Morning Sun

Hollywood bard, muse and reveler Eve Babitz dies at 78


Eve Babitz, the Hollywood bard, muse and reveler who with warmth and candor chronicled the excesses of her native world in the 1960s and 1970s and became a cult figure to generation­s of readers, has died. She was 78.

Babitz biographer Lili Anolik confirmed that she died of complicati­ons from Huntington’s disease on Friday afternoon, at a Los Angeles hospital.

Few writers captured a time and place so vividly as Babitz did. Her dispatches from the Troubadour night club and the Chateau Marmont, from the Sunset Strip and Venice Beach, became as much a testament of her era as a Jack Nicholson movie or an album by the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac. She was likened at times to fellow California­n Joan Didion — although Babitz often found magic where Didion saw ruin — and to the French author-sageconfes­sor Collette.

Babitz knew everyone from Jim Morrison to Steve Martin, but her greatest subject was herself. She was often witty, sometimes amazed and sometimes could only shrug.

Babitz dished about her sex life (“I got deflowered on two cans of Rainier Ale when I was 17”), her outreach (“Dear Joseph Heller,” she once wrote to the “Catch-22” author, “I am a stacked eighteen-year-old blonde on Sunset Boulevard”), her thoughts on marriage (“My secret ambition has always been to be a spinster”) and her affinity for the wicked.

“I hadn’t really liked Elizabeth Taylor until she took Debbie Reynolds’ husband away from her, and then I began to love Elizabeth Taylor,” she once wrote.

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