Book details

Macmillan Children's Book

Candy Darling

Dreamer, Icon, Superstar

Author: Cynthia Carr; read by Justin Vivian Bond

Candy Darling

Candy Darling


About This Book

This program is read by cabaret legend Justin Vivian Bond.

A Must-Read: The New York Times Book Review, Nylon, Star Tribune, Ms.,...

On Sale

Book Details

This program is read by cabaret legend Justin Vivian Bond.

A Must-Read: The New York Times Book Review, Nylon, Star Tribune, Ms., Kirkus Reviews, The Bay Area Reporter, Town & Country, InsideHook

“[A] monumental biography.” —Hilton Als, The New Yorker

“A rich portrait of a glittering, communal, and bygone NYC . . . [and] of the glamorous queer icon.” —Arimeta Diop, Vanity Fair

From the acclaimed biographer Cynthia Carr, the first full portrait of the queer icon and Warhol superstar Candy Darling.

Warhol superstar and transgender icon Candy Darling was glamour personified, but she was without a real place in the world.

Growing up on Long Island, lonely and quiet and queer, she was enchanted by Hollywood starlets like Kim Novak. She found her turn in New York’s early Off-Off-Broadway theater scene, in Warhol’s films Flesh and Women in Revolt, and at the famed nightclub Max's Kansas City. She inspired songs by Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones. She became friends with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, borrowed a dress from Lauren Hutton, posed for Richard Avedon, and performed alongside Tennessee Williams in his own play.

Yet Candy lived on the edge, relying on the kindness of strangers, friends, and her quietly devoted mother, sleeping on couches and in cheap hotel rooms, keeping a part of herself hidden. She wanted to be a star, but mostly she wanted to be loved. Her last diary entry was: “I shall try to be grateful for life . . . Cannot imagine who would want me." Candy died at twenty-nine in 1974, as conversations about gender and identity were really just starting. She never knew it, but she changed the world.

Packed with tales of luminaries and gossip and meticulous research, immersive and laced with Candy’s words and her friends' recollections, Cynthia Carr's Candy Darling is Candy's long-overdue return to the spotlight.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Imprint Publisher

Macmillan Audio



In The News

“[An] incandescent portrait . . . Carr resurrects a trans icon whose life, artistry, and struggle speak directly to our moment.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“I first heard her name in a Lou Reed song; I first saw her face in a Peter Hujar photograph, looking glamorous, dying; I first heard her voice in an Andy Warhol film. And now, how wonderful to be taken, with care and delight and plenty of spectacle, behind the myth for a peek at the beating heart of Candy Darling. Cynthia Carr has written an absorbing account of an unforgettable woman in a fascinating time, a lonely icon who tried to find a place for herself in a world that couldn’t hold her.”
—Justin Torres, author of Blackouts

“What an inspiring book! First you think, ‘I know that.’ But then you think, ‘Oh I didn’t know that, or that or that.’ The very identity of Candy Darling, what it was like to be a trans kid growing up in the 1950s, and the landscape surrounding her, gets renovated in this wake-up take on gender in the ’60s and ’70s. The web of detail assembled by culture sleuth Cynthia Carr is quickened by the facts of Candy’s tireless beauty, charm, and charisma—and oh so much pain. Complexly wrenching, startling, entirely fresh, and frankly alive, Candy Darling delivers an altogether frank and shimmering portrait of a self-made American female deity, more than a bit of a prophet, constructed whole cloth from her own and everyone else’s desiring dream. Omigod, what a trip!”
—Eileen Myles, author of a “Working Life”

“Candy Darling willed herself to be beautiful, and she succeeded: she was uniquely, spectrally beautiful. But the world made her pay for it. The prejudice against gender choice kept her poor, beholden to others, shunned, disrespected, disinvited, and locked up within herself. Cynthia Carr’s minute reconstruction of her life is brilliant and profoundly sad. As if Candy’s ghost were dictating the terms, it keeps her an enigma, a consummate life actress who never dressed down.”
—Lucy Sante, author of I Heard Her Call My Name

“Deftly reported and full of fresh facts and interviews as well as glittering gossip, Cynthia Carr’s Candy Darling allows us to see—truly, for the first time—this celluloid wisp of a Warhol superstar in all her humanity and in all her doomed performance art, trying to pass 24-7 as Kim Novak or Marilyn Monroe, existing 2D in a 3D world. Updating all the camp and vamp, Carr is a trustworthy, sensitive guide to the nuances of Candy’s experience as she emerges as a historical trans pioneer, caught between gender dysphoria and her own blonder gender euphoria.”
—Brad Gooch, author of Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring

About the Creators

Candy Darling

Candy Darling


Candy Darling
Candy Darling