Warhol's Superstar Ultra Violet Dies at 78

Warhol’s Superstar Ultra Violet Dies at 78

On Saturday, June 14, 2014, Isabelle Collin Dufresne, also known as Ultra Violet, a French-American actress and author, and one of Andy Warhol’s most notorious Factory superstars, passed away at the age of 78 at a Manhattan hospital.
Defresne was born into a strict upper-middle-class Catholic family on September 6, 1935 in La Tronche, France. In 1953, after completing her Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts at Le Sacré Cœur in Grenoble, France, the hopeful star moved to New York City, where she met Salvador Dali. He introduced her to the world of progressive American Pop Art, meeting artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol.
Dali’s introduction of Dufresne to Warhol in 1963 was the catalyst to Dufresne’s career. Warhol was so captivated by Dufresne’s beauty that he included her as a part of his artistic inner-circle known as the “superstars”, a posse of New York City personalities that Warhol promoted during the 1960s and early 70s. Dufresne starred as multiple roles in a dozen of films under the stage name, Ultra Violet, a name that was suggested by Warhol due to her wild choices of pallet colors (shades of lilac and violet) for her hair and makeup.
Warhol’s superstars were adult film stars, drag queens, socialites, musicians, drug addicts, etc. They congregated at Warhol’s art studio known as “The Factory”, a hip hangout spot that initially became famous for its parties, but later known for the space it provided Warhol’s workers in making silkscreens and lithographs.
By 1980, Dufresne gradually began parting from the Factory scene and began focusing on her writing. In 1988, she wrote her first memoir, “Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years With Andy Warhol”, which was published worldwide. In a 2011 documentary, Dufresne said, “As you come closer to your true nature, you are more fulfilled.” Although her long and hard battle with cancer ultimately ran its course, Dufresne’s free and beautiful spirit did not. She will forever be admired worldwide as Ultra Violet, famous for fifteen minutes, but remembered for eternity.


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