Michael Musto is reporting that the relentless Sylvia Miles — flamboyant New York personality and club-crawler first, spunky pitbull actress second — has passed at age 94. Condolences to friends, family, fans & all surviving 20th Century Manhattan vampires.
Acting-wise Miles peaked a half-century ago when she won a Best Supporting Actress nomination for playing “Cass” in John Schlesinger‘s Midnight Cowboy (’69); she was nominated for the same trophy six years later for a performance in Farewell, My Lovely (’75). Post-Cowboy the Miles performance that seemed to register the strongest was “Sally Todd,” a kind of Norma Desmond-like figure, in Paul Morrissey‘s Heat (’72). Joe Dallessandro played “Joe”, the studly William Holden-ish hustler in a speedo.
She also played “Doris the realtor” twice for Oliver Stone, initially in Wall Street (’87) and then Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (’10).
Miles was a permanent Manhattan nightlife fixture from the mid ’60s until…what, the early aughts? For decades she hobknobbed and kibbitzed with every New Yorker who mattered (and a lot who didn’t). In her ’70s and ’80s heyday the legend was that Miles and Andy Warhol “would attend the opening of an envelope.” I ran into her two or three times in the late ’70s and ’80s, and what of it? She never paused, never stopped.