Remembering Sylvia Miles in ‘Heat’ and the Six Minute Academy Award Nomination

The 1969 John Schlesinger film Midnight Cowboy courted more that its share of controversy when it was released. There was one last controversy that the film would have before it was said and done. This one, however, was not the film’s doing. In tribute to Ms. Miles and the sadness we feel when we heard of her passing, we will look at the actress’ legacy.

Sylvia Miles’ first home was the New York stage. She would try her hand in films in the 1940s. However, film and, Hoilywood, for that matter, was not made not made for an actress like her. Perfection was the only thing they wanted. Sylvia Miles wasn’t perfect. Never has there such a speciman in the entertainment business.

From Heat
Publicity Photo From Heat

It wasn’t until 1969 and six minutes of screen time would Ms. Miles become a name on people’s lips. Midnight Cowboy further aid in what at the time looked to be the the inevitable death of the studio system, Starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, the film was based off the 1965 novel of the same name and would be helmed by the English born Schlesinger.English-born.

Wikipedia –

“Joe Buck, a young Texan working as a dishwasher, quits his job and heads to New York City to become a prostitute. Initially unsuccessful, he manages to bed a middle-aged New York woman in her posh apartment, but the encounter ends badly as he gives her money after she is insulted and throws a tantrum when he requests paymenceiet. “

In all, Ms. Miles would be onscreen for six minites, Apparently, that would be enough time for her to be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress.

Sylvia Miles’ next feature of great significance was cult director and Andy Warhol frequent collaborator Paul Morrissey. Wikipedia would note –

“The film was conceived by Warhol as a parody of Sunset Boulevard (1950). It is the third film of the “Paul Morrissey Trilogy” produced by Andy Warhol. The other films in the trilogy include Flesh (1968) and Trash (1970).”

The film would reverse normal casting norms by the fact that Miles’ co-star Joe Dallesandro was half her age – Dallesandro 24, Miles 48

Sylvia Miles, Joe Dallesandro  Heat