Eve Babitz Dies: Writer And Avatar Of LA Cultural Scene Was 78

Eve Babitz, a writer and once-and-future “it” girl closely identified with the 1960s and early-’70s in Los Angeles, has died at 78.

Relatives confirmed her death on social media as well as to the Associated Press, but did not specify a cause.

Part-West Coast wild child, part-boho intellectual, Eve once described herself as a “stacked eighteen-year-old blonde on Sunset Boulevard… who is also a writer.” A famous image from 1963 shows her playing chess against Dadaist artist and writer Marcel Duchamp, with Babitz completely naked and Duchamp fully clothed.

As a writer and creative muse, Babitz had a wide-ranging impact, drawing comparisons to Joan Didion, who recommended a piece of hers to Rolling Stone, kick-starting her writing career. She also ventured outside the world of letters, designing album covers for Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and Linda Ronstadt. She had romantic connections with notable figures like Jim Morrison of the Doors, Harrison Ford, Steve Martin, artist Ed Ruscha and music industry mogul Ahmet Ertegun.

Babitz grew up immersed in LA culture high, pop and in between. Her father was a violinist in the Twentieth Century Fox Orchestra and her mother was an artist. Her godfather was Igor Stravinsky, according to the AP’s obituary. At Hollywood High School, her classmates included Linda Evans and Tuesday Weld.

In the latter years of her life, Babitz became more reclusive, in part because of serious burns she suffered after accidentally dropping a lit cigar on her skirt while driving in 1997. Her reputation soared over the past decade, however, with Harper’s Bazaar two years ago declaring Babitz “an unlikely icon for millennial women.”

In 2017, Hulu and Sony’s TriStar Television developed the coming-of-age comedy LA Woman, a single-camera show from Casual executive producer/showrunner Liz Tigelaar. It was based on Babitz’s four books, Eve’s Hollywood; Slow Days, Fast Company; Sex and Rage; and LA Woman. Amy Pascal and Elizabeth Cantillon were among its producers and the late Lynn Shelton had been lined up to direct.

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