Many things make me happy, and one of them just happens to be a photograph of a sick tranny on a death bed. Candy Darling on her Death Bed shot by Peter Hujar in 1974 is stunning. At first I thought this photograph was just a brilliant shot. Little did I know she really was on her death bed, filled with cancer that was consuming her body faster than a fat kid tearing through a bag of Doritos. I love the idea of finding beauty in the macabre. Who knew being sick could be so glamorous?
In a desperate attempt to ditch the body she was born into, Candy Darling began injecting unsanctioned hormones and as a result she developed leukemia. After a bout with pneumonia, she took off for the big disco ball in the sky on March 21st, 1974 at the age of 29. She is still very much alive in my household. We see her often. Sometimes on TV. Sometimes in the record collection. The photo above serves as the cover art for Antony & the Johnsons haunting record I Am a Bird Now. We even almost named one of the tree frogs that invaded our patio over the summer after her. The honors ended up going to fellow Factory girl, Edie Sedgwick. She is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson said it best, “Candy, Candy, Candy I can’t let you go”.
In a letter intended for Andy Warhol written from her death bed, Candy said, “Unfortunately before my death I had no desire left for life . . . I am just so bored by everything. You might say bored to death. Did you know I couldn’t last. I always knew it. I wish I could meet you all again.”
Bored to death. So, she taught us all that getting sick can be glamorous… and apparently funny too. Bravo, Ms. Darling!