When Candy Darling was a young bullied child living in Long Island she swore that when she grew up she was going to be a rich and famous star.. And she was so spot on and she became a Warhol superstar on and off the screen. Whilst she may never have attained the ‘riches’ part in her traditional sense of the word, we learn from filmmaker James Rasin’s documentary. her life was wealthy in every other way
Darling, born James .Slattery in 1944, idolized Hollywood actress Kim Novak so much that she created her whole persona around her. As a transexual blonde bombshell Darling was spotted in an off-off Broadway show by Warhol who immediately cast her in his next film.
She has short comedic scene in Flesh with Jackie Curtis and Joe Dallesandro , which was such a success that Warhol gave her a starring role in Women in Revolt . After that she became Warhol’s muse and the two were totally inseparable. We can see from some wonderful archival footage why that as the outrageous Darling was never ever off-duty always playing the biggest star in the room. She was really living her dream.
Most of Darling’s story is told through the eyes of Jeremiah Newton one of her best friends and ex-roommates who obviously adored her, The camera captures him finally arranging to have her ashes buried with those of his recently dead mother. As he sits on his cramped Manhattan apartment reminiscing about Darling, it all seems more than a lifetime from those extraordinary Warhol factory days.
Rasin talks with the few members of the Warhol days who are still alive (the doc was made in 2010) people like Holly Woodlawn and actress Helen Hanft enthusiatically attest to how much this larger-than-life women was loved within their clique. As as hint as to why she was so glamorous and feminine, Fran Leibowitz suggested as she Darling had never experienced girlhood, it was defined by the few years she spent as an adult.
Darling died of cancer in 1974 aged just 29 with a wonderful legacy of being in 6 Warhol cult movies, and being the muse for Lou Reed “Walk On The Wild Side.” She made her mark in so many ways and this compelling and affectionate profile will be welcomed from those of us who can still remember, and others who need to appreciate what she is an icon in the LGBT community
The movie is now being re-released on DVD this month : one disappointing note, is there are parts of the film where the audio + video are so badly synched it can actually be off-putting . It also can be viewed on Amazon Prime.