Are you Edie Sedgwick?

I have met a number of young women who had a natural magnetism; a sense of themselves; that invisible, vague quality that Hollywood calls “Star Quality”. They may not be the most beautiful woman in the room, nor seeking attention in the most obvious way, but they have everyone’s attention. When I meet such a girl, I think: “If they only had an Ingmar Bergman, or Andy Warhol, or Woody Allen, or Terry Richardson taking pictures of them or putting them in movies.”

Of course, Edie ruined her life with terrible decisions. But I know people who do that. And that warning from Edie’s life is as important as any other message from her life.

Here are some things people said about Edie:

  • I think she had a naivete. That’s how she was able to dominate…because she had no self-judgement, except on this deep level.
    • L. M. Kit Carson, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • She would do almost anything that came into her head.
    • L. M. Kit Carson, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • Edie on one level was an unparalleled exhibitionist, but on another level she was very shy. I think the thing about Edie, her antic quality had a lot to do with her charm. She would go to any length to please. She needed to be accepted really on a visceral level, not the way most of us need to be accepted — kind of casually.
    • Fred Eberstadt, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • It was sad but not shocking. There was something about Edie that said, “This is a one-act play. It’s not going to go on forever.”
    • Fred Eberstadt, on Edie’s death, in Edie : Girl On Fire, David Weisman and Melissa Painter. (Chronicle Books, 2006)
  • You knew that you couldn’t really have her, everybody knew that, that she was doomed. You just knew that.
    • Danny Fields, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • She was something of a wild child but there was such an innocence about her and a childlike thing at the same time … She was just so sweet, you know. There was just no malice in her.
    • Sally Grossman, w:Albert Grossman‘s wife, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • There seemed to be this almost supernatural glow to her that’s hard to describe. Literally there was an aura emanating from her, a white or blue aura. It’s as if Edie was illuminated from within. Her skin was translucent — Marilyn Monroe had that quality.
    • Robert Heide, as quoted in Factory Girl, David Dalton.
  • I went to the bathroom and there I saw the most incredible creature I have ever seen, and it was this young woman with alabaster skin, incredibly pale, paler than me actually, which was difficult to do. She had short, Jean Seberg kind of platinum hair, and the shortest, shortest, shortest garment I’ve ever seen on anybody ever, also white…So I was looking at this creature…and I see her in the mirror with an eyeliner pencil, painting a scar on her forehead in black with cross-stitches…I don’t know what it meant, but I was terrified.
    • Larissa, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • She loved the things she did not know. She was eager to learn, not in the way of a pupil, but somehow in the way of an artist.
    • Donald Lyons, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • She was incredibly absorbing and retentive, and it all came fresh to her…You got the impression that the creature, that Edie, was made literally by Zeus three weeks ago, that there was no past to her, save what she picked up from books and people. With her there was no traditional structure, no formal structure. She indeed would compare Raymond Chandler or Jane Austen or ancient Rome to what she experienced last night with the tuna fish, but it was marvelous and fresh.
    • Donald Lyons, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • When I knew her, she was not of this Earth. She was, indeed, never of this Earth. She was born of madness and suffering and declined into madness and suffering. But she had a period when the sun shone for her, when life was smiling. And she was smiling with it.
    • Donald Lyons, in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006), David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • That is unusual, to look like you had just walked out of a fairy tale. She had nothing human about her, just mystery.
    • Ivy Nicholson, a former Factory regular, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • I think Edie was one of those personages. When you came in contact with her, you came away with a deep impression of her. And then she moved in circles where almost automatically with that impression came a story or some sort of an event or a happening. Everywhere she went things began to buzz and happen around her.
    • George Plimpton, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • I was always intimidated and self-conscious when I talked to her or was in her presence because she was like art. I mean, she was an object that had been very strongly, effectively created.
    • Robert Rauschenberg, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • She made you feel privileged to be there.
    • René Ricard, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • I think as she got older, the recklessness got stronger, and it really would have been far more brave for her to try to do otherwise than what she was doing. She was the opposite of brave. She let the tide carry her along. And the tide was a destructive one, and she became a smaller and smaller speck as she simply let herself be swept along in its flow.
    • Robin Sedgwick, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter
  • One person in the sixties fascinated me more than anybody I had ever known. And the fascination I experienced was probably very close to a certain kind of love. now. But her name is still going. It seems incredible, doesn’t it?
    • Andy Warhol, in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again) (1975)
  • She had a poignantly vacant, vulnerable quality that made her a reflection of everybody’s private fantasies. She could be anything you wanted her to be — a little girl, a woman, intelligent, dumb, rich, poor — anything. She was a wonderful, beautiful blank. The mystique to end all mystiques.
    • Andy Warhol, in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again) (1975)
  • She was also a compulsive liar; she just couldn’t tell the truth about anything. And what an actress. She could really turn on the tears. She could somehow always make you believe her — that’s how she got what she wanted.
    • Andy Warhol, in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B & Back Again) (1975)
  • She’d be off to a jet-set party here and an underground party there, and also rapping to the guy from the deli. And everybody on each level believed that her life on that level was her real trip.
    • Chuck Wein, in Edie : American Girl (1982) by Jean Stein and George Plimpton
  • Edie was very smart, you know, too smart. Because she came from such an insular place, she had an interesting commentary on what went by, ’cause she saw it like it was rather than in some social context like we all would.
    • Chuck Wein, as quoted in Edie : Girl On Fire (2006) by David Weisman and Melissa Painter

(all quotes from Wikiquote)

Here is a video about her:

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One comment

  1. Thank you for this deep glimpse into a talented and troubled life. The family history, her haunting eyes, weird directors (what’s up with the choking and strange questions?), and drugs all spelled trouble. A lovely girl who needed help and didn’t get it. Beautiful star quality, though.

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