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Holly Woodlawn
(October 26, 1946 - December 6, 2015) Puerto Rico - U.S.A.

Holly WoodlawnHolly Woodlawn



Holly was born Haraldo Santiago Franceschi Rodriguez Danhakl in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. The product of a short-lived marriage between his mother, Aminta, a Puerto Rican, and an American soldier of German descent stationed in Puerto Rico, who met Haraldo's mother on leave, got her pregnant, married her, then quickly departed.

Although his mother Aminta married Joseph Ajzenberg when Harold was only five years of age, he wasn't legally adopted as by his step-father until the age of fifteen, changing his last name to Ajzenberg.

Holly WoodlawnHaraldo was raised in a household that included 8 aunts, 1 uncle, 5 cousins, 2 grandparents, 6 chickens and 3 pigs. She came out at as transgender at a young age; she adopted the name "Holly" from the character in Breakfast at Tiffany's and "Woodlawn" from an episode of I Love Lucy .

In 1962, at age fifteen, Holly left Florida for New York City; her journey later was made famous by Lou Reed in Walk On The Wild Side :

"Holly came from Miami, F-L-A,
Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A.,
Plucked her eyebrows on the way,
Shaved her legs and then he was a she... "

In 1968, Holly attended a screening of director Paul Morrissey's Flesh at The Factory in New York City, where she met Andy Warhol; her friendship with Warhol led to roles in Morrissey's Trash and Women in Revolt .

Holly made his/her night club debut in 1973 at New York "Reno Sweeney's" on a double bill with Betty Rhodes. He then acted in Warhol's film Trash. Holly was hired by the producers of Tootsie (1982) to coach actor Dustin Hoffman in his role as 'Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels' in the art of being a man acting as a woman in films.

Holly Woodlawn
Holly Woodlawn, New York City, 1970. Photo by Jack Mitchell

Throughout the 1970s, Woodlawn faced legal troubles as she moved between New York City, San Francisco, and Florida. In the 1980s, she found success as a club singer in New York City and, by the 1990s, she rightly was regarded as an icon in the queer community.

Holly WoodlawnHolly had small appearances in film and television throughout the last decades of her life, most recently appearing on Transparent .

Holly also appeared in Allan Mindel's film, Milwaukee, Minnesota (2003), with Randy Quaid, Bruce Dern and Josh Brolin. Hee was also interviewed extensively in Craig Highberger's documentary on Jackie Curtis, Superstar in a Housedress (2004).

Holly currently resides in Los Angeles. In January 2004, he was admitted to intensive care after complications from an operation on his arm and shoulder which he broke during a fall.

She planned a film based on her autobiography, The Holly Woodlawn Story: A Low Life in High Heels. Holly Woodlawn died of brain and liver cancer; she was sixty-nine.


Sources: Wikipedia, the free wncyclopedia - http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/

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