#QueerHeroes Day 10 – Candy Darling

#QueerHeroes Day 10.
Candy Darling.

Candy was born in 1944. After learning “the mysteries of sex from a local salesman in a children’s shoe store,” she began presenting as feminine and frequenting a queer bar called The Hayloft. When her mother confronted her about the rumors, Candy went in the next room then returned to face her mother in a dress. Her mother said, “I knew then that I couldn’t stop my [Candy]. Candy was just too beautiful and talented.”

In 1967, she starred in an off-broadway play written by Jackie Curtis and co-starring a young Robert DeNiro. Warhol attended a performance. The two were introduced by friends that night at a club called Salvation. By the end of the night, Candy was the latest of Warhol’s muses. She would go on to star in a number of his films. But she wasn’t just limited to Warhol. She played Karen in the 1971 film “Some of My Best Friends Are” (also starring Rue McClanahan aka Blanche Deveraux from “The Golden Girls”). The movie is, I think, sentimental and kind of a bore, but it was edgy for its time because it took place in a Greenwich Village gay bar on Christmas Eve.

Candy was just as entrancing when she wasn’t playing a character. In addition to being Warhol’s muse, she also inspired a lyric in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”:

“Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody’s darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She says, hey baby, take a walk on the wild side
Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.”

Darling died in 1974 of Lymphoma at age 29. She’s been portrayed in films, television, and onstage. She even has a magazine, C☆NDY, known as “the first transversal style magazine,” named after her.

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