Actor Sylvia Miles who received multiple Academy Award nominations for her performances in films passed away Wednesday, a long time friend of the actor, Geraldine Smith, confirmed. Her health had reportedly been declining and the actor who was in a health facility did not want to stay there in her final days and decided to check out.
According to Page Six, Smith said, “We went out for a big lunch to celebrate her coming home. She was very excited and telling us to order whatever we wanted. ‘Order drinks; order desserts!’ We had a wonderful time,” and added that “a part of New York has gone.” She also confirmed that Miles left the nursing home because “she didn’t want to die there.”
Born and raised in Greenwich Village, Miles’ claim to fame is her performance in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ followed by “Farewell, My Lovely” both of which fetched her Academy Award nominations. In both the films, Miles had little screentime but she made an impression as a poodle-owning prostitute in the former and a lady who would trade information for a bottle of booze in the latter.
Her other memorable work include the 1972 movie ‘Heat’, which is a satire of the 1950 film ‘Sunset Boulevard,’ in which she played the role of a fading Hollywood star. The film was produced by Andy Warhol. Miles also earned a reputation for being flamboyant and loving to party all the time, every day.
So much so, comedian Wayland Flowers reportedly quipped she would even “attend the opening of an envelope” if there was such a thing. This reputation only furthered when in 1973, at a party during the New York Film Festival, she dumped a plate of food on theater critic John Simon’s head in protest to his New York magazine review of ‘Nellie Toole & Co.’
This was an off-Broadway which starred Miles. According to a report in the New York Times, Miles later clarified that her reaction was not to what he had written about the play, but because of how he referred to her in the piece. He had called her “one of New York’s leading party girls and gate-crashers.”