August 6, 1928 - February 22, 1987
"Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes."
Andy Warhol was born to Slovak immigrants as Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928, on 73 Orr Street in Soho, Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. He was a successful illustrator for advertisements in the 1950s, but it
wasn't until the early 1960's
that he became world-famous for his silk-screens featuring Campbell's Soup cans. After he bought his first camera in 1963,
he made a series of movies and eventually launched his own celeb-magazine, called Interview. He was the
producer and designer of the first album of the Velvet Underground & Nico.
By now everyone in the world knows that Andy coined that whole "15 minutes" thing. He should have put a
copyright on it.
Psycho Valerie Solanos shot him three times in the chest on June 3, 1968. She was in one of his movies a long time
before, and wanted Andy to make a film of a screenplay she wrote, which has a name that cannot be mentioned here. Andy
was rushed to Columbus Hospital and was at one point pronounced clinically dead. Two months later he was released.
Valerie Solanos was the only member of SCUM, the Society For Cutting Up Men. She turned herself in the day after she
shot Warhol and spent 3 years in prison. Solanos died on April 26, 1988 of pneumonia.
One of Andy Warhol's last public appearances was in Italy, when he attended the opening of the exhibition
of his Last
Supper Series on January 22, 1987. Suffering from a gall bladder infection, he returned to the United States. In the
days to follow, Warhol went to see Linda Li of Li Chiropractic Healing Arts Clinic for a massage,
which didn't do his gall bladder any good. Because of the severe pain he experienced following the massage,
Warhol consulted with Dr. Linda Burke on Saturday, February 14, 1987. He got a sonogram that
indicated that the gall bladder was enlarged.
On February 19th, Warhol went to see his physician Dr. Denton S.
Cox to get a second sonogram, which showed similar
Andy was living at 57 East 66th Street, in Manhattan.
Here is his
and there is now a plaque
honoring Andy, in the front of it.
Even though hospitals really freaked Warhol in a big bad way, he checked into the
York Hospital on Friday, February 20 under the name of Bob Robert.
He knew his Blue Cross
number by heart. Surgery was performed the next day, from 8:45 am to 12:10 pm (EST). After the surgery, Warhol spent 3
hours in a recovery room, then he was taken to a private room, which was located on the 12th floor of Baker Pavilion. He
watched television during the evening and called one of his dearest friends, Paige
At 4 am on February 22nd, Warhol's blood pressure was recorded as 'stable.'
At 5:45 am, Warhol turned blue and his pulse had weakened. His private nurse could not wake him, and she called for
assistance. The hospital staff tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate him. They even tried to insert a tube down his
windpipe but had difficulty because rigor mortis had started. Andy Warhol was pronounced dead at 6:21 am on February 22,
1987. He was 58 years old.
An open-casket ceremony was held at Thomas P. Kunsak Funeral Home in Pittsburgh. Warhol's was solid bronze with gold plated rails and white upholstery. He was wearing a black cashmere suit, colourful paisley tie, a platinum
wig, and sunglasses. He was holding a small prayer book and a red rose. The funeral service was held at the Holy Ghost
Byzantine Catholic Church. The coffin was covered with white roses and asparagus ferns. After the funeral service, the
coffin was driven to St. John Divine Cemetery in Bethel Park.
At the grave site, the priest said a brief prayer and sprinkled holy water three times over the
casket. Before it was lowered, Paige Powell dropped a copy of Interview magazine, an Interview t-shirt, and a bottle of Estee Lauder perfume into the grave. His tombstone was a marble stone
with Warhol's name and dates of birth and death.
Findadeath friend Sarah Martin sends in this terrific picture
of Andy's grave. Thanks Sarah!
A memorial service was held on April 1, 1987 at Manhattan's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Bridget Berlin read passages
from the Scriptures and Yoko Ono talked about her friendship with Andy. Mourners in attendance
were Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, Liza Minnelli and Don Johnson among others.
After the memorial, the attendees had lunch at the Diamond Horseshoe.
Useless information: One of Andy's earlier stars was Mary Woronov. She starred in Chelsea
Personally, I loved her in Rock and Roll High School,
one of my all time favorite flicks. Rest in peace, Joey Ramone. Mary played Miss
Togar, the principal of the school. I always thought she looked like Tim
Curry's mother. She
was also in the terrific film Scenes from a Class Struggle in Beverly
Hills, with Rebecca Schaeffer. I met Mary in 2000.
She was doing a talk here in London. She was really funny, and I asked her about her scenes in Class Struggle.
To my surprise, she got pissed off, and said that most of her good scenes were cut, because she
a big enough name in it, referring to her co-star Jacqueline Bisset. When I asked Mary about Rebecca,
genuinely sad, and just said that she was a really nice girl. Mary did sign a picture for
In his book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, Andy wrote about death: "I don't believe in it, because
you're not around to know that it's happened. I can't say anything about it because I'm not prepared for it."
They had an auction of Andy's stuff after he died. People were paying oodles for every piece of crap he owned. The
cookie jar collection got most of the attention, but then there were those silk screens of that damn soup can. Warhol's diaries were published, and everyone in the New York scene were
clamoring to get to the index - to see (mostly) if they made it in, and
(secondly) if Andy was nasty about them.
There is a Warhol Museum in his native Pittsburgh. Inside it, is Andy's dog, Cecil, who is now
preserved through taxidermy. Findadeath friend Sarah Martin infiltrated
the tight security to snap Cecil for us all to
Thanks, Sarah - I've seen stuffed pets before, but it really does
seem like this one shows personality in it's eyes. Usually they just
looked like stuffed animals.
Mostly by Mark from Holland, me, and some pics by Stacey Weinstein of NYC. Thanks, you