Aug 3, 2017
Joe Dallesandro: Counterculture Icon with the Most Famous Face, Physique, and Bulge of the 1960s
When the teenager met Andy Warhol in 1967, he had already had a colorful career as a juvenile delinquent who had run away from two detention centers, crashed a car during a police chase, and was shot by a police officer. He was currently working as a hustler, and a model for the gay-themed Physique Pictorial. Bisexual, adventurous, a little dangerous, and devastatingly handsome, he was just the sort of person Warhol wanted for his entourage.
Joe immediately got a starring role in Flesh, directed by Warhol staple Paul Morrissey. He plays a bisexual hustler who has several frontal-nude scenes and has sex with a number of people, including a transvestite.
During the next few years, Joe starred in five more Warhol movies:
Lonesome Cowboys (1968), a Western spoof which involved a nude wrestling scene, plus Trash, Heat, Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, and Blood for Dracula, sometimes with nude scenes, sometimes without, but his fame as a counterculture icon was sealed.
He appeared on the cover of the Smiths' album The Album.
He was referenced in the Lou Reed song "Walk on the Wild Side":
Little Joe never gave it away, everybody had to pay.
(Joe is 5'6", a head shorter than Andy Warhol at 5'11")
During the late 1970s, Joe broke into mainstream cinema, first in Europe (The Gardener, The Climber, Season for Assassins, Je t'aime moi non plus), then in the United States, specializing in gangsters and other tough guys (The Cotton Club, The Hitchhiker, Cry-Baby, Guncrazy). He also worked in tv, on such series as Wiseguy and Matlock.
Today, at age 68, he has retired from acting, although he appears occasionally as a commentator in in documentaries about the 1960s, or Andy Warhol, or himself.
Joe has always been a vocal advocate of LGBT rights. He said that if his sons, Joe Jr. and Michael, were gay, he wouldn't want them to endure the homophobia that he witnessed in the "liberal" 1960s and 1970s.
There's a story about Joe's hookup with Bobby Driscoll on Tales of West Hollywood.
The nude photos are on Tales of West Hollywood