SYLVIA

“Sylvia’s best friends are her boyfriends. They’re always handsome, young, and unemployed. They follow her. Sylvia doesn’t follow anybody.

“The most famous thing Sylvia ever did was throw a plate of spaghetti, brie cheese, and salad on John Simon’s head. She was furious at him for calling her ‘a party girl and gate crasher’ in one of his reviews. She said, ‘Take that! Now you can call me a plate crasher too!’

“Sylvia never crashes parties, but she is a party girl. During the 1977 Democratic primary in New York a reporter asked Sylvia how she could go to a Bella Abzug fundraiser one night and a Mario Cuomo fundraiser the next. Sylvia replied, ‘I’m not for any candidate. I’m for the party.’

“Sylvia goes to at least three parties a night. One for cocktails, one for dinner, and one for dessert. One night she arrived at her dessert party and a big black waiter asked her if she’d like a cup of coffee. Sylvia said yes and the waiter asked, ‘How do you take your coffee, Miss Miles?’

” ‘I like my coffee the way I like my men,’ said Sylvia, eyeing the waiter up and down.

” ‘I’m sorry, Miss Miles,’ the waiter said, ‘But we don’t have any gay coffee.’ ” — Andy Warhol*

Sylvia Miles, who died on June 12, costarred with Joe Dallesandro in Andy Warhol’s Heat, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress twice: for seven minutes of work in Midnight Cowboy (1969), and five minutes of work in Farewell, My Lovely (1975).

*Andy Warhol’s Exposures, edited by Bob Colacello (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1979), 176.

From top: Sylvia Miles and Joe Dallesandro, publicity still for Andy Warhol’s Heat; Miles and Tennessee Williams; Vieux Carré poster for London production; Miles and Dallesandro on set, Heat; Warhol (left), Miles, Geneviève Waïte, and Bob Colacello, 1974, photograph by William E. Sauro; Miles and Dallesandro in Heat.

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