Sylvia Miles died in an ambulance on the way to hospital in Manhattan yesterday. Her death was confirmed by friends Michael Musto and Mauricio Padilha. Journalist Musto shared his memories of the two-time Oscar nominated actress in a touching obituary published by Paper. He called Miles a “feisty soul who came to personally represent the idiosyncratic sparkle of our city at night in the 70s and 80s,” and said her “smoky laugh could light up a room”.
The cause of death has not yet been reported.
Publicist Padilha told the Associated Press she had died en route to the hospital after telling a home healthcare worker she wasn’t feeling well.
He put her age at 94, but she gave varying accounts over the years.
Miles began her acting career on stage in the 40s before landing TV and movie roles.
Throughout the 60s, she played a number of small parts in series but it wasn’t until her appearance in Midnight Cowboy that she catapulted to fame.
In the 1969 hit, she stole the show in her one scene which featured her bold New Yorker character inviting Voight, playing a Texan prostitute, up to her apartment for a romp but winds up taking money from him.
Miles was married and divorced three times and lived in Manhattan her whole life, becoming a staple of the city’s cultural and party scene.
A 1976 article from People Magazine said: “She shows up at premieres, screenings, receptions, teas and charity cocktail parties.
“What would a Manhattan party be without the ubiquitous Sylvia Miles?”
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“Sylvia wrote back a three-page letter full of advice about the arts and a lunch invitation.
“I chickened out of lunch then, but years later, Sylvia graced a staged reading of one of my plays with her wit and style,” she recalled.
“I was a ‘no one’, told her so, and thanked her for helping me out. She said, ‘Honey, you are my friend. That ain’t no one.’ Rest well, dear Sylvia.”
More to follow…