Last Saturday, June 14, Isabelle Collin Dufresne, known the world over as “Ultra Violet” died. She was 78.
Born on September 6 1935, in La Tronche, France, the Andy Warhol muse and Factory regular appeared in 18 films. Her first was Warhol’s “The Life of Juanita Castro,” when she was still using her given name. Her Ultra Violet alter ego was first credited in Warhol’s “I, a Man” in 1967, her second film. She also appeared in “Midnight Cowboy,” “Cleopatra,” “Taking Off” and “An Unmarried Woman.” Her final movie credit was in 1994’s “Blackout,” directed by Paulita Sedgwick, cousin of Edie Sedgwick, another Factory regular.
The colorfully named artist had an equally colorful life. In her 20s, she was a lover of Salvador Dalí’s. She met Warhol through him, when the couple was having tea at the St. Regis Hotel in New York. Other loves included Rudolf Nureyev, Ed Ruscha and Milos Forman. Famous acquaintances included: John Graham, John Chamberlain, Howard Hughes, Richard Nixon, Aristotle Onassis, Maria Callas, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Marc Chagall, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. She chronicled her exploits in the 1988 memoir “Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years With Andy Warhol.”
I was fortunate enough to meet Ultra Violet twice at two different ArtHamptons events. The first time was with her friend, the writer, actor and bohemian Taylor Mead. The second time she was solo. She was kind and gracious both times. I was in awe.