In addition to his television series, Warhol also worked on music videos in the eighties for bands such as The Cars and Curiosity Killed the Cat. (UW134/137)
"I was directing a video studio for Bloomingdale's department store in the mid-70s. We were doing a lot of fashion, and at the time Bloomingdale's was the hippest and trendiest thing going... My friend Marc Balet had introduced me to Vincent Fremont, who had been shooting a lot of video around the Factory. Vincent was developing a TV show for Andy, and brought me in as the director. Marc and I collaborated on the first shows, which were called Andy Warhol's Fashion - a series of ten shows about the New York fashion world... Our first show was titled "Models and Photographers," and Marc came up with the idea to get three models and three photographers - one just starting out, one who would probably never really make it but would be influential, and one seasoned master. The models were Phoebe Cates, Amina Warsuma, and Lena Kansbod... Later, we started expanding the show into a slicker version based more on the ideas behind Interview magazine than on the idea of fashion... We did the first three shows in the Bloomingdale's video studio. And then Andy purchased a lot of video equipment. Broadcast-style equipment, so we could run around. That changed the show because we weren't stuck in the studio anymore. We did a lot more location shoots, went to clubs, started covering the new clubs opening downtown and shooting the art community as well." (UW134)
The early shows were "more formatted and interview based." But by the time of Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes, the format was much quicker.
"When we first started doing the Madison Square show - well, you know Andy was the guy who had the stationery camera focused on the Empire State Building for twenty-four hours. He was very unsure about fast cutting. And we said, 'Well you know, this is the way the world is going. Things are going to get faster and faster." And it just got quicker and quicker. In the first show, we'd do one subject throughout. By the end of the series, it was ten or twenty." (UW134)
Warhol died before the last episode of Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes was finished. On February 21, 1987 he had a operation to remove his gallbladder and repair a hernia. Although the operation was successful, he died of cardiac arrest early the next morning. The nurse who was assigned to watch over him hadn't noticed he was dying because she was reading her Bible at the time. (DD87-8) Warhol's estate sued the hospital - the same hospital that Candy Darling had died in - and settled out of court for $3 million. (DD)
Warhol's untimely death had been proceeded in the eighties by the deaths of more of his superstars. Jackie Curtis died on May 15, 1985 of a heroin overdose; Gregory Battcock, who appeared in Horse and Batman Dracula, was murdered on December 25, 1980; Tom Baker, star of I A Man, died of an overdose on September 2, 1982; Mickey Ruskin, owner of Max's Kansas City, died in May 1983 of a heart attack aggravated by cocaine addiction. Ed Hood, who had starred in The Chelsea Girls and My Hustler, had died of suffocation in 1978. The hustler who allegedly strangled him committed suicide the next day. (FM427)
And there were further deaths after Warhol passed away. On April 26, 1988 Valerie Solanas died of pneumonia in a welfare hotel in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco; on July 8, 1988 Nico died of a cerebral haemorrhage in Ibiza after a lifetime of heroin addiction; Jack Smith died on September 25, 1989 of AIDS; Gino Piserchio, Edie Sedgwick's co-star in Beauty No. 2, died in 1991 of AIDS; Jed Johnson, Warhol's boyfriend and director of Andy Warhol's Bad, died in the TWA800 plane crash on July 17, 1996; Warhol's business manager Fred Hughes died on January 14, 2001 from multiple sclerosis and Pat Ast, star of Heat, died on October 2, 2001 after a lifelong battle with diabetes.
Several days before his death, Warhol made his final entry in his diary (via Pat Hackett):
Andy Warhol [Tuesday, February 17, 1987]:
"In the morning I was preparing myself for my appearance in the fashion show Benjamin coordinated at the Tunnel. They'd sent the clothes over and I look like Liberace in them... Then went over to the Tunnel and they gave us the best dressing room, but still it was absolutely freezing. I had all my makeup with me. Miles Davis was there and he has such delicate fingers... They did a $5,000 custom outfit for Miles with gold musical notes on it and everything, and they didn't do a thing for me, they were so mean... So I looked like the poor stepchild, and in the end they even (laughs) told me I walked too slow... When I got home I called Fred [Hughes] and explained that I was just too exhausted to go to the Fendi dinner, so when he called them to say I wouldn't be coming with him and that he'd bring a girl instead, they said don't bother, and they didn't want him without me. Got into bed and Wilfredo called and then Sam called and then I fell asleep. But I woke up at 6:30 and I couldn't get back to sleep, so I took some Valium and a Seconal and two aspirin, and I was sleeping so heavily that I didn't wake up when PH called at nine o'clock. And when I didn't answer she got scared because that had never happened before, so she called on the other line and Aurora answered in the kitchen, and PH made her come up to my bedroom to shake me but I wish she'd just let me sleep." (AWD806)
Andy Warhol was pronounced dead on Sunday morning, February 22, 1987, at 6:31 am. Coincidentally, it was also the birthday of Billy Name who had designed the original silver Factory.