The Andy Warhol Diaries

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The Andy Warhol Diaries
Cover of the first edition
AuthorAndy Warhol
CountryUnited States
PublisherWarner Books

The Andy Warhol Diaries is the dictated memoir of the American artist Andy Warhol and edited by his longtime friend and collaborator Pat Hackett. The book was published posthumously by Warner Books with an introduction by Hackett.

The 807-page book is condensed from the complete 20,000-page diary maintained by Hackett. It begins in November 1976 and concludes eleven years later, just five days before Warhol's death in February 1987.

The Andy Warhol Diaries was a commercial success, becoming a New York Times Best Seller.


After Warhol was audited by the Internal Revenue Service in 1972, he started dictating a daily diary to his secretary Pat Hackett at The Factory to keep a better account of his deductible expenses.[1] This eventually grew into The Andy Warhol Diaries.[2]

Beginning in 1976, Monday through Friday, Warhol and Hackett talked by phone each morning and he narrated the events of the previous day. Weekend entries were done the following Monday in a longer session. If he was traveling, he would call her from wherever he was or tell her what occurred on the missed days when he returned.[3] Hackett transcribed his monologue onto a legal pad. Later in the morning, she would type it on her typewriter, which turned into 20,000 double-spaced pages of unedited entries. After Warhol's death in February 1987, Hackett edited the pages down to the 1,600 she submitted to Warner Books, who acquired the diaries for 1.2 million in 1987.[4] Hackett said much of the remaining 18,400 pages are drivel.[5]


The diary begins on November 24, 1976, with Warhol in Vancouver.[5] This was the end of his trip to Seattle for the opening of the Seattle Art Museum.[5] Warhol mentioned that while on the West Coast he attended model Marisa Berenson's wedding to Jim Randall in Los Angeles.[5] He flew with socialite Catherine Guinness and his manager Fred Hughes from Vancouver to LaGuardia Airport in Queens.[5] When he got to his home in Manhattan, he had an early Thanksgiving dinner with his live-in boyfriend Jed Johnson.[5]

For the next eleven years, Warhol documented his social life and notations of expenses. The book is filled with his observations about the personal lives and careers of his famous friends and associates. Michael Gross noted in New York magazine:

The cast of characters ranges from employees to celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor ("like a fat little Kewpie doll"), Martin Scorsese ("coke problems"), Yves Saint Laurent ("he has to take a million pills"), Sophia Loren ("Didn't she f--- her way to the top?"), Elaine Kaufman ("stuffing herself with rolls"), Steve Rubell ("Gave me a Quaalude"), Liza Minnelli ("Give me every drug you've got"), Halston ("he gave her a bottle of coke, a few sticks of marijuana, a Valium, four Quaaludes"), Mick and Bianca Jagger ("She can't go to bed with him because she just doesn't think he's attractive"), Lady Isabella Lambton ("picks her nose and eats it"), Margaret Trudeau ("sitting on the toilet with her pants down and a coke spook up her nose"), Patti Smith ("all I could think about was her b.o."), Jerry Hall ("she had underarm b.o."), Allan Carr ("What a butterball"), Truman Capote ("How does anyone make it with Truman?"), Sue Mengers ("so vulgar"), Barbra Streisand ("West Side taste"), Rudolf Nureyev ("mean, he's really mean"), Raquel Welch ("sweet now that she's come down a little in the world"), Julian Schnabel ("very pushy"), Marina Cicogna ("like a truck driver"), Richard Nixon ("like a Dickens character"), Calvin and Kelly Klein ("a hot media affair"), Mercedes Kellogg ("a fat thing"), and lots more.[6]

The last diary entry was on February 17, 1987. Warhol walked the runway with jazz musician Miles Davis during a Japanese fashion show at the Tunnel nightclub in Chelsea.[5] Warhol mentioned that Davis gave him his address and they made a deal—Warhol would paint his portrait in exchange for ten minutes of Davis playing music for him.[5] When Warhol got home called his manager Fred Hughes and told him he was too exhausted to attend a Fendi dinner that evening.[5] Hughes' assistant Sam Bolton and Interview fashion editor Wilfredo Rosado called him before he slept.[5]

Release and reception[edit]

The Andy Warhol Diaries was published by Warner Books in May 1989, after Warhol's death in February 1987.[7] The book was published without an index, which Steven Greenberg, the publisher of Fame magazine, said their biggest mistake was they didn't put in an index."[6] Unauthorized indexes were subsequently published by Spy and Fame magazines. Newer editions of the book contain an authorized index.

The Andy Warhol Diaries was a commercial success and remained on the New York Times Best Seller for a few months.[8][9] The book caused a sensation for its "sometimes malicious and often outrageous gossip about entertainers, artists and jet setters."[7]

Many of Warhol's friends praised the book. Steve Rubell, co-owner of Studio 54 and the Palladium, said, "Everybody knew he was doing this. It's the truth, so nobody can say anything. It's making people crazy."[6] "It's his style; it's his words … A few things are absolutely accurate. Some are sort of invented, but I'd say over his observations are keen," said Paige Powell, who was the advertising director for Warhol's Interview magazine.[6] Former Interview editor Bob Colacello also stated that "some of it's true and some of it's not.[6] Warhol's former assistant Ronnie Cutrone said, "He thought [the people he wrote about] were glamorous, but he pitied them. An artist is curious. It's not meanness. it's wanting to take something apart and see how it works. For once, there's a certain integrity to Andy."[5]

However, some of Warhol's friends expressed their dissatisfaction with how they were portrayed in the book. Fashion designer Halston was reportedly "quite upset about the publication of these intimate revelations and was threatening to sue" before his death from AIDS in 1989.[10] Halston's lover Victor Hugo called the book the "Satanic Diaries" and threatened to auction off every Warhol artwork he owned: "I feel like the Central Park jogger... I've been gang-raped and beaten by a dead person and bunch of thugs that work for him. It is the most vile, disgusting piece of pulp literature I have ever read." Model Barbara Allen felt betrayed and said Warhol exaggerated things.[6] Human activist and former actress Bianca Jagger filed a libel lawsuit for how she was portrayed in the book, but she did not blame Warhol.[11] "I don't believe Andy even wrote it," she said. "It is as if it had been fabricated by someone who had only a vague idea of what really happened. Andy was a mischievous man, but I didn't consider him to be vicious."[11]

In 2008, Hackett told Glenn O'Brien in an interview for Interview: "People always ask 'What was Andy really like?' Well, read the Diaries. That's what he was like. When they came out, people focused on the gossip aspect of them, but as time goes on, I believe Andy's Diaries will be recognized as the incredible personal and historical document that they are."[12]


The book was adapted into a six-part Netflix docuseries The Andy Warhol Diaries .[13] Written and directed by Andrew Rossi, the series premiered on March 9, 2022.[14]


  1. ^ "WARHOL DIARIES: SO LITTLE TO SAY, SO MANY PAGES". Deseret News. 2024-01-29. Retrieved 2024-04-05.
  2. ^ Bockris, Victor (1989). The Life and Death of Andy Warhol. New York: Bantam Books. p. 268. ISBN 978-0-553-05708-9.
  3. ^ Hoffman, Eva (June 14, 1989). "Books of The Times; Warhol on Warhol, as Dictated by Warhol". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Warner Books Acquires Andy Warhol Diaries". The New York Times. June 6, 1987.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Warhol, Andy; Hackett, Pat (1989). The Andy Warhol Diaries. New York, NY: Warner Books. pp. 1, 806. ISBN 978-0-446-51426-2.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Gross, Michael (May 29, 1989). "The Satanic Diaries: Is Andy Telling the Truth?". New York Magazine: 48–56.
  7. ^ a b "Bookstores see 'Warhol' diary as hot commodity". The San Bernardino County Sun. 1989-05-26. pp. D5. Retrieved 2024-04-10.
  8. ^ "Best Sellers: May 28, 1989". The New York Times. May 28, 1989.
  9. ^ "Best Sellers: June 18, 1989". The New York Times. June 18, 1989.
  10. ^ Smith, Liz (June 11, 1989). "Illness Stalls Halston Comeback Plans". New York Daily News. p. 10.
  11. ^ a b Sebag-Montefiore, Simon (August 8, 1993). "Bianca's Retribution". The New Yorker.
  12. ^ O'Brien, Glenn (Jun–Jul 2008). "Pat Hackett". Interview. 38 (5): 106.
  13. ^ Zara, Janelle (2022-03-09). "The Andy Warhol Diaries: the inner life of an artist no one really knew". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-04-05.
  14. ^ Battaglia, Andy (2022-03-04). "Netflix's 'Andy Warhol Diaries' Series Offers Intimate View of an Artist Known for Obfuscation". Retrieved 2024-04-05.

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