Underground Icon Taylor Mead Dies
BY Christopher Harrity
May 09 2013 11:28 AM ET
Long time arts icon Taylor Mead, a constant presence in Manhattan's lower East Side, died yesterday repoorts boweryboogie.com.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Mead's first known appearance was in Ron Rice's beat classic The Flower Thief (1960), in which he "traipses with an elfin glee through a lost San Francisco of smoke-stuffed North Beach cafes." Mead was referred to as the first underground film star.
His rubbery physique and his fey delivery made him a natural to play the straight men with a twist in Warhol's early films (Tarzan and Jane Regained...Sort Of, Couch, Taylor Mead's Ass, Imitation of Christ, Lonesome Cowboys, and the recently released San Diego Surf (1968) in which he played the closeted husband of Viva Superstar.
In the mid 1970s, Gary Weis made some short films of Mead talking to his cat in the kitchen of his Ludlow Street apartment on the Lower East Side called Taylor Mead's Cat. Mead was known to feed the stray cats in an East Village cemetery after bar-hopping.
Mead was a constant figure in the Bowery poetry world. His last book of poems (published by Bowery Poetry Books) is called A Simple Country Girl.
He was the subject of a documentary entitled Excavating Taylor Mead, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005. The film features a cameo by Jim Jarmusch, in which Jarmusch explains that once, when Mead went to Europe, he enlisted Jarmusch's brother to feed the cemetery cats in Mead's absence.
His passing comes just a month after accepting a settlement with notorious landlord Ben Shaoul to vacate 163 Ludlow Street, the Lower East Side tenement building he called home for three decades.
Below, view Mead with other Warhol stars in The Aging Rock Star.
- BREAKING: New Mexico Supreme Court Declares Statewide Marriage Equality
- The Advocate's Person of the Year: Pope Francis
- Figure Skater Brian Boitano Comes Out
- Meet the People Fired for Being LGBT in 2013
- WATCH: Sexy Santas Want You to 'Get Enrolled' in Obamacare
- Duck Dynasty Star Slams Sinful 'Homosexuals, Drunks, Terrorists'
- Women Op-ed: Silencing a #SharedGirlHood on Social Media 1 hour 55 min ago
- Politics Putin's Top Priority: 'Equal Terms' for Olympic Athletes 2 hours 9 sec ago
- Travel Wanna Go to the SAG Awards in L.A.? 2 hours 4 min ago
- Activism HRC Donates $100K to Support Russian LGBTs 2 hours 12 min ago
- Religion Pastor Defrocked for Performing Son's Same-Sex Marriage 2 hours 36 min ago
- Women WATCH: Who's in the Mood for a Jennifer Lawrence / Butt Plug story? 2 hours 42 min ago
- Women WATCH: Out Sochi Olympics Delegate Caitlin Cahow On Going to Russia 1:56 PM