Born on November 24, 1944, Candy Darling would have turned 73-years-old today. Before there was Caitlyn Jenner, there was transgender actress, model, and “Warhol Superstar” Candy Darling. Born James Lawrence Slattery in Queens, New York, his mother first learned her son was transgender when she heard rumors he frequented gay bars. Upon asking him if the stories were true, Jimmy returned in full glam and his mother knew that Candy was too beautiful and talented to be stopped. Candy Darling’s first trans name was Hope Slattery. She began taking hormone shots, frequented the New York gay scene, and began to make a name for herself. Once she met Andy Warhol, she’d go on to star in several of his movies. Candy Darling died on March 21, 1974, from Lymphoma. She was 29-years-old.
It is believed that Candy and Andy Warhol met in 1967 when she appeared in her friend’s Jackie Curtis’ play Glamour, Glory, and Gold. Also appearing in the play was a young Robert DeNiro. After meeting Warhol, she would continue to appear two more Jackie Curtis’ plays: Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit, and Vain Victory: The Vicissitudes of the Damned. You may see archive footage of Candy Darling and Jackie Davis in the video player below.
In 1968, Candy Daring would appear in her first movie produced by Andy Warhol, Flesh. Jackie Curtis, Joe Dallesandro, Geraldine Smith (who would work with DeNiro in Raging Bull), and Patti D’Arbanville. In 2003, Flesh won the Cannes Film Festival Heritage Award.
In 1970, Candy Darling appeared as an extra in the movie The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart and as Marlene D-Train in Brand X.
The year 1971 would see a greater influence of Andy Warhol on her career as she would become one of his all-stars, and appear in the leading role of Candy in Women in Revolt. She appeared in other movies in 1971 including Klute, Lady Liberty, and Some of My Best Friends Are.
In 1972, Candy Darling would appear in Der Tod der Maria Malibran and Silent Night, Bloody Night.
— Max's Kansas City (@MaxsKansasCity) February 8, 2017
Since Candy Darling’s death in 1974, she has been memorialized in many tributes to Andy Warhol as well as archive footage about Warhol’s Factory.
Candy Darling’s untimely death due to lymphoma/leukemia left a gaping hole amongst her friends She wrote a note to them before she passed. You may read it below.
To whom it may concern
By the time you read this I will be gone. Unfortunately before my death I had no desire left for life. Even with all my friends and my career on the upswing I felt too empty to go on in this unreal existence. I am just so bored by everything. You might say bored to death. It may sound ridiculous but is true. I have arranged my own funeral arrangements with a guest list and it is paid for.
I would like to say goodbye to Jackie Curtis, I think you’re fabulous. Holly, Sam Green a true friend and noble person, Ron Link I’ll never forget you, Andy Warhol what can I say, Paul Morrissey, Lennie you know I loved you, Andy you too, Jeremiah don’t take it too badly just remember what a bitch I was, Geraldine I guess you saw it coming. Richard Turley & Richard Golub I know I could’ve been a star but I decided I didn’t want it. Manuel, I’m better off now. Terry I love you. Susan I am sorry, did you know I couldn’t last I always knew it. I wish I could meet you all again.
Goodbye for Now
She was the subject of the documentary Beautiful Darling that you may see in the video player above.