Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol: Here Are 85 Facts Instead Of Candles

85 years ago, Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We’re toasting to Warhol’s memory with highlights from The Andy Warhol Museum’s official chronology, as well as Warhol’s own writings and other related ephemera.

1. Andy Warhol’s father Andrei Warhola worked construction and labor jobs; Andrei’s wife Julia earned spare cash by cleaning houses and selling handmade crafts while raising their three sons: Paul, John, and Andrew.

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Andy Warhol about the age of 3, with his mother Julia and brother John, 1932. (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

2. Warhol contracted Sydenham’s chorea as a young boy, and was confined to his home for more than two months. The illness is characterized by rapid, uncontrollable movements brought on by rheumatic fever, and is sometimes referred to as “St. Vitus’s dance.”

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3. Warhol’s mother encouraged her nine-year-old to explore his interest in art and popular culture while he was sick, so Warhol began to collect photos of movie stars.

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Hand-colored studio portrait of Shirley Temple with handwritten inscription: “To Andrew Worhola [sic] from Shirley Temple”, 1941 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

4. He’d also take his own pictures and develop them in his parents’ basement, which he used as a darkroom.

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5. In elementary school, Warhol attended free Saturday art classes at the Carnegie Institute.

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6. Before his death in 1942, Andrei Warhola specified that his son should use Andrei’s life savings in postal bonds for Andy’s college education.

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Andrej Warhola (lower right) with co-workers, late 1930s. (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

7. As a teenager, Warhol worked a summer job in the display department at the Joseph Horne department store in downtown Pittsburgh.

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Homeroom picture of Andy Warhol’s class at Schenley High School, 1944-1945 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

8. Warhol was art editor of his college’s student magazine “Cano.”

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Unknown photographer, Andy Warhol, c. 1950s, black and white photograph, from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

9. A 21-year-old Warhol’s painting The Broad Gave Me My Face, But I Can Pick My Own Nose was rejected for the annual exhibition of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh.

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Andy Warhol, The Broad Gave Me My Face, But I Can Pick My Own Nose, 1948, collection Paul Warhola Family, courtesy the Warhola Family Website

10. Andy Warhol’s first assignment was for Glamour magazine: an article called “Success is a Job in New York.”

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Illustration by Andy Warhol on tearsheet for “Success is a Job in New York” from “What is Success,” Glamour Magazine, September 1949. (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

11. From 1949 to 1959, Warhol worked for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, The New Yorker, and other high-profile clients.

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Jones St. Sunday, 1952 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Gift of Leila Davies Singelis. Photo © Leila Davies Singelis.)

12. Warhol won the Art Directors Club Medal for his 1951 newspaper illustrations advertising a CBS radio show, “The Nation’s Nightmare.”

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Andy Warhol, The Nation’s Nightmare, 1951 AWF/Artists Rights Society, New York/DACS, London. Courtesy AWF and National Galleries of Scotland and Tate)

13. In 1954, Warhol started to hang out at the Serendipity 3 café on East 58th Street, which had opened the same year.

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Making the Rounds, 1950 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Gift of Leila Davies Singelis. Photo © Leila Davies Singelis)

14. Warhol hired his first studio assistant Nathan Gluck in 1955. He would later hire Gerard Malanga, who would work as his studio assistant from 1963 to 1968.

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Gerard Malanga & Archie (2005)

15. Gerard Malanga was arrested in Italy in 1968 for forging Warhol’s paintings.

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The famous 1968 Andy Warhol forgery of Che Guevara by Gerard Malanga (“Che Guevara: Revolutionary & Icon” by Trisha Ziff, Abrams Image, 2006, pg 79)

16. Warhol once showed five paintings in a window display at New York’s Bonwit Teller department store.

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In the Bottom of My Garden, ca. 1956 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

17. His favorite thing to buy was underwear.

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18. At 29, Warhol had a nose job.

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Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1964, from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

19. Warhol said that he adopted his gray-haired look while in his 20s so that people would notice how young he looked in the face.

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Self-Portrait (Tuxedo), 1964 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

20. Julia Warhola moved to New York to live with her son in 1952. Warhol and his mother would live together until 1971, a year before she passed away.

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Andy Warhol, Julia Warhola, 1974, silkscreen ink and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 40 × 40 in., from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

21. His mother often contributed artistically to Warhol’s paintings, and would sometimes sign them for him.

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22. Warhol was a self-proclaimed “mama’s boy.”

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John Vanderlyn (1775–1852), “Portrait of a Lady and Her Son,” 1800

23. Warhol published an absurdist cookbook in 1959 with Suzie Frankfurt called “Wild Raspberries,” inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film “Wild Strawberries”.

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24. Warhol enjoyed eating alone, and wanted to open a chain of restaurants called “ANDY-MATS — ‘The Restaurant for the Lonely Person.’”

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Artist: James Reynolds

25. Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol met in Pasadena in 1963, when Warhol was exhibiting his paintings of Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley.

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26. While Warhol was in LA, Dennis Hopper threw him a “movie star party.”

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Dennis Hopper, Andy Warhol (with flower), 1963 © The Dennis Hopper Trust, courtesy of MoCA, the Dennis Hopper Trust, and Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York

27. Warhol designed the costumes for the 1963 Broadway production of James Thurber’s “The Beast in Me,” but wasn’t credited because he wasn’t a union member.

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Female Costumed Full Figure, 1950s (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

28. The New York City Police Department confiscated “Andy Warhol films Jack Smith filming Normal Love” (1963). The film was later lost.

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Film director Jack Smith (1932-1989)

29. Warhol rented an abandoned firehouse as a painting studio before moving to the original Factory in 1964 on 231 East 47th Street.

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30. Warhol’s mural for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, “Thirteen Most Wanted Men,” had to be painted over after officials objected to it. Warhol covered it in silver paint.

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31. The first film Warhol made with live sound was called “Harlot” (1964).

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32. Warhol received the Independent Film Award from Jonas Mekas’ avant-garde film periodical, “Film Culture.”

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33. In 1965, Warhol announced that he was retiring from art and planning to devote himself to film.

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34. Warhol was the first artist to publicly exhibit video art.

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35. “I’ll endorse with my name any of the following; clothing AC-DC, cigarettes small, tapes, sound equipment, ROCK N’ ROLL RECORDS, anything, film, and film equipment, Food, Helium, Whips, MONEY!! love and kisses ANDY WARHOL, EL 5-9941.”

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Andy Warhol bought this ad that was published in the 1966 issue of Village Voice.

36. Warhol designed the cover of the Velvet Underground and Nico’s 1967 self-titled debut album.

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37. Warhol also designed the poster for the 5th New York Film Festival.

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38. The FBI reported on Warhol’s activities while he was on location in Arizona for his film “Lonesome Cowboys” in 1967.

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Andy on the set of Lonesome Cowboys from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

39. While Warhol was on a college lecture tour, he enlisted his friend Allen Midgette to impersonate him during several appearances.

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40. Warhol created a TV ad for the “Underground Sundae” for Schrafft’s restaurant chain in 1968.

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Andy Warhol, Cow, 1966, from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

41. He hated eating leftovers.

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42. Warhol was a regular volunteer at homeless shelters in New York City.

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Image via FalseFactsTumblr.com

43. Valerie Solanas, an author who had appeared in one of Warhol’s films, shot art critic Mario Amaya and Andy Warhol at the Factory in 1968.

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44. Warhol was reportedly dead on arrival to the hospital, but was revived after five hours of surgery.

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Andy Warhol being lifted into an ambulance after he was shot by Valerie Solanas, June 3, 1968 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Photo: Jack Smith)

45. 45. The bullet damaged his lungs, esophagus, spleen, liver, and stomach.

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Richard Avedon’s portrait of Andy Warhol post-surgery.

46. Merce Cunningham’s dance “RainForest” featured Warhol’s Silver Clouds as part of the set design.

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The Andy Warhol Museum, gallery 507, 5th Floor, June 1994, Silver Clouds, 1966

47. Warhol curated a show with items from the storage rooms at the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design called “Raid the Icebox I with Andy Warhol.”

48. Warhol collected taxidermy, and owned a stuffed lion, peacock, penguin, moose head, and a Great Dane, Cecil.

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49. Cecil was actually called Ador Tipp Topp, and was a blue-ribbon winner at Westminster. After the Great Dane died, he was stuffed by a taxidermist at Yale, and eventually sold to a drama student for $10.

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Cecil and the Time Capsules in the Archive Study Center of The Andy Warhol Museum

50. Warhol bought “Cecil” for $300 in the late ’60s, believing he had once belonged to Cecil B. deMille.

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51. Cecil stood guard at the Factory’s door from 1969 to 1987.

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52. 52. In conjunction with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art and Technology Program, Warhol created “Rain Machine,” an installation with a water shower and 3D lenticular prints of flowers.

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Daisy Waterfall (Rain Machine), 1971 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Anonymous gift ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

53. Warhol acquired his first portable video camera in 1970.

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54. In a collaboration with Craig Braun, Warhol designed the cover of the 1971 Rolling Stones album “Sticky Fingers.”

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55. The album cover was nominated for a Grammy Award.

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56. Warhol would compulsively record his conversations, and referred to his tape recorder as his “wife.”

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57. His play “Pork” was based on his tape recordings, and was performed in London and New York.

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58. Filmmaker Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol acquired a 20-acre compound in Montauk, Long Island, where they would entertain friends.

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Andy Warhol’s beach home in Montauk, Long Island, 1971 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

59. The IRS audited Warhol every year from 1972 until his death in 1987.

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60. In the early ’70s, Warhol removed the films he had directed from circulation.

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Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait with Movie Camera, 1971, from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

61. Warhol appeared in the 1973 film “The Driver’s Seat” with Elizabeth Taylor.

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Silver Liz [Ferus Type], 1963 (The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.)

62. Warhol produced the 1975 musical “Man on the Moon.” John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas wrote the book, music, and lyrics.

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63. An exhibition of Warhol’s folk art collection, Andy Warhol’s “Folk and Funk,” was held at the Museum of American Folk Art (now the American Folk Art Museum) in 1977.

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64. Andy always kept a standard-size cardboard box beside his desk that he would fill with interesting ephemera. Each box would be taped and dated when it was full. At the time of his death, Andy had assembled over 600 of these “time capsules.”

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65. Salvador Dali once gave Warhol a full bag of used palettes, which Warhol put in one of his time capsules.

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Photo by Allan Warren (1972)

66. Warhol hand-painted an M1 BMW racing car for the 24-hour Le Mans race in 1979.

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67. Warhol created two cable television shows: “Andy Warhol’s TV” in 1982 and “Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes” for MTV in 1986.

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68. He produced and starred in three one-minute episodes of “Andy Warhol’s TV” for “Saturday Night Live” in 1981.

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69. In the ’80s, Warhol was represented by Zoli, a modeling agency.

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70. When painting self-portraits, Warhol would deliberately leave out any blemishes.

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Andy Warhol, Self Portrait, 1986 (blue), from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

71. Warhol designed the official poster for the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial.

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72. He starred in a 1983 television commercial for Japanese electronic manufacturer TDK.

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73. Working with collaborator Don Munroe, Warhol made a music video for “Hello Again” by The Cars in 1984. He also appeared in the video.

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74. Warhol guest-starred in the 200th episode of “The Love Boat” in 1985.

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Via Stacking Papers and Getting Paid on tumblr.

75. He also appeared in a TV ad for Diet Coke.

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76. Warhol optioned the film and TV rights to Tama Janowitz’s 1986 novel “Slaves of New York.”

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77. His nickname and drag-queen alter-ego was “Drella,” a combination of “Dracula” and “Cinderella.”

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Andy Warhol, Self-portrait in Drag, © AWF, courtesy the Getty Research Institute

78. Warhol collaborated with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring in the 1980s.

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Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper),” 1985-1986 (Photo by Richard Stoner, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh ©AWF)

79. During this time, Warhol and a group of his friends bought 2000 bottles of Dom Pérignon to be consumed on the millennium.

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80. Andy Warhol died February 22, 1987 while in recovery from gallbladder surgery.

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81. After his death, the 2000 bottles of champagne disappeared.

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82. In 2010, the Design Laboratory at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art & Design unveiled their collection of three Dom Pérignon bottles, “A Tribute to Andy Warhol.”

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83. East London’s hip-hop artist Infinite Livez sings a posthumous “happy birthday” to Andy Warhol in a song called “LizSilverLiz.”

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84. April 5, 2013, Andy Warhol’s Portrait of Edith Bouvier Beale AKA “Little Edie” sold at Christie’s for $9375, almost double its estimated value.

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85. Even if you’re not in Pittsburgh, you can visit the Andy Warhol Museum and pay tribute to Andy Warhole, from home.

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