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Candy Darling: Dreamer, Icon, Superstar

Warhol superstar and transgender icon Candy Darling was glamour personified, but she was without a real place in the world.

Growing up on Long Island, lonely and quiet and queer, she was enchanted by Hollywood starlets like Kim Novak. She found her turn in New York’s early Off-Off-Broadway theater scene, in Warhol’s films Flesh and Women in Revolt, and at the famed nightclub Max's Kansas City. She inspired songs by Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones. She became friends with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, borrowed a dress from Lauren Hutton, posed for Richard Avedon, and performed alongside Tennessee Williams in his own play.

Yet Candy lived on the edge, relying on the kindness of strangers, friends, and her quietly devoted mother, sleeping on couches and in cheap hotel rooms, keeping a part of herself hidden. She wanted to be a star, but mostly she wanted to be loved. Her last diary entry was: “I shall try to be grateful for life . . . Cannot imagine who would want me." Candy died at twenty-nine in 1974, as conversations about gender and identity were really just starting. She never knew it, but she changed the world. Hardcover, 432 pages.

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