Ivy Nicholson, star magazine cover model and friend of Andy Warhol whose life took a sad turn – obituary


Ivy Nicholson, who died at the age of 88, was one of Europe’s most successful models in the 1950s, appearing so often on the covers of French Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar that in 1962 the Daily Mail called her “one of the most famous magazine girls”. But his story was one of the rags to wealth and the return to rags.

After modeling jobs began to run out of steam, she returned to her native New York where she was “discovered” by Andy Warhol; she has become a staple of his Manhattan “Factory” and, according to poet and photographer Gerard Malanga, the artist’s first “superstar”.

Warhol chose Ivy Nicholson in eight films. They included I, A Man, as one of the many women who have sex with the main character, played by Tom Baker (the American actor, not his British counterpart), and Couch, a work featured in Time magazine. as presenting “transvestite orgies.” with masturbation and other frills ”.

She fell, by her own admission, “madly in love” with Warhol, but the feeling was not mutual and her passion bordered on the deranged. Another Factory regular, Danny Fields, recalled a party at which Ivy “dishonored herself, crawling on all fours, lamenting her love for Andy. Every now and then Andy, not violently but raising his foot slightly, would kick him like a boring child or a dog that you didn’t want to hurt but wanted to leave.

“So she crawled on the floor and started to climb out the window. It’s the sixth floor so… I got up and grabbed her to bring her back inside… But later Andy said, ‘Oooh, you shouldn’t have stopped Ivy from jumping… We wanted to see her jump. ‘ “

Instead, she ended up marrying John Palmer, an 18-year-old assistant to Warhol (she was 30 at the time and had been married once before), with whom she had twins. Their family life was touched upon in Warhol’s 1965 film John And Ivy, featuring the couple drinking and dancing in a cramped small kitchen against the backdrop of a screaming radio and screaming babies. The marriage ended the same year.

In the late 1980s, Ivy Nicholson was living on the streets in San Francisco’s seedy Tenderloin neighborhood.


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