Louis Waldon, a Modesto native who acted in several Andy Warhol films, including “Lonesome Cowboys” and “Blue Movie,” which the authorities seized for obscenity shortly after it was released, died Dec. 6 in Los Angeles. He was 78.
The cause was complications of strokes, said JoAnne Maite, a friend.
Waldon was a rare Warhol Superstar, as members of his stock company were known, because he had acting experience. Warhol recruited him after seeing him in Edward Albee’s “Ballad of the Sad Cafe” on Broadway in the early 1960s.
Waldon appeared with the actress Viva in the Warhol films “The Nude Restaurant” (1967), a series of random conversations carried on between almost-naked waiters, waitresses and restaurant patrons; and “Lonesome Cowboys” (1968), a homoerotic Western.
“Blue Movie,” which included scenes of Waldon and Viva having sex, appeared briefly at the Andy Warhol Garrick Theater in New York in 1969 before censors removed it and fined the theater’s manager. A program note said it was “about the Vietnam war and what we can do about it.”
In a review in The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote: “It opens with a medium close-up of Viva, looking rather more fit than usual (and sometimes even beautiful), and Louis Waldon, a pleasant, stocky, 30-ish man, fully clothed, wrestling on a bed. Without too much hesitation they make love, then talk a great deal, have some hamburgers, talk, take a shower – all of which, of course, dramatizes what we can do about Vietnam.”
Louis Willard Waldon was born Dec. 16, 1934, in Modesto. He graduated from Modesto High School and took drama classes in junior college.
In 1962, he appeared in the off-Broadway opening of Arthur L. Kopit’s play, “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad.” In 1968 he appeared in the Warhol films “Flesh” and “San Diego Surf,” then moved to Europe to act in movies.
Waldon is survived by two sons, Scott and Barry; a daughter, Janet Patterson; two sisters, Shirley Anderson and JoAnne Lewis; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Many former Superstars contend that Warhol did not compensate them adequately. Waldon found a way to profit from his association with Warhol by making and selling silk screens of Warhol’s classic images.
Warhol would have understood, Waldon told the Los Angeles Times in 2002.
“He certainly wouldn’t stand in your way,” he said. “If you could make any money on your own with Andy, he never said a word.”