September 9, 1932 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Actors Studio|
|Spouse(s)||Ted Brown (September 4, 1963 – 1970; divorced)
Gerald Price (1952–1958; divorced)
William Miles (1948–1950; divorced)
She played the role of "Sally" in the pilot episode of what would become The Dick Van Dyke Show, which was later taken by Rose Marie for the series. She appeared in several episodes of Naked City, including once as a lovely barfly attempting to communicate with a psychotic Jack Warden.
She may be best-known for her role in Midnight Cowboy as a hooker on a busman's holiday, who invites Joe Buck (Jon Voight) up to her apartment for sex, seemingly unaware he is in the same line of business. The role earned her an Oscar nomination in 1969 for Best Supporting Actress, despite only appearing on screen for about 6 minutes. She received a second Oscar nomination for her slightly larger role (8 minutes) as Best Supporting Actress in 1975 for her role in Farewell, My Lovely.
In 1978, she played a cameo in the Indian suspense film Shalimar. She appeared in the 1982 film version of Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, portraying a Broadway producer. She played a real estate agent in the Michael Douglas-Oliver Stone film Wall Street (1987). Over the years, Miles has become a cult figure, both for her ties to avant-garde personalities (including Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey) and her increasingly bizarre appearance over the years and her willingness to attend any public function. Wayland Flowers and his puppet Madame first uttered the widely quoted line "Sylvia Miles and Andy Warhol would attend the opening of a sewer". Another source quotes Flowers as saying, "Sylvia Miles would attend the opening of an envelope", while in 1976, People Magazine repeated the same joke without offering a source. In a New York restaurant in 1973 she publicly dumped a plate of food onto critic John Simon's head for his mean-spirited and insulting comments about her in a review.
Her most recent acting roles have been on Sex and the City, One Life to Live, and the films Go Go Tales and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (reprising her role from the first film, as a real estate agent).
- Miles' year of birth is wildly disputed. NNDb cites 1923, while Miles herself has, since at least 1976, claimed her year of birth as 1934; the 1932 date, although predominant, has never been confirmed.
- Judy Kessler. "What Would a Manhattan Party Be Without the Ubiquitous Sylvia Miles?", People Magzine, October 18, 1976, Vol. 6 No. 16
- New York Times profile of Miles
- Miles' profile at filmsite.org
- New York Magazine reference to Sylvia Miles
- NPR website referencing John Simon-Sylvia Miles altercation
- Sylvia Miles at AllRovi
- Sylvia Miles at the Internet Broadway Database
- Sylvia Miles at the Internet Movie Database
- Sylvia Miles at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Sylvia Miles at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection