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Joe Dallesandro (1948 - )

Joe Dallesandro, photo credit unidentified


Joseph Angelo 'Joe' Dallesandro (born December 31, 1948, in Pensacola, Florida) is an American actor known for his physical beauty, flesh-baring film appearances, and frankly stated bisexuality.

A kid off the streets who supported himself by modeling and prostitution – he also reportedly worked in gay porn films and has said that he turned tricks for men "because I could deal with that better" – he met Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in 1967 while they were in the midst of shooting The Loves of Ondine.

Dallesandro was the obvious choice for the part of a young hustler in Flesh, where he was required to perform stark naked. It was to a large extent due to Joe Dallesandro that Flesh became a sensational success in the cinemas – not only in the United States. A new star was born. Later in life, he worked as a limousine driver.

He was the 'little Joe' in Lou Reed's song "Walk on the Wild Side" which was about the characters Reed knew from Andy's studio, The Factory.

He made several movies with and without Warhol, and is known for his portrayal of 'Lucky' Luciano in Francis Coppola's The Cotton Club. He also appeared in Cry Baby by John Waters.

He has been married three times and has two sons. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Dallesandro [Apr 2005]


Joe Dallesandro (b.1948), the product of a broken home and a kid in trouble with the law as a teen, walked into a Greenwich Village apartment one day in 1967 to check out some guys who were shooting a movie and had left the door open. He was subsequently asked to peel down to his underwear and wrestle the film’s male star, which he agreed to do, and before anyone could have grasped the implications, a Superstar was born. The filmmakers were Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey and they were so excited by what they saw on that single reel with this kid from off the streets that they asked him to be in their next film...and their next...and their next...

By 1968, he was the toast of the New York underground film scene, his beautiful face and form the center of all their advertising, effortlessly radiating male beauty off Warhol’s silver screen while making you feel he didn’t have a clue from where it was all coming.

The “Little Joe” of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” could be accused of bringing the undergroundoverground.” As the enigmatic, often naked star of eight Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey films from out of the famed Factory between 1967 and 1972, Dallesandro simultaneously revolutionized the male as an overt sex object in the movies while luring audiences to turn a $1,500 film called Flesh (1968) into a $2,000,000 international arthouse hit that set the stage for Warhol’s films being seen in commercial venues. Joe’s appeal was almost iconic: the male as a thing of beauty, the actor as the anti-actor. A young man of few words, who rarely smiled, his image appealed to audiences because he seemed entirely without ego, as real as that gorgeous kid you saw getting on the bus yesterday. The initial attraction may have been soaked in sexual longing, but it resonated more deeply--with the possibility of attaining the fantasy. This was no Hollywood prettyboy pulling a stunt as an actor, this kid seemed genuine.

“He forever changed male sexuality in the cinema,” says director John Waters without a whiff of his usual sarcasm.

Joe split with Warhol and Morrissey after completing Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Dracula in Italy and stayed on in Europe for the next seven years making 18 films. He returned to the U.S in the early ‘80s and to the silver screen with an impressive performance as “Lucky” Luciano in Francis Coppola’s The Cotton Club. He continues his acting career to this day and enjoys a loyal following of fans.


  1. Trash (1970) - Paul Morrissey [DVD, Amazon US]
    "Why do you have to be unconscious?" asks Holly (played by Holly Woodlawn) while fingering the unresponsive crotch of her passed-out junkie boyfriend, Joe (Joe Dallesandro). Joe passes through a series of flaccid sexual encounters until, on account of his drug habit, he hits rock bottom as Holly is forced out of frustration to consummate with one of his discarded beer bottles. A radical and infinitely more compassionate departure from producer Andy Warhol's art-as-commodity (or commodification) discourse, director Paul Morrissey set out to make a reactionary antidrug film (originally titled Drug Trash), but the film instead turned into a sweaty, cinema-verité black comedy about the pitfalls of, to use a popular catch phrase of the time, "dropping out" of society and, inevitably, losing all hope of human intimacy. In this case, dropping out is not so much an escape as it is a further complicity: rather than an exercise in free will, one form of mindless consumer addiction has simply exchanged with another. As a time capsule, societal criticism, and cult oddity all in one, grab this from the trash heap of film history on your way out of a burning building. --Christopher Chase for amazon.com
  2. Je t'aime, moi non plus (1976) - Serge Gainsbourg
    I remember seeing this one for the first time on May 7, 1988. If they ever awarded a film for being the best in bad taste, here's your winner. Joe Dallesandro plays Krassky, a gay man who's had a spat with his lover (Hughes Quester). While at a bar, he meets up with a boyish (and I mean boyish) female bartender named Johnny (Jane Birkin). They have an affair while Krassky's male lover Padovan tries to make amends.
    While the story is intriguing, the ugliness of the film is quite stong. Johnny's boss is a flatulating old man who occasionally brings in some unattractive women to do a striptease for the men. We see Padovan eating spaghetti with his hands and Johnny eating what looks like cucumbers dipped in milk. There's a scene where Padovan is answering nature's call in an open field. All the sex between Krassky and Johnny is anal, which forces Birkin to scream in agony in every one of those scenes. While I respect Jane Birkin's talents, I wonder if anyone would be turned on by her "lack of rack" or her very short haircut?
    Bottom line: A movie only for a certain group. I haven't seen this one for awhile, but I'll bet Showcase (a cable channel in Canada) will someday show this one, due to their reputation of showing a lot of gay product. bluethunder35 for imdb.com [...]

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