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Edie Sedgwick
Sedgwick (center), with Pat Hartley, filming Ciao! Manhattan in 1967
Edith Minturn Sedgwick

(1943-04-20)April 20, 1943
Died November 16, 1971(1971-11-16) (aged 28)
Resting place Oak Hill Cemetery
Other names Edith Sedgwick Post
Education Radcliffe College
  • Actress
  • model
  • socialite
  • artist
Years active 1965–1971
Michael Post
(m. 1971)
Relatives Sedgwick family (paternal), Henry deForest (maternal grandfather)
Edie sedgwick autograph.svg

Edith Minturn Sedgwick Post (April 20, 1943 – November 16, 1971) was an American actress and fashion model, known for being one of Andy Warhol's superstars. Sedgwick became known as "The Girl of the Year" in 1965 after starring in several of Warhol's short films in the 1960s. She was dubbed an "It Girl", while Vogue magazine also named her a "Youthquaker".

Sedgwick broke with Warhol in 1966, and attempted to forge an independent acting career. However, her mental health deteriorated, and she struggled to complete the semi-autobiographical film Ciao! Manhattan. She met her future husband Michael Post, and completed filming Ciao! Manhattan in early 1971. Post and Sedgwick married in July 1971; she died four months later at age 28.

Early life and education

Edie Sedgwick was born in Santa Barbara, California, the seventh of eight children of Alice Delano de Forest (1908–1988) and Francis Minturn Sedgwick (1904–1967), a rancher and sculptor, and a member of the historical Sedgwick family of Massachusetts. Sedgwick's mother, Alice, was the daughter of Henry Wheeler de Forest, the president and chairman of the board of the Southern Pacific Railroad. She was named after her father's aunt, Edith Minturn Stokes, who was famously painted with her husband, Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, by John Singer Sargent. She was of English and French Huguenot ancestry.

Despite the family's wealth and high social status, Sedgwick's early life was troubled. The Sedgwick children were raised on the family's California ranches. Initially schooled at home and cared for by nannies, their lives were rigidly controlled by their parents. They were largely isolated from the outside world, and it was instilled into them that they were superior to most of their peers. It was within these familial and social conditions that Sedgwick by her early teens developed an eating disorder, settling into an early pattern of binging and purging. At age 13 (the year her grandfather Henry Dwight Sedgwick died), Sedgwick began boarding at the Branson School near San Francisco. According to her older sister Alice "Saucie" Sedgwick, she was soon taken out of the school because of the eating disorder. Her father severely restricted her freedom when she returned home.

In 1958, her parents enrolled her at St. Timothy's School in Maryland. She was eventually taken out of the school due to an eating disorder that had progressed to anorexia.

In the autumn of 1962, at her father's insistence, Sedgwick was committed to the private Silver Hill psychiatric hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. As the regime was very lax, Sedgwick easily manipulated the situation at Silver Hill, and her weight kept dropping. She was later sent to Bloomingdale, the Westchester County, New York division of New York Hospital, where her anorexia improved markedly.

In the autumn of 1963, Sedgwick moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and began studying sculpture with her cousin, artist Lily Saarinen. According to Saarinen, Sedgwick "was very insecure about men, though all the men loved her." During this period, she partied with members of an elite bohemian fringe of the Harvard social scene.

Sedgwick was deeply affected by the loss of her older brothers, Francis Jr. (known as "Minty") and Robert (known as "Bobby"), who died within 18 months of each other, in 1964 and 1965.

The Factory

On her twenty-first birthday in April 1964, Sedgwick received an $80,000 trust fund from her maternal grandmother. Soon after, she relocated to New York City to pursue a career in modeling. In March 1965, she met artist and avant-garde filmmaker Andy Warhol at a party at Lester Persky's apartment, and began frequently visiting The Factory, Warhol's art studio in Midtown Manhattan. During one of her subsequent visits, Warhol was filming Vinyl (1965), his interpretation of Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange. Despite Vinyl's all-male cast, Warhol put Sedgwick in the movie. Around this time, she also made a small cameo appearance in another Warhol film, Horse (1965). Sedgwick's appearances in both films were brief but generated enough interest that Warhol decided to cast her in the starring role of his next films.

The first of these avant-garde films, Poor Little Rich Girl (1965), was originally conceived as part of a series of films featuring Sedgwick called The Poor Little Rich Girl Saga. The series was to include Poor Little Rich Girl, Restaurant, Face and Afternoon. Filming of Poor Little Rich Girl began in March 1965 in Sedgwick's apartment; it depicted her going about her daily routines. Sedgwick's next film for Warhol was Kitchen, which was filmed in May 1965 but was not released until 1966. Written by Factory scriptwriter Ronald Tavel, the film stars Sedgwick, Rene Ricard, Roger Trudeau, Donald Lyons and Elecktrah. After Kitchen, Chuck Wein replaced Ronald Tavel as a writer and assistant director for the filming of Beauty No. 2 (1965), which was filmed in June and premiered in July 1965. The film shows Sedgwick lounging on a bed in her underwear with Gino Piserchio and being taunted by Chuck Wein off-screen.

Warhol's films were for the most part shown only in underground film theaters and in viewings held at The Factory, and were not commercially successful. Regardless, Sedgwick began receiving attention from the mainstream media, who reported on her appearances in the films and on her personal style. During this period, she developed a distinct look including black leotards, mini dresses, large chandelier earrings, and heavy eye make-up. Sedgwick also cut her naturally brown hair short and dyed it with silver spray, thus matching her look with Warhol's, who was known for wearing silvery hair pieces. Warhol dubbed Sedgwick his "Superstar", and they began appearing together at various public events.

Sedgwick and Warhol continued making films together —Outer and Inner Space, Prison, Lupe and Chelsea Girls— throughout 1965. The edited footage of Sedgwick in Chelsea Girls would eventually become the film Afternoon. Their relationship deteriorated by late 1965, and Sedgwick demanded that Warhol stop showing her films.

Lupe is often thought to be Sedgwick's last Warhol film, but she filmed The Andy Warhol Story with Rene Ricard in November 1966, almost a year after finishing Lupe. The Andy Warhol Story was an unreleased film that was only screened once at The Factory. Along with Sedgwick, the film featured Ricard satirically pretending to be Andy Warhol.

Post-Factory years

Following her estrangement from Warhol's inner circle, Sedgwick began living at the Chelsea Hotel, where she became close to Bob Dylan. Dylan and his friends eventually convinced Sedgwick to sign up with Albert Grossman, Dylan's manager. According to Paul Morrissey, Sedgwick had developed a crush on Dylan that she thought he reciprocated. She was also under the impression that she and Dylan would star in a mainstream film together. Unbeknownst to Sedgwick, Dylan had secretly married his girlfriend Sara Lownds in November 1965. Morrissey claimed that Sedgwick was informed of the marriage by Warhol (who reportedly heard about it through his lawyer) in February 1966. Friends of Sedgwick's later said that she saw the supposed offer of doing a film with Dylan as a ticket to a mainstream film career. Paul Morrissey claimed that Dylan likely never had plans to star in a film with Sedgwick, and Dylan "hadn't been very truthful."

In 1966, Sedgwick was named one of the "fashion revolutionaries" in New York by Women's Wear Daily, alongside Tiger Morse, Baby Jane Holzer, Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne, Rudi Gernreich, André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, and Mary Quant.

Throughout most of 1966, Sedgwick was involved in an intense but troubled relationship with Dylan's friend Bob Neuwirth. In early 1967, Neuwirth broke off their relationship.

Later years

After breaking with Andy Warhol and The Factory scene, Sedgwick attempted to forge a legitimate acting career. She auditioned for Norman Mailer. His stage adaptation of his novel The Deer Park was being produced. But Mailer "turned her down."

As fast as Diana Vreeland of Vogue had been to cast aside Edie the young American aristocrat, she now pounced on a teen-age working-class girl from England, Twiggy, whose arrival in New York in March 1967 caused nearly riotous events among young American followers of style and fashion. In that same month, March 1967, Sedgwick began shooting of Ciao! Manhattan, a semi-autobiographical underground film co-directed by John Palmer and David Weisman. During this, she accidentally set her room on fire in the Chelsea Hotel and was briefly hospitalized with burns. Due to Sedgwick's rapidly deteriorating health, the film was suspended. After further hospitalizations in 1968 and 1969, Sedgwick returned to her family's ranch in California to recuperate. In August 1969, she was hospitalized again in the psychiatric ward of the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. While in the hospital, Sedgwick met another patient, Michael Brett Post, whom she would marry in July 1971.

Sedgwick was hospitalized again in the summer of 1970 but was let out under the supervision of a psychiatrist, two nurses, and the live-in care of filmmaker John Palmer and his wife Janet. Determined to finish Ciao! Manhattan and have her story told, Sedgwick reconnected with the film crew and began shooting in Arcadia and Santa Barbara in late 1970. She also recorded audio tapes reflecting on her life story: accounts Weisman and Palmer incorporated into the film's dramatic arc. Filming completed in early 1971, and the film was released in February 1972.

Marriage and death

In the summer of 1970, Sedgwick met Michael Post, who was a fellow patient at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

On November 15, 1971, Sedgwick died in her bed.

Sedgwick was not buried in her family's Sedgwick Pie cemetery plot but in the small Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard, California. Her epitaph reads "Edith Sedgwick Post – Wife Of Michael Brett Post 1943–1971".


Year Title Role Notes
1965 Vinyl Non-speaking role
1965 Beauty No. 2
1965 Space
1965 Restaurant Short
1965 Prison alternative title: Girls in Prison
1965 Kitchen
1965 Horse Non-speaking role; first appearance in a Warhol film
1965 Afternoon
1965 Outer and Inner Space Short
1965 Screen Test No. 1 Herself
1965 Screen Test No. 2 Herself
1965 Poor Little Rich Girl Poor Little Rich Girl Credited as Mazda Isphahan
1965 Factory Diaries
1966 Lupe Lupe Vélez
1966 Face
1967 Four Stars**** alternative title: The Four Star Movie; uses footage of Sedgwick from previous Warhol films
1967 The Andy Warhol Story final film with Warhol
1969 Walden Herself alternative title: Diaries, Notes and Sketches
1972 Ciao! Manhattan Susan Superstar posthumously released

See also

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