'Midnight Cowboy' Actress Sylvia Miles Dead at 94

Sylvia Miles, a two-time Oscar nominee for her roles in the 1969 Best Picture winner Midnight Cowboy and the 1975 noir, Farewell, My Lovely, died Wednesday at age 94.

Miles' publicist, Mauricio Padilha, told The New York Times Miles died in an ambulance on the way to a Manhattan hospital. Her friend Geraldine Smith also told the New York Post she was in declining health and was living at a nursing home until recently, but "didn't want to die there."

"We went out for a big lunch to celebrate her coming home," Smith explained. "She was very excited and telling us to order whatever we wanted. 'Order drinks; order desserts!' We had a wonderful time."
Smith said a "part of New York has gone" and called her a brilliant actress."

Miles was born in Greenwich Village, New York on Sept. 9, 1924 and graduated from the Actors Studio. She started her stage career in the late 1940s and began appearing in film and television in the early 1950s.

The actress' breakthrough role came in 1969's Midnight Cowboy, the only X-rated film to win the Best Picture Oscar. Miles was nominated for playing a Park Avenue woman who brings Joe Buck (Jon Voight) to her home for sex. She was only on screen for six minutes, but it was such a memorable part that she earned her first Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

Miles earned a second nomination in the same category for 1975's Farewell, My Lovely, the first of two films starring Robert Mitchum as Raymond Chandler's famous Detective Philip Marlowe. She was only in the movie for eight minutes.

Outside of these two films, Miles was known for a flamboyant personality and boundary-pushing roles in other films. She famously appeared in Paul Morressey's Heat, a 1972 Sunset Boulevard satire produced by Andy Warhol. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Miles claimed she came up with her dialogue on the spot.

Other films included The Sentinel, Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse, Crossing Delancy and Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales. In 1987, she starred as a real estate agent in Oliver Stone's Wall Street, and reprised the role in 2010's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

One of Miles' most famous incidents was not even on the screen. After New York magazine critic John Simon panned her in a Broadway review in 1973, she dumped a plate of food on his head.

Miles, a regular at big New York parties during the 1970s, logged over 45 credits in television and movies.


Other credits included a memorable guest role in a 2002 episode of Sex and the City and the movies High Times Potluck, Denise Calls Up and She-Devil. She was scheduled to star in Japanese Borscht, with Village Voice columnist Michael Musto.

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