted her trip to New York: “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.’ Said, ‘Hey, honey, Take a walk on the wild side.'”

Her first film was Morrissey’s 1970 “Trash,” starring Joe Dallesandro. She then appeared in Warhol’s “Women in Revolt.” Dallesandro tweeted that he visited her in the hospital just before her death.

After her heyday in the 1970s New York underground scene, she had small parts in films including “Milwaukee, Minnesota,” “Twin Falls Idaho” and “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss.” She performed in cabaret acts but suffered from ailments due to years of alcohol and substance abuse.

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