Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Career


Joe Dallesandro on the cover of The Smiths' eponymous debut album; still from the Warhol film Flesh.

Dallesandro met Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in 1967 while they were shooting The Loves of Ondine, and they cast him in the film on the spot. Warhol would later comment "In my movies, everyone's in love with Joe Dallesandro."
Joe Dallesandro on the cover of The Smiths' eponymous debut album; still from the Warhol film Flesh.
Joe Dallesandro on the cover of The Smiths' eponymous debut album; still from the Warhol film Flesh.



Dallesandro played a hustler in his third Warhol film, Flesh (1970), where he had several nude scenes. Flesh became a crossover hit with mainstream audiences, and Dallesandro became the most popular of the Warhol stars. New York Times film critic Vincent Canby wrote of him: "His physique is so magnificently shaped that men as well as women become disconnected at the sight of him." Apart from his voluptuous beauty, and relaxed attitude to nudity, his on-screen presence has a compelling enigmatic quality. This derives from what often seems (especially in his Warhol films) a bored or surly withholding, and almost comical physical inertia.

As Dallesandro's underground fame began to cross over into the popular culture, he graced the cover of Rolling Stone in April 1971. He was also photographed by some of the top celebrity photographers of the time: Francesco Scavullo, Jack Robinson, Richard Avedon.

Dallesandro also appeared in Lonesome Cowboys (1968), Trash (1968), Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and Andy Warhol's Dracula (both 1974) also directed by Morrissey. These last two films were shot in Europe, and, after the films were completed, Dallesandro chose not to return to the U.S. He continued to star in films made mainly in France and Italy for the rest of the decade, returning to America in the 1980s. He made several movies without Warhol and Morrissey, and is known for his portrayal of 1920s gangster Lucky Luciano in Francis Coppola's The Cotton Club. He also appeared as a religious zealot in Cry-Baby by John Waters.


Dallesandro has a famous tattoo on his upper right arm that reads "Little Joe", and was portrayed as the hustler "Little Joe" in Lou Reed's hit 1972 song "Walk on the Wild Side", which was about the characters Reed knew from Warhol's studio, The Factory. A Warhol photograph of the large crotch bulge of Dallesandro's tight blue jeans graces the famous cover of the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers. Dallesandro explained to biographer Michael Ferguson, “It was just out of a collection of junk photos that Andy pulled from. He didn't pull it out for the design or anything, it was just the first one he got that he felt was the right shape to fit what he wanted to use for the fly.”[2] The 1980s British band The Smiths would later use a still photograph of Dallesandro from the film Flesh as the cover of their eponymous debut album.

John Waters has praised him as "A wonderful actor who forever changed male sexuality on the screen."

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