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Edie Sedgwick was a socialite and model who became a muse to Andy Warhol in the 1960s.
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Edie Sedgwick was born in Santa Barbara, California, to wealthy highborn parents. Her early life was one of isolation, turmoil and intense societal pressures. By the age of 13, she had turned inward and began a life-long struggle with anorexia and bulimia. Heading to New York in 1963, Sedgwick's hard-partying, socialite lifestyle led her to meet artist Andy Warhol,
It's not that I'm rebelling. It's that I'm just trying to find another way.
and she became his muse during the height of the Pop Art movement. She starred in several of Warhol's movies before her death in 1971.
Edie Sedgwick was born on April 20, 1943, in Santa Barbara, California, as the seventh child for parents Alice Delano de Forest and Frances Minturn Sedgwick. She was named after her father's favorite aunt, Edith Minturn Stokes. Both of her parents came from elite families, so Edie's early life was one of significant wealth and highborn connections. But it was also a life full of eccentricities, dark secrets, and a history of mental illness.
Edie's father had long struggled with both physical and mental health issues; he was born with an umbilical hernia and, as a child, developed asthma as well as a nearly fatal bone infection, known as osteomyelitis. Francis also landed in and out of psychiatric units throughout his teenage years, receiving diagnoses for both manic-depressive psychosis and "nervous breakdowns." Because of his delicate health, his dreams of becoming a railroad tycoon after graduating from Harvard Business School were dashed. Instead, on the advice of doctors, he focused on his sculpting talents, and became a professional artist.
Edie's mother was, by all accounts, painfully shy and very much in love with Francis. She was incredibly supportive of Francis' delicate mental and physical conditions, and visited him often while he was hospitalized. When the couple became engaged, doctors recommended that Francis and Alice bear no children because of Francis' health issues. They ignored all medical advice, however, welcoming eight children over the next 15 years. "My mother had a difficult time with the births of her last children, but she kept getting pregnant anyway," Edie's oldest sister, Alice "Saucie" Sedgwick, later revealed. "When Edie was born she nearly died…I have no idea why [my mother] went on having children when it was so dangerous to her."
Despite Alice's struggles in giving birth to Edie, Francis encouraged his wife to continue expanding the family—partly in the hopes of having more boys and, according to Saucie, partly because he liked the idea of "producing a spectacular number of children." But Edie and her siblings didn't remember their father or mother as loving the practical aspects of raising children. Instead, they were handed off to a series of nannies and governesses to be reared during their winters in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island, and summers at their parents' home in Santa Barbara.
It was also around the time of Edie's birth that Francis developed a wandering eye, and began a string of adulterous affairs.
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