Eve Babitz died, the Hollywood poet, inspiration, and celebrity who warmly and candidly chronicled the excesses of her native world in the 1960s and 1970s and became a cult figure for generations of readers. She was 78 years old.
Babitz biographer Lily Anolik confirmed that she died of complications from Huntington’s disease Friday afternoon, at a Los Angeles hospital.
The beauty knew everyone from Jim Morrison to Steve Martin, but her biggest topic was herself. She was often smart and outspoken when you look at L.A. culture.
She is also famous for her dating life due to her romance with Harrison Ford and Warren Beatty. She even appeared with Al Pacino in The Godfather, Part II in 1974 as an extra.
A sad loss: Eve Babitz died, the Hollywood poet, inspiration, and celebrity who warmly and candidly chronicled the excesses of her native world in the 1960s and 1970s. She was 78 years old
Early Days of Love: The accomplished writer had a thing with Harrison Ford when he first came to Hollywood, before he became a huge pet with Star Wars and Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
The author became reclusive after 1997 when she dropped a lit cigar down her skirt while driving, causing severe burns.
Few writers have captured time and place as clearly as Babbitts did.
Her letters from Troubadour’s nightclub and Chateau Marmont, from the Sunset Strip and Venice Beach, have become as evidence of her era as a Jack Nicholson movie or an album for the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac.
She has sometimes been likened to fellow Californian Joan Didion—although Babitz often found magic where Didion saw desolation—and to the wise, confessed French author Colette.
They were lovers: Eve said she dated Jim Morrison after she “suggested” him a few times
Another hangout: She met Morrison in the 1960s at the Troubadour Nightclub in Los Angeles.
Babitz died about her sexuality (“I was dumped on two cans of Rainier Ale when I was 17”), and her communication (“Dear Joseph Heller,” she once wrote to a Catch-22 author, “I’m an eighteen-year-old stacked-blonde.” She’s a year old on Sunset Boulevard’), her thoughts on marriage (“It’s always been my secret aspiration to be a spinster”) and her affinity for villains.
She once wrote: ‘I didn’t really love Elizabeth Taylor until I took Debbie Reynolds’ husband away from her and then started loving Elizabeth Taylor’.
Like the movie stars who had charmed her from a young age, she was the lady of doorways.
Her first major public appearance was made in 1963, in her early twenties, in one of the most famous portraits of art in the world: Babitz, nude, playing chess with the fully clothed Marcel Duchamp.
They had a connection: His Words had a connection to Splendor In The Grass actor Warren Beatty who is now married to Annette Bening
Social Butterfly: Like the movie stars who had charmed her from a young age, she was the lady of doorways. Her first major public appearance was made in 1963, in her early twenties, in one of the most famous portraits of art in the world: Babitz, nude, playing chess with the fully clothed Marcel Duchamp.
She remembered: “Everything seemed possible – for art, that night.” “Especially after all that red wine.”
Over the next decade, she modeled the cover of the classic rock album Buffalo Springfield Again and for records by Al Byrds and Linda Ronstadt, spent time with Nicholson and Michelle Phillips, and dated everyone from Ford to Morrison (I Met Jim, Showed Him in Three Minutes) on music executive Ahmed Ergon.
She was an extra in The Godfather, Part Two, and she introduced Salvador Dali to Frank Zappa and helped convince Martin to wear a white suit.
She has been published in Rolling Stone and Vogue among other magazines, such as the slasher Movieline, and her books have included “Eve’s Hollywood,” “Slow Days and Fast Company,” and “Sex and Rage.”
Some were called fictional, others non-fictional, but almost all of them were drawn directly from her life – with only the names changed.
She was an avid writer: she wrote Sex and Anger, Novel, left, and Black Swanks, right
The mighty word: Babbitts filmed in 1997 in Hollywood. Sex appeal mixed with magic and stories of the past
I’ve extracted the most bizarre and everyday moments – snowboarding, shopping and viewing the surf movie Five Summer Stories, one of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ games. In “The Answer,” she falls acid with a local bohemian hippie who decides he needs to go to the bank.
“He took off his clothes, blue jeans, and T-shirt, and I watched him bathe in beautiful warm water,” she wrote. I sat on the bed wearing different clothes that I had never seen before. At first he wore tights, then boxer shorts. When he was wearing a gray three-piece suit and a watch chain with a gold watch. It looked like a nice ad for the Wall Street Journal in the New Yorker and my friend had wide blue eyes.
Another look at this lady. Lily Anolik wrote Hollywood’s Eve, The Secret History of Los Angeles
Babbitts’ life was romance, farce, melodrama, and almost an early tragedy. She became so addicted to cocaine that a friend in the early 1980s remembered the floor of her apartment covered in blood and kleenex.
In 1997, she nearly burned to death when she tried to smoke a cigar while driving. She was cured enough to describe her in the article “I used to be a witch”, the title of which is a joke that shocked her to one of her caretakers.
For many people, the idea of bed rest seems like heaven. But the truth is that lying in bed is not given any respect and being a burnt patient is a visit to the land of torture. “Everyone keeps telling you to relax, which is something you have absolutely no way of doing.”
She would claim that she was never successful, only that she was close enough to “smell the stink”. Her books sold modestly, and initial reviews were mixed and rarely published after the 1990s. But the world recognized it.
With most of her work out of print, she was praised in a 2014 Vanity Fair article by Anolik as an overlooked, unbending genius.
“Eve’s Hollywood”, “Slow Days and Fast Company” and other books were reissued, and a prestigious biography of Anolik was published in 2019 and Babitz was discovered by a generation of younger women, leading her to joke: men who loved me, now it’s only girls.
Tell everyone: Eve appeared in a bra and panties for Eve’s Hollywood
She’s had a hard time here: the star court ruled at Chateau Marmont in the 1960s
Hollywood was in her blood. Her father was a violinist in the 20th Century Fox Orchestra, her mother was an artist and her godfather Igor Stravinsky. She didn’t have to work so hard to drop the names, because the names seemed to be falling from the sky.
She was friends with Steve Martin and encouraged him to wear white suits
At Hollywood High School, her classmates included Linda Evans, Tuesday Weld, and Yvette Mimio, “a movie star, even when she’s sitting across from you in cafeteria row.”
She wrote about her coming home as a teen and being kissed by an older man, Johnny Stumpanato, who was later murdered by Lana Turner’s daughter in one of Hollywood’s hottest scandals in what was considered a justified murder.
Babitz lived for a year in New York and a few months in Rome, but Los Angeles was her home and inspiration, a playground for self-invention, and a “sprawling giant studio.”
In her essay “Daughters of the Wilderness,” she recalled her disbelief that others might find Los Angeles empty and unlivable.
She wrote, “Arid land is a word I don’t understand anyway because physically, surely, they wouldn’t have thought it was a wasteland—it has all the citrus trees and flowers growing everywhere.”
Culturally speaking, LA has always been a surviving jungle with exhilarating LA projects that I think people from other places can’t see. It takes a certain kind of innocence to love LA, anyway. It takes some apparent happiness inside to be happy in Los Angeles, to choose it and be happy here.
She was everywhere in the ’70s: Babbits appeared as an extra with Al Pacino in The Godfather, Part Two