Eve Babitz, Muse of Hollywood Stars, Dies at 78

by Anna Dunn

Eve Babitz, the iconic visual artist and author, is dead at 78. Babitz was a muse for many Hollywood stars and her writing found critical acclaim on its release and later on in her life. She passed away from complications due to Huntington’s disease at the U.C.L.A medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

In 1947, Babitz published her book, Eve’s Hollywood, at 30 years old. The book, which was a collection of non-fiction essays about her own life, was an incredibly playful yet honest take on Hollywood life.

According to The New York Times, Babitz’s agent, Erica Spellman, said that Babitz was “seen as too sexy and too lightweight to be serious. But from the beginning, I found her work startling and honest.”

Spellman also explained that Babitz’s work has seen quite the resurgence from many young women currently, who have turned to her older work for her fresh perspective.

“She was writing about women in a way that doesn’t exist anymore,” Spellman explained. “A new generation is responding to her abandon and her grit. I think women no longer have that kind of freedom. Eve never saw herself as a victim. She was a free spirit and living her life the way want she wanted to.”

Babitz would go on to publish five more books. Sex and Rage” (1979), L.A. Woman (1982), had alter-egos of Eve at their center. She also published numerous essay collections including Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh and L.A. And she didn’t stop writing in the 70s and 80s. She continued to write throughout her life. She published a collection called, I used to Be Charming in 2019.

To Many, Eve Babitz Embodied Hollywood

The New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner once described said her work “reads like Nora Ephron’s by way of Joan Didion, albeit with more lust and drugs and tequila.”

Eve Babitz’s fresh take on life, and her associations with many Hollywood Stars, have led many to describe her as a quintessential figure embodying Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times said in her obituary that she “captured and embodied the culture of Los Angeles.”

Her writing didn’t shy away from describing the glitz and glam mixed with the gritty reality of Hollywood life. But there was a point where she fell into relative obscurity. The revival of her work occurred in part due to a piece on her called “Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.”

The author of that piece, Lili Anolik, said that even in her final years, she was an absolute joy.

“She could be difficult, she could be perverse, but she was always a delight,” Anolik said according to the L.A Times. “I only knew her when her health was failing, and she was down maybe a marble or two, and she was still almost indecently charming: an easy laugher, loved to eat, and, if you got her talking about the past, told the best stories. Her bravura knowingness was intact until the end.”