Andy Warhol, the creative genius who revolutionized modern art, was declared dead for some time after actress and SCUM (Society for Coming Up Men) founder, Valerie Solanas, shot him with a .32 Baretta pistol. He would live through the ordeal for about 19 more years, but would be completely changed by the incident.
The commercial artist and director, whose influence greatly shaped artistic taste of generations, feared visiting the hospital after the shooting incident. He embraced alternative medicine, such as the power of healing crystals, ignoring his gallbladder ailment. He died of cardiac arrest on February 21, 1987, brought on by the complications of his disease.
Valerie Solanas, the radical feminist and actress
Andy Warhol was the most recognized artist of the 1950s. His fame brought intrigued some of the most well-to-do people in New York including celebrities, artists, and musicians. One of his most peculiar followers was a woman named Valerie Solanas. The woman who would later accuse him of stealing her ideas, and attempt to murder him.
Solanas was a feminist writer who partly played one of her characters in a play that she insisted Warhol produce. She was given $25 for her part which Warhol considered a pompous and profane writing. She was also the founder and sole member of her ideological group named SCUM. She would describe her group as a “civic minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females,” who are out to “eliminate the male sex.”
The shooting of Andy Warhol which changed his life
Solanas gave Warhol a copy of her SCUM Manifesto which he misplaced. Thinking that the artist was out to steal her idea, Solanas showed up in his new Union Square West office, armed with a .32 Baretta pistol. She shot him point blank. The bullet damaged his liver, stomach, esophagus, and both of his lungs. Warhol was pronounced dead for some time, but his attending physicians were able to revive him.
Solanas surrendered and was confined to several psychiatric evaluations. She was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was sentenced to three years. She was released after serving her sentences, and died in 1988 in a welfare hotel in San Francisco.