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Holly Woodlawn (1946 - 2015)

Associated Press / David Chick

Holly Woodlawn

Holly Woodlawn, the transgender actress featured in Lou Reed's 1972 song "Walk on the Wild Side," has died of cancer, The Associated Press and Variety report. She was 69.

Born Harold Danhakl, Woodlawn ran away from her Florida home at age 15. She hitchhiked to New York City, taking the name "Holly" from Holly Golightly, the heroine of Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffanys." The opening lines of "Walk on the Wild Side" - "Holly came from Miami, F.L.A. Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A. - immortalized the tale of Woodlawn's transformation.

As one of Andy Warhol's drag queen "superstars," Woodlawn became a fixture of the New York 1970s underground scene. Her first role was with Joe Dallesandro in Paul Morrissey’s 1970 "Trash," followed by a storied turn in Warhol’s 1971 "Women in Revolt." Many of her movies, such as 1972's "Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers," used Woodlawn's transgender experience to explore notions of sexual identity in American culture.

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Woodlawn returned to Florida in 1979 and spent the next decade there. Her cult status helped her return to Hollywood, where she had small roles in 1990s independent films like “Night Owl," "Twin Falls Idaho" and "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss." She also traveled with and performed in her own cabaret show, and she recently had a guest-star role on Amazon's hit series "Transparent."
Per The Associated Press, Woodlawn's caretaker reports no survivors.

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