leaps while Ronnie Cutrone watches
Eric Emerson (1945 – May 28, 1975)
was a musician, dancer, and actor. Emerson is best known for his roles in
films by pop artist Andy Warhol, and as a member of the glitter rock group,
The Magic Tramps.
* 1 Career
* 2 Personal life
* 3 Death
* 4 References
* 5 External links
Growing up in New Jersey, Emerson trained as a classic ballet dancer. It was
this talent that caught the eye of artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol. After
seeing Emerson dancing at The Dom in April 1966, Warhol asked Emerson to be
in one of his underground films. Emerson made his film debut in 1967's
Chelsea Girls, and soon became a Factory regular. Emerson would go on to
star in other Warhol films, most notably: Lonesome Cowboys, San Diego Surf,
and Heat. Heat would be Emerson's last film.
Emerson began his musical career with the band, The Magic Tramps. The band,
which began in Hollywood in 1969, relocated to New York City in 1971 after
Emerson joined as lead vocalist. The Magic Tramps played under various
names, including Messiah and Star Theater, and would go on to play gigs at
Max's Kansas City, a favorite hangout among Factory regulars. Later that
year, Emerson appeared in Jackie Curtis' play Vain Victory: Vicissitudes of
the Damned, with Ondine, Holly Woodlawn, and Candy Darling. The Magic
Tramps, along with Lou Reed, provided the music.
Emerson's bisexuality was well known within Warhol's circle and he had
relationships with many of the Factory regulars. When Emerson's father
accused his son of being "a little sweet", Emerson responded by saying,
"What he don't understand is that my generation can swing both ways". On
July 21, 1969, Emerson agreed to marry transgendered Warhol star, Jackie
Curtis. When Emerson failed to show up, Curtis married a wedding guest. The
wedding, which was a publicity stunt arranged by Curtis, was covered by The
Emerson had a long relationship with Elda Gentile, founding member of the
band The Stilettos, whom he met in 1968. The two had a son, Branch Emerson,
in 1970. Around 1970, he began a relationship with model and actress Jane
Forth, who appeared in Warhol's film Trash. Together, the two had one child
which they named Emerson Forth.
At the time of his death, Emerson was living with Barbara Winter, ex-wife of
musician Edgar Winter.
On May 28, 1975, Emerson's body was found next to his bicycle, near a
highway he was attempting to cross in Manhattan. Emerson's death is listed
officially as a hit and run. Eric Emerson was 31 years old. To date, no
one has been arrested or charged in connection with his death.
After Emerson's death, various reports
surfaced that Emerson was not killed in a hit and run accident, but rather
overdosed on heroin in a different location, and was dumped as staged hit
and run.These reports have never been substantiated, and Emerson's
official cause of death has never been changed.
Following a weekend-long wake hosted by Max's Kansas City owner Mickey
Ruskin, Emerson was buried in Wharton, New Jersey.
1966: ANDY WARHOL DISCOVERS ERIC
Andy Warhol noticed Eric Emerson dancing at the Dom - “...a small, muscular
blonde kid made a ballet leap that practically spanned the dance floor".
(POP212) Eric Emerson’s mother had sent him to ballet school as a youngster,
while his father worked as a construction worker in New Jersey. Both Ronnie
Cutrone and Gerard Malanga already knew Eric before Andy Warhol noticed him
at the Dom. Eric had got married two years previously to someone he met at a
party in Los Angeles. He fell in love instantly and they drove to Las Vegas
the same night for a quick wedding.
“I got really attached to my wife, and when she went out free-loving the way
I did, I got crazy and went through a heavy gay scene for awhile...”
SEPT. 3 - 4, 1966: THE EPI GOES TO PROVINCETOWN.
The Exploding Plastic Inevitable played the Chrysler Art Museum in
Provincetown, Massachusetts. Steve Sesnick, who would later become the
manager of The Velvet Underground after they were dropped by Warhol in 1967,
arranged the dates. In addition to The Velvet Underground (consisting of
Maureen Tucker, John Cale, Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison) and EPI regulars
Gerard Malanga, Ronnie Cutrone, Mary Woronov, road manager Faison, Warhol
assistant Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol, the group also now included Susan
Bottomly (aka International Velvet), her boyfriend, fashion illustrator
David Croland - and Eric Emerson who stayed with Nico in Provincetown.
The police interrupted one of the performances and untied Eric Emerson from
a post (which he was strapped to in preparation for being whipped by Mary
Woronov) in order to retrieve some belts and whips that were stolen from a
leather store in Provincetown. (UT83)
There was also a problem with the landlord of the house that Warhol's
entourage had rented in Provincetown. The toilets in the house had stopped
up and Warhol's stars were throwing shit out the window.
And Eric Emerson stole a work of Art from the town's museum "just to see if
he could get away with it. Paul Morrissey had to act as a liaison between
Eric and the Museum, restoring the painting in order to avoid having charges
Gerard Malanga expressed his displeasure with direction that the EPI show
was taking in a letter to Warhol that he wrote in his diary, but never sent.
HAS BEEN SAID BY OTHERS
(THOUGH I WOULD NOT
SPEAK EXACTLY THE SAME)
"People like Eric
couldn't exist in the
climate of today's world.
One foot on the earth
the other in the heavens
Living on the edge
Diving over it
Dying in it
Taking some of Evil with him
Leaving some behind
Taking some of Beauty along
Alluviums of melancholy flourish in the dust of memory
People like Eric couldn't exist in the climate of today's world
One eye in the heavens
the other on the earth
Way before he ever left