Edith Minturn Sedgwick was born on April 20th, in 1943, in Santa Barbara, California, to a very wealthy family. Their wealth increased even more when oil was found on their ranch. Despite having any thing money could buy, it did not buy her happiness or love. Edie endured a tragic childhood, with her two brothers passing away young, one by suicide, and another, a drug addict in a motorcycle wreck. A beautiful girl coming of age, Edie was also a victim of child abuse. Yet as happens too often, when she tried to speak out against it, her family called her insane, and threw her, like one of her brothers, in an insane asylum. Contrary to false media reports that blamed the young woman, calling her crazy, Edie was a victim of psychiatrists, paid for by big money to try and invalidate her rape and abuse. She suffered by electric shocks to her brain, destructive pills by doctors, and her will and weight withered away. A street drug addict and psychiatric victim, she also became bulimic, and spent much of her young life in and out of rehabs, mental wards, and even a short stint in jail due to her drug habits.
But while a part of Edith's world was hell, due to never having the love, emotional support, and stability of enough sane, healthy people around her, she burned through life like a legend before her time, making pop culture history with seemingly every move and blink of those famous long lashes and those amazing eyes. Hitting NYC at 21, she hooked up with the man who would become one of the most famous artists in the world, Andy Warhol. Andy had found his muse, Edie Sedgwick was christened a 'superstar,' and was the darling of the so called 'factory scene.' Warhol Manager Paul Morrissey refuted a so called factory scene, yet we can be sure at least, a scene existed at this time somewhere, and Warhol's crowd was certainly a major, happening part of it.
The wild 'poor little rich girl,' as Andy called her, became a muse not only to Warhol, but to some of the biggest and coolest artists of her time. Edie Sedgwick, while an underground superstar of Andy's films, mostly directed by Morrissey, was more recognizable as a model and muse than an actress. Her appearances were more documentary, simply Edie being Edie, which was more than enough. Edie put her heart and soul in to every moment, and every second of her life. Rock legends including Nico, Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan have all been inspired by her. Dylan's song 'Just like a Woman' is believed to have been written about Edie, who he dated for some time.
Despite false reports otherwise, Edie Sedgwick passed away on November 16th, 1971, due to a drug over dose. Her influence on fashion is undeniable, her style always unique, and her beautiful look, timeless. Edie Sedgwick truly is one of the Top 10 Hottest Models of all time. Edie longed to be an actress, to belong, and to be loved. She accomplished all of this and more. While perhaps not loved by all of the right people who could help save and protect her, she is, and will forever be remembered and loved for what she has left us, hard lessons to be learned from her mistakes, the magic of her image on film, and the power of her icon that shall never leave us- our superstar.
- Bruce Edwin
The Hollywood Sentinel.com, © 2009