Taylor Mead the actor. poet and artist best known for such Warhol classic films as “Lonesome Cowboys.””Couch” and “The Nude Restaurant” has died in Denver, age 88. Mead turned his back on a world of privilege, after abandoning his job in a New York brokerage house to become a bohemian and familiar fixture on New York’s Lower East Side.
He was openly gay from the age of 12. Leaving the East Coast in the mid-1950s, Mead hitchhiked to California to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He hung out with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in San Francisco’s Beat scene before moving to New York, where he spent much of the rest of his life.
Taylor appeared in 130 films and became one of Andy Warhol’s very first superstars. His best known performance out side of the ten Warhol films was in 2003 in Jim Jarmusch’s “Coffee and Cigarettes,” a loosely connected series of vignettes. Mead plays the part of a janitor who has given up on his life.
Early in his career, the Village Voice, film critic J. Hoberman called him “the first underground movie star.” and “the Charlie Chaplin of the 1960s underground.” His first film was the 1960s art house classic “The Flower Thief.”
Proclaiming himself as “a drifter in the arts,” Mead also appeared on stage. He won an Obie Award in 1963 for his performance in the Frank O’Hara play, “The General Returns From One Place to Another.” He also published several volumes of poetry and three volumes of his journals. In 2006 his visual art work was chosen and displayed at the Whitney Biennial.
Paintings: Taylor Mead courtesty of Churner and Churner NY
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