1944 - 1974

"I'm a thousand different people. Every one is real."

- Candy Darling

Warhol superstar Candy Darling was born into an alcoholic household in Queens, N.Y. where she lived with her mother after her parents’ divorce. Darling, who was assigned male at birth, spent hours watching and studying old movies on TV.  It was by impersonating her favorite actresses that she discovered herself– though this behavior made her an outcast. At 17, she was confronted by her mother over rumors that she wore women’s clothes. She left the room and returned in drag. With milky white skin and large brown eyes she was indeed a beauty. Adopting the name Hope Slattery, she began getting hormone injections and frequenting Manhattan gay bars. By 1967, she had assumed the name Candy Darling and was starring alongside Jackie Curtis and a young Robert DeNiro in Curtis’ play ‘Glamour, Glory, and Gold’. One night Andy Warhol came to see the production and promptly cast her and Curtis in his film ‘Flesh’ (1968). Feeling stardom was destined, Darling was crushed when she was not cast in ‘Myra Breckinridge’ (1970). Though she found at best bit-parts in mainstream films, in the vibrant underground world Darling was a superstar. She portrayed a central character in Warhol’s ‘Women in Revolt’ (1971) and appeared in such independent films as ‘Brand X’ (1970) and ‘Some of My Best Friends Are...’ (1971), where she played a victim of trans-bashing.  She also appeared on stage in several plays including Tennessee Williams’s ‘Small Craft Warnings’ (1972), at the request of Williams himself.  Darling was immortalized in music, most notably by Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground in the rock classics ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and ‘Candy Says,’ and in the Rolling Stones’ ‘Citadel.’ She died of lymphoma on March 21, 1974 at the age of 29. Despite the brevity of her life, her influence remains undeniable.  Along with Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling emerged in the late 60s/early 70s as a bold and outrageous transsexual superstar of the youth-quaking underground, blazing a trail for greater transgender visibility and acceptance in the future.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Unknown

Gender Identity Transgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Cold War (1945-1991)

Field(s) of Contribution




Commemorations & Honors

Greer Lankton's Bust of Darling Displayed at Whitney Biennial (1995)

Stephen Dorff First Person to Portray Darling in I Shot Andy Warhol (1996)

Beautiful Darling Documentary Berlin International Film Festival Premiere (2010)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell