For a long time I thought Edie Sedgwick was used by Andy Warhol, for her wealth, her connections to the upper class and her beautiful physical appearance, but after a deep dive into Edie’s life, my opinion changed. Oké, Andy Warhol was a user and till certain extent he did. She introduced him to some very wealthy people, whom she convinced to buy some his work and Edie’s appearance in his films Vynil and Horse generated so much interest, Andy decided Edie would be his ‘Superstar’, so she could attract more people to go and see his movies, but Edie did her utmost to be noticed by and involved with Warhol and she was the one who stepped out of Warhol’s Factory to be signed up by Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman. So the relationship worked both ways….
Edie Sedgwick: Teenager
Edie Sedgwick( Edith Minturn Sedgwick april 1943, november 1971) was born in Santa Barbara, California. Her parents were Francis ‘Fuzzie’ Minturn Sedgwick, a philanthropist and Alice Delano de Forest. Together they got 8 children.
Edie Sedgwick was born in a family which was long-established in history. From her seventh-great grandfather to first cousin Kyra Sedgwick, the actress, they all found a place in American history. Also financially Edie was well-set. However she also inherited a large history of mental illnesses. Her brothers Minty and Bobby committed suicide after being in several mental hospitals, something Edie got deeply affected by and her father had a series of nervous breakdowns as well.
Edie had a very difficult relationship with her father, who openly carried on relationships with other women. On one occasion she walked in on him having sex with a neighbour which made her flew into a rage, but her father claimed Edie imagined it all as a result of her emotional problems and send her to a mental hospital, of which Edie said: ‘Was the Sedgwick way of dealing with problems’. After this event Edie developed anorexia which carried on her entire life.
Edie Sedgwick, fashion model
After she moved to New York, Edie appeared in Vogue as a ‘Youthquaker’ in august 1965 and Diana Vreeland, editor-in-chief at the time, discovered Edie as fashion model. She appeared in Vogue and Life magazine. In those days models were mostly beautiful socialites like Edie and Penelope Tree. Edie even became ‘The Girl of the Year’ and ones was dubbed ‘It Girl’.
In March 1965 she met Andy Warhol and began going to The Factory regularly with her friend Chuck Wein. After appearing in his movies Vynil and Horse, Warhol decided Edie would be his Superstar and started an intense work and private (non-physical) relationship with her.
Edie in the meantime had devolved her own significant style: black leotards, ultra short dresses or sweaters, chopped and bleached blond hair with dark roots (inspired by Andy Warhol’s wigs) and her chandelier earrings.
Edie’s trademark look
Edie spent her entire inheritance of $80.000 in only six months, by purchasing large amounts of clothes, jewelery and make-up, paying restaurant bills for everybody at her table and on drugs. Her father was only willing to pay half of her rent after she empty-out her bank account, he called it tough love. Edie asked Warhol to pay her for her acting work, but Warhol never paid anybody (!) and Edie got into severe financial problems. She called Diana Vreeland, asking her for a modelling job, but Vreeland told Edie she could no longer commission her, because she was considered vulgar by the public for her drug abuse and connections with The Factory.
Edie Sedgwick & Andy Warhol
Kitchen, movie by Andy Warhol
Warhol asked scriptwriter Ronald Travel to write a script for Edie, ‘something in a kitchen-something white, and clean, and plastic’. The result was Kitchen, starring Edie and Rene Ricard. Later Chuck Wein replaced Ron Travel, Chuck being Edie’s ‘friend’ could manipulate her into doing things she rather did not do……
Edie got estranged from Warhol’s inner circle and went to live in the Chelsea Hotel, where she got close to Bob Dylan. Here the story becomes a bit blurred; Dylan said, he never had an intimate relationship with Edie, she said they had. She did have a relationship with his best friend though, Bob Neuwirth, but Edie must have had a huge crush on Bob Dylan. In February 1966 at the Gingerman Restaurant, Edie and Warhol got into an argument; Edie told Warhol, she was supposed to star in a movie with Bob Dylan and went on Bobby this and Bobby that, when Andy Warhol couldn’t resist to ask her; “Did you know Edie, that Bob Dylan has gotten married to Sara Lownds?’ (something he learned that day at his lawyer’s office). Edie started trembling, she really thought she was entering a relationship with Dylan, who hadn’t been truthful to her! (Dylan also had an affair with Joan Baez at that time). Edie went out to make a phone call, when she came back she announced she was leaving The Factory and disappeared. She never returned.
During her relationship with Neuwirth, Edie became increasingly dependent on barbiturates and in early 1967 Neuwirth could no longer cope with her drug abuse and erratic behavior, he broke of with her. Edie began shooting Ciao! Manhatten, an underground movie which was made over the course of 5 years. In the meantime Edie returned to her family in California, were she spent time in several psychiatric institutions. In 1969 she got arrested for drug offenses and in hospital she met another patient, Micheal Brett Post, whom she married on July 24, 1971. Under his influence she stopped abusing alcohol and drugs for a short time.
On the night of November 15, 1971, Edie went to a fashion show at the Santa Barbara Museum. At the party after the show, someone insulted her by calling her a heroin addict and repeatedly asserting her marriage would fail. Edie called Micheal (Post) and when he arrived at the party she was already in total distress. He took her home and put her to bed after he gave her the medication prescribed for her. When he awoke the next morning, Edie Sedgwick was already dead. She was only 28 years old.