Edith Minturn Sedgwick (1943-1971)

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Edith Minturn Sedgwick was born 20 April 1943 in Santa Barbara, California, United States to Francis Minturn Sedgwick (1904-1967) and Alice Delano de Forest (1908-1988) and died 16 November 1971 in Santa Barbara, California, United States of drug overdose. She married Michael Brett Post 1971 . Ancestors are from the United States.

Edith Minturn "Edie" Sedgwick (April 20, 1943 – November 16, 1971) was an American actress, socialite, model, and heiress. She is best known for being one of Andy Warhol's superstars. Sedgwick became known as "The Girl of the Year" in 1965 after starring in several of Andy Warhol's short films, in the 1960s.[1] Dubbed an "It Girl",[2] Vogue magazine also named her a "Youthquaker".[3]

Family background and early life

Edie Sedgwick was born in Santa Barbara, California, to Alice Delano de Forest (1908–1988) and Francis Minturn Sedgwick, (1904–1967, known as either "Duke or "Fuzzy"), a philanthropist, rancher, and sculptor.[4] She was named after her father's aunt, Edith Minturn, famously painted, with her husband, Isaac Newton Phelps-Stokes, by John Singer Sargent.

Sedgwick's family was long established in Massachusetts history. Her seventh-great grandfather, English-born Robert Sedgwick,[5] was the first Major General of the Massachusetts Bay Colony settling in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1635.[6] Edie's family later originated from Stockbridge, Massachusetts where her great-great-great grandfather Judge Theodore Sedgwick had settled after the American Revolution. Theodore married Pamela Dwight who was the daughter of Abigail (Williams) Dwight, which means that Ephraim Williams, the founder of Williams College, was her fifth-great grandfather.[7] Theodore Sedgwick was the first to plead and win a case for the freedom of a black woman, Elizabeth Freeman, under the Massachusetts Bill of Rights that declared all men to be born free and equal.[8] Sedgwick's mother was the daughter of Henry Wheeler de Forest (President and Chairman of the Board of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and a direct descendant of Jessé de Forest whose Dutch West India Company helped to settle New Amsterdam).[9] Jessé de Forestt was also Edie's seventh-great grandfather.[10] Her paternal grandfather was the historian and acclaimed author Henry Dwight Sedgwick III; her great grandmother, Susanna Shaw, was the sister of Robert Gould Shaw, the American Civil War Colonel; and her great-great grandfather, Robert Bowne Minturn, was a part owner of the Flying Cloud clipper ship, and is credited with creating and promoting Central Park in New York City.[11] And her great-great-great grandfather, William Ellery, was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence.[8]

She was the first cousin, once removed, of actress Kyra Sedgwick.

Despite her family's wealth and high social status, Edie's early life was troubled. All the Sedgwick children had deeply conflicted relationships with their father Fuzzy—they adored him, but by most accounts he was narcissistic, emotionally remote, controlling and frequently abusive. Her eldest sister Alice ("Saucie") eventually broke with the family and her two older brothers died prematurely. Francis (known as "Minty"), who had a particularly unhappy relationship with Fuzzy, suffered several breakdowns, eventually committing suicide in 1964 while in a psychiatric hospital. Her oldest brother Robert ("Bobby"), who also suffered from mental health problems, died in a motorcycle accident in 1965. Edie had a very difficult relationship with her father, who openly carried on affairs with other women, and on one occasion she walked in on him while he was having sex with one of his paramours; she flew into a rage, but Fuzzy claimed that Edie had imagined the whole event. As a result of her emotional problems, Edie developed anorexia by her early teens and settled into a lifelong pattern of binging and purging.

The Sedgwick children were raised on their family's California ranches. Initially schooled at home and cared for by nannies, their lives were rigidly controlled by their parents; they were largely isolated from the outside world and it was instilled into them that they were superior to most of their peers. At age 13 (the year her grandfather Babbo died) Edie began boarding at the Katharine Branson School near San Francisco but according to Saucie she was soon taken out of the school because of her anorexia. In 1958 she was enrolled at St. Timothy's School in Maryland. She initially made a dazzling impression but soon ran into trouble and was taken out the following year. At this point there was apparently a serious rift between Edie's parents and her mother left the country with Edie, intending to take her to stay with a noble family in Austria but this arrangement was terminated almost immediately and Edie and her mother reportedly returned to the United States within 48 hours.

In the fall of 1962, at Fuzzy's insistence, Edie was admitted to the Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. According to fellow patient Virginia Davis, the regime was very lax and Edie and her friends were often able to leave the hospital after lunch and go into town on shopping sprees, charging up thousands of dollars worth of goods on credit at local stores. Edie was easily able to manipulate the situation at Silver Hill to her own advantage, and her weight kept dropping to just ninety pounds, so her family then had her transferred to a "closed" facility at Bloomingdale, the Westchester division of the New York Hospital.

The Factory days

In March 1965, Sedgwick met artist and avant-garde filmmaker Andy Warhol at Lester Persky's apartment. She began going to The Factory regularly in March 1965 with her friend, Chuck Wein. During one of those visits, Warhol was filming Vinyl, his interpretation of the novel A Clockwork Orange. Despite Vinyl's all-male cast, Warhol put Sedgwick in the movie. She also made a small cameo appearance in another Warhol film, Horse, when she entered towards the end of the film. Although Sedgwick's appearances in both films were brief, they generated so much interest that Warhol decided to create a vehicle in which she could star.

The first of those films, Poor Little Rich Girl, was originally conceived as part of a series featuring Sedgwick, called The Poor Little Rich Girl Saga. The series was to include Poor Little Rich Girl, Restaurant, Face, and Afternoon. Filming of Poor Little Rich Girl started in March 1965 in Sedgwick's apartment. The first reel shows Sedgwick waking up, ordering coffee and orange juice, and putting on her makeup in silence with only an Everly Brothers record playing. Due to a problem with the camera lens, the footage on the first reel is completely out of focus. The second reel consists of Sedgwick smoking cigarettes, talking on the telephone, trying on clothes, and describing how she had spent her entire inheritance in six months.

On April 30, 1965, Warhol took Sedgwick, Chuck Wein and Gerard Malanga to the opening of his exhibit at the Sonnabend Gallery in Paris. Upon returning to New York City, Warhol asked his scriptwriter, Ron Tavel, to write a script for Sedgwick, “something in a kitchen – something white, and clean, and plastic,” Warhol is to have said, according to Ric Burns' Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film. The result was Kitchen, starring Sedgwick, Rene Ricard, Roger Trudeau, Donald Lyons and Elecktrah. After Kitchen, Chuck Wein replaced Ron Tavel as writer and assistant director for the filming of Beauty No. 2, in which Sedgwick appeared with Gino Piserchio. Beauty No. 2 premiered at the Film-Makers' Cinematheque at the Astor Place Playhouse on July 17.

Although Warhol's films were not commercially successful and rarely seen outside The Factory, as Sedgwick's popularity grew, mainstream media outlets began reporting on her appearances in Warhol's underground films and her unusual fashion sense, which consisted of black leotards, mini dresses, and large chandelier earrings. Sedgwick also cut her hair short and colored her naturally brown hair with silver spray, creating a similar look to the wigs Warhol wore. Warhol christened her his "Superstar" and both were photographed together at various social outings.

Throughout 1965, Sedgwick and Warhol continued making films together, namely, Outer and Inner Space, Prison, Lupe and Chelsea Girls. However, by late 1965, Sedgwick and Warhol's relationship had deteriorated and Sedgwick requested that Warhol no longer show any of her films. She asked that the footage she filmed for Chelsea Girls be removed. Sedgwick's footage was replaced with footage of Nico, with colored lights projected on her face and The Velvet Underground music playing in the background. The edited footage of Sedgwick in Chelsea Girls would eventually become the film Afternoon.

Lupe is often thought to be Sedgwick's last Warhol film, but Sedgwick filmed The Andy Warhol Story with Rene Ricard in 1966, almost a year after she filmed Lupe. The Andy Warhol Story was an unreleased film that was only screened once at The Factory. The film featured Sedgwick, along with Rene Ricard, satirically pretending to be Andy Warhol. It is thought to be either lost or destroyed.

Bob Dylan and Bob Neuwirth

Following her departure from Warhol's circle, Sedgwick began living at the Chelsea Hotel, where she became close to Bob Dylan. Dylan's friends eventually convinced Sedgwick to sign up with Albert Grossman, Dylan's manager. Sedgwick and Dylan's relationship ended when Sedgwick found out that Dylan had married Sara Lownds in a secret ceremony – something that she apparently found out from Warhol during an argument at the Gingerman Restaurant in February 1966.

According to Paul Morrissey, Sedgwick had said: "'They're [Dylan's people] going to make a film and I'm supposed to star in it with Bobby [Dylan].' Suddenly it was Bobby this and Bobby that, and they realized that she had a crush on him. They thought he'd been leading her on, because just that day Andy had heard in his lawyer's office that Dylan had been secretly married for a few months - he married Sara Lownds in November 1965... Andy couldn't resist asking, 'Did you know, Edie, that Bob Dylan has gotten married?' She was trembling. They realized that she really thought of herself as entering a relationship with Dylan, that maybe he hadn't been truthful."[12]

Several weeks before the December 29, 2006 one-week release of the controversial film Factory Girl, described by The Village Voice review as "Edie for Dummies."[13] The Weinstein Company and the film's producers interviewed Sedgwick's older brother, Jonathan, who asserted that she had "had an abortion of the child she was (supposedly) carrying by Dylan."[14] Jonathan Sedgwick, a retired airplane designer, was flown in from Idaho to New York City by the distributor to meet Sienna Miller, who was playing his late sister, as well as to give an eight-hour video interview with details about the purported liaison between Edie and Dylan, which the distributor promptly released to the news media. Jonathan claims an abortion took place soon after "Edie was badly hurt in a motorcycle crash and sent to an emergency unit. As a result of the accident, doctors consigned her to a mental hospital where she was treated for drug addiction." No hospital records or Sedgwick family records exist to support this story. Nonetheless, Edie's brother also claimed "Staff found she was pregnant but, fearing the baby had been damaged by her drug use and anorexia, forced her to have the abortion."[15][16] However, according to Edie Sedgwick's personal medical records and oral life-history tape recorded less than a year before her death for her final film, Ciao! Manhattan, there is credible evidence that the only abortion she underwent in her lifetime was at age 20 in 1963.

Throughout most of 1966, Sedgwick was involved in an intensely private yet tumultuous relationship not with Bob Dylan, but with Dylan's closest friend, Bob Neuwirth. During this period, she became increasingly dependent on barbiturates. Although she experimented with illegal substances including opiates, there is no evidence that Sedgwick ever became a heroin addict. In early 1967, Neuwirth, unable to cope with Sedgwick's drug abuse and erratic behavior, broke off their relationship.

Later years

Sedgwick auditioned for Norman Mailer's play The Deer Park, but Mailer thought she "wasn't very good... She used so much of herself with every line that we knew she'd be immolated after three performances."[17]

In April 1967, Sedgwick began shooting Ciao! Manhattan, an underground movie. After initial footage was shot in New York, co-directors John Palmer and David Weisman continued working on the film over the course of the next five years. Sedgwick's rapidly deteriorating health saw her return to her family in California, spending time in several different psychiatric institutions. In August 1969, she was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of Cottage Hospital after being arrested for drug offenses by the local police. While in the hospital, Sedgwick met another patient, Michael Brett Post, whom she would later marry. Sedgwick was in the hospital again in the summer of 1970, but was let out under the supervision of a psychiatrist, two nurses, and the live-in care of filmmaker John Palmer and his wife Janet. Staunchly determined to finish Ciao! Manhattan and have her story told, Sedgwick recorded audio-tapes reflecting upon her life story, which enabled Weisman and Palmer to incorporate her actual reality into the film's dramatic arc.


When Sedgwick married Michael Post on July 24, 1971, she reportedly stopped drinking and abusing drugs for a short time. Her sobriety lasted until October, when pain medication was given to her to treat a physical illness. She remained under the care of her physician Dr. Wells, who prescribed her barbiturates, but she would demand more pills or claim that she had lost them in order to get more. Sedgwick often combined the medications with alcohol. Post was later put in charge of administering her medication; by his account, she took at least two 300 mg Quaalude tablets and two capsules of three-grain Tuinal every night, in addition to alcohol and whatever other drugs she may have been secretly consuming.

On the night of November 15, 1971, Sedgwick went to a fashion show at the Santa Barbara Museum, a segment of which was filmed for the television show An American Family.[18] After the fashion show, she attended a party where (according to the accounts of her husband and brother-in-law) a drunken guest verbally attacked her by calling her a heroin addict and repeatedly asserting that her marriage would fail. Sedgwick phoned Post, who arrived at the party and, seeing that she was disturbed by the accusations, took her back to their apartment around one in the morning. On the way home, Sedgwick expressed thoughts of uncertainty about their marriage.[19] Before they both fell asleep, Post gave Sedgwick the medication that had been prescribed for her. According to Post, Sedgwick started to fall asleep very quickly, and her breathing was, "bad – it sounded like there was a big hole in her lungs," but he attributed that to her heavy smoking habit and went to sleep.[20]

When Post awoke the following morning, Edie Sedgwick was dead. The coroner ruled Sedgwick's death as "undetermined/accident/suicide." The time of death was estimated to be 9:20 A.M. The death certificate claims the immediate cause was "probable acute barbiturate intoxication" due to ethanol intoxication. Sedgwick's alcohol level was registered at 0.17% and her barbiturate level was 0.48 mg%. She was 28.[21]

Sedgwick was buried in the small Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard, California in a simple grave. Her epitaph reads "Edith Sedgwick Post - Wife Of Michael Brett Post 1943-1971."[22] Her mother Alice was buried next to her in 1988.

In popular culture

In music

In films

  • In the 1980s, Warren Beatty bought the rights to Edie's life story and was planning to make a movie with Molly Ringwald starring as Sedgwick.[26] It was also reported a film entitled The War at Home was to be loosely based on her life during The Factory years, with Linda Fiorentino slated to portray her. It was to be based on John Byrum's fictionalized account of a working-class man who becomes enamored with her. Neither was ever produced.[27]
  • Sedgwick was portrayed by Jennifer Rubin in Oliver Stone's 1991 film The Doors, starring Val Kilmer, during the Factory party scene when Jim Morrison meets Andy Warhol.
  • In the 2002 film Igby Goes Down, Amanda Peet's character, Rachel is described as an "Edie Sedgwick wanna-be" and dresses in Edie inspired attire throughout the film.[28]
  • Director Mike Nichols and actress Natalie Portman considered doing a film about Edie and Andy Warhol, but instead decided to film an adaption of Patrick Marber's play Closer, released in 2004.[29]
  • Sienna Miller played Sedgwick in George Hickenlooper's film Factory Girl, a fictionalized film about Sedgwick's life and times, released in December 2006. The film portrays Warhol, played by Guy Pearce, as a cynic who leads Edie to psychiatric problems and later death. In the film, Hayden Christensen plays "Billy Quinn", an apparent conglomeration of various characters but a look-alike of Bob Dylan. (As of late 2006, Dylan was apparently threatening to pursue a defamation lawsuit, claiming the film implicates him as having driven Sedgwick to her ultimate demise and eventual death.) Michael Post, Sedgwick's widower, appears as a taxi driver in one of the last scenes of the film.[30]
  • The 2007 film I'm Not There based on Bob Dylan's life and times features an Edie-like character named "CoCo Rivington," played by Michelle Williams.


  • One of the poems from Patti Smith's 1972 book Seventh Heaven is called "Edie Sedgwick".
  • A 2004 off-Broadway play entitled Andy & Edie, written and produced by Peter Braunstein, ran for ten days.[31] Misha Sedgwick (no relation), who portrayed Edie, was referred to in the media (not disputed by Misha Sedgwick) as being Edie's niece. At the request of the Sedgwick family, the New York Times published a notice of correction.[32]
  • In the fall of 2006, Ciao! Manhattan co-Director, David Weisman, announced on Access Hollywood that a documentary about Sedgwick was being developed and scheduled to be released in 2007, but has yet to be completed. This documentary would have the same title of the book he co-authored, Edie: Girl on Fire.


Year Film Role Notes
1965 Horse Non-speaking role
Vinyl Non-speaking role
Screen Test No.1 Herself
Screen Test No.2 Herself
Poor Little Rich Girl
Beauty II
Factory Diaries
Outer and Inner Space
Prison[33] Alternative title: Girls in Prison
1966 Lupe
The Andy Warhol Story
1967–1968 **** Alternative title: The Four Star Movie
1969 Diaries, Notes and Sketches Herself Alternative title: Walden
1972 Ciao! Manhattan Susan Superstar


  • Victor Bockris and Gerard Malanga: Uptight: The Velvet Underground Story
  • Victor Bockris: Andy Warhol
  • Michael Opray: Andy Warhol. Film Factory
  • Jean Stein: Edie: An American Biography
  • Andy Warhol: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
  • Melissa Painter and David Weisman: Edie: Girl on Fire Book and Film
  • Steven Watson: Factory Made: Warhol And the Sixties
  • Nat Finkelstein and David Dalton: Edie: Factory Girl


  1. ^ Bockris, Victor (2003). Warhol: The Biography. Da Capo Press. pp. 243. ISBN 0-306-81272-X. 
  2. ^ Reid-Walsh, Jacqueline; Mitchell, Claudia (2008). Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press. pp. 467. ISBN 0-313-33910-4. 
  3. ^ Benoit, Tod (2003). Where Are They Buried? How Did They Die?: Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places Of the Famous, Infamous and Noteworthy. Black Dog Publishing. pp. 479. ISBN 1-579-12287-6. 
  4. ^ "Francis Minturn "Duke" Sedgwick (1904 - 1967)". Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  5. ^ CHS Sedgwick Family
  6. ^ SEDGWICK.ORG - Major General Robert Sedgwick (1613–1656)
  7. ^ In My Blood, Six Generations of Madness & Desire in an American Family, by John Sedgwick, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2007
  8. ^ a b A Sedgwick Genealogy, Descendants of Deacon Benjamin Sedgwick, New Haven Colony Historical Society, 1961
  9. ^ New York Times, article "Henry de Forest, Lawyer, dies at 82", May 28th, 1937
  10. ^ A Walloon Family in America, de Forest, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914
  11. ^
  12. ^ Stein, Jean; Plimpton, George (1982). Edie. Knopf. pp. 284. ISBN 0-394-48819-9. 
  13. ^ village voice > film > Factory Girl: Queen of the Factory Gets a Dull Biopic by Nathan Lee
  14. ^ "My Sister Edie Loved Dylan". New York Post. January 2, 2007. 
  15. ^ Cole, Olivia (January 7, 2007). "Warhol muse lost baby by Dylan". The Times (London). Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Gone in 15 minutes". The Times (London). January 14, 2007.,,2774-2540341,00.html. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  17. ^ Stein, Jean; Plimpton, George (1982). Edie. Knopf. pp. 314. ISBN 0-394-48819-9. 
  18. ^ Stein, Jean; Plimpton, George (1982). Edie. Knopf. pp. 410. ISBN 0-394-48819-9. 
  19. ^ Stein, Jean; Plimpton, George (1982). Edie. Knopf. pp. 415–417. ISBN 0-394-48819-9. 
  20. ^ Stein, Jean; Plimpton, George (1982). Edie. Knopf. pp. 418. ISBN 0-394-48819-9. 
  21. ^ Stein, Jean; Plimpton, George (1982). Edie. Knopf. pp. 421. ISBN 0-394-48819-9. 
  22. ^ Stein, Jean; Plimpton, George (1982). Edie. Knopf. pp. 424–426. ISBN 0-394-48819-9. 
  23. ^ Trager, Oliver (2004). Keys To the Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. Billboard Books. pp. 347–348. ISBN 0-823-07974-0. 
  24. ^ Creswell, Toby (2006). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time and the Artists, Stories and Secrets Behind Them. Thunder's Mouth Press. pp. 534. ISBN 1-560-25915-9. 
  25. ^ Justin Moyer's "Edie Sedgwick" project
  26. ^ .,,20093225,00.html. 
  27. ^ Hruska, Bronwen (October 8, 1995). The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  28. ^ Bernard, Sarah (2003-12-12). "She'll Take Manhattan". 
  29. ^ Stein, Joel (November 29, 2004). "Movies: A Fantasy You Can Bring Home to Mother". Time.,9171,995787,00.html. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Miller denies Dylan 'defamation'". BBC News. December 31, 2006. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Corrections". The New York Times. 2006-12-20. 
  33. ^ Kern, Lauren (2004-05-03), "Andy's Baby: A Warhol screen-test subject watches her celluloid debut for the first time.", New York Magazine, 

External links

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Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
NAME Sedgwick, Edie
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Sedgwick, Edith Minturn
SHORT DESCRIPTION Socialite, actress
DATE OF BIRTH April 20, 1943
PLACE OF BIRTH Santa Barbara, California
DATE OF DEATH November 16, 1971
PLACE OF DEATH Santa Barbara, California

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