1944 - 1974

"I'm a thousand different people. Every one is real."

- Candy Darlin


Warhol superstar Candy Darling was born into an alcoholic household in Queens, N.Y. where she lived with her mother after her parents’ divorce. Darling, who was assigned male at birth, spent hours watching and studying old movies on TV, and impersonating her favorite actresses. This behavior that made her an outcast – even in her own home – where her mother confronted her over rumors that she wore women’s clothes; rumors she did not deny. With milky white skin and large brown eyes Candy was, indeed, a natural beauty. She began getting hormone injections and frequenting Manhattan gay bars. By 1967, she had assumed the name Candy Darling and was starring alongside Jackie Curtis and a young Robert DeNiro in Curtis’ play ‘Glamour, Glory, and Gold’. One night Andy Warhol came to see the production and promptly cast her and Curtis in his film ‘Flesh’ (1968). Feeling movie stardom was destined, Darling was crushed when she was not cast in ‘Myra Breckinridge’ (1970). Though she found bit-parts in mainstream films, it was in the vibrant underground world where Candy Darling became a superstar. She portrayed a central character in Warhol’s ‘Women in Revolt’ (1971) and appeared in such independent films as ‘Brand X’ (1970) and ‘Some of My Best Friends Are...’ (1971), where she portrayed a victim of trans-bashing.  She also appeared on stage in several plays, including being cast by Tennessee Williams’s to star in his work ‘Small Craft Warnings’ (1972).  Darling was immortalized in music, most notably by Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground in the rock classics ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and ‘Candy Says,’ and in the Rolling Stones’ ‘Citadel.’ Along with Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling emerged in the late 60s/early 70s as a bold and outrageous “transsexual” superstar of the youth-quaking underground, blazing a trail for greater transgender visibility and acceptance in the future. She died of lymphoma on March 21, 1974 at the age of 29. Despite the brevity of her life, her influence remains undeniable.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Unknown

Gender Identity Transgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Cold War (1945-1991)

Field(s) of Contribution




Commemorations & Honors

Greer Lankton's Bust of Darling Displayed at Whitney Biennial (1995)

Stephen Dorff First Person to Portray Darling in I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)

Beautiful Darling Documentary Berlin International Film Festival Premiere (2010)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell