Original Andy Warhol superstar and Salvador Dali protégée Isabelle Collin Dufresne, aka Ultra Violet, has lost her battle with cancer at age 78.
Dufresne appeared in a number of Warhol's films, including The Life of Juanita Castro (1965); I, a Man (1967); and **** (1967); plus several other films teeming with Warhol's clique. She had a small part in the Oscar winner Midnight Cowboy (1969).
A 2009 portrait of Dufresne by Jim Herrington
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Dufresne during the book tour for her memoir Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years with Andy Warhol in Chicago in 1988. I can't be sure, but I believe she was one of the first celebrities I went to see at an appearance, in search of an autograph. I had read up on her, so I arrived with a lightbulb for her to sign (so it would be an Ultra Violet light) as well as an American flag (in homage to her famous flag bed sheets, a picture of which adorns her book's back cover). She was charming, if surprised at my interest. I will never forget her asking, Did you know Andy? I was like 19 years old.
Not many of the major Andy Warhol superstars are left alive...Billy Name (74), Brigid Berlin (74), Gerard Malanga (71), Baby Jane Holzer (73), Jayne County (66 or so), Joe Dallesandro (65), Holly Woodlawn (67), Mary Woronov (70—just met her!) and Viva (75) come to mind, though fans could argue forever which are the most important.