Warhol collaborator Louis Waldon dies

Actor appeared alongside Joe Dallesandro in the Flesh, Lonesome Cowboys and Nude Restaurant
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Joe Dallesandro (right) and Louis Waldon (left) in Flesh (1968) by Andy Warhol
Joe Dallesandro (right) and Louis Waldon (left) in Flesh (1968) by Andy Warhol

Had the Smiths singer Morrissey not cropped this 1968 still from Andy Warhol's Flesh for the band's debut album cover quite so abruptly, we might be more familiar with Louis Waldon. The actor, who passed away on Friday in California just a few days short of his 79th birthday, appeared alongside Joe Dallesandro in the '68 film, and starred in a number of other Warhol films, including Lonesome Cowboys, Blue Movie, San Diego Surf, Bike Boy and Nude Restaurant.

Unlike many of his fellow stars, Waldon had something of an acting career prior to meeting the pop artist, though his movies, with titles like The Love Merchant, were the kind of seedy pictures works that Warhol and co., were seeking both to mimic and exploit.

While Waldon was quite willing to perform scenes of ground-breaking nudity - the manager of the cinema that showed Blue Movie in 1969 was fined $250 for screening the picture - he was no Adonis. The New York Times review of Blue Movie describes Waldon as "a pleasant, stocky, 30-ish man".

 

Indeed, rather than trading simply on his good looks, Waldon was awarded parts on the strength of his likable on-screen presence. As his fellow star, Richard Dupont, told the New York Post, "Without Louie there never would have been any Warhol films. He was also the funniest guy, and all the artists loved him, he had a heart of gold."

After working with Warhol, Waldon relocated to Europe for sometime, before moving back to California. He went on to appear in a number of more commercial films, including 1985 Cher weepie, Mask, before turning to the production and sale of Warhol-style screen-print art.

To find out more, go here. For a greater understanding of Warhol's work and collaborators, take a look at our Warhol books, including the Giant overview, the succinct Focus and the comprehensive catalogue raisonné.


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