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|Candy Darling was born James Lawrence Slattery to Theresa Phelan, a bookkeeper at Manhattan's Jockey Club and Jim Slattery, who was described as a violent alcoholic. There is some conjecture around her date of birth. According to former Warhol associate, Bob Colacello, she was born in Brooklyn in 1946. The Internet Movie Database lists Candy Darling's year of birth as 1948, but her friend, roommate, and postumous editor, Jeremiah Newton, states that she was born on November 24, 1944.
Early years - as a male - were spent in Massapequa Park, Long Island, New York where he and his mother had moved after his parents divorced. His step-brother Warren left home for the service, leaving Jimmy as the only child, and later denied his connection to Candy/Jimmy.
Jimmy spent much of his childhood absorbing the influences of US television and old Hollywood movies, from which he learned to impersonate his favorite actresses - his favorite being Kim Novak. He claimed to have "learned about the mysteries of sex from a salesman in a local children's shoe store" and finally revealed his inclination towards transvestism when his mother confronted him about local rumours which described him dressed as a girl frequenting a local gay bar called The Hayloft. In response Jimmy left the room and reappeared in full drag. His mother later said that "I knew then... that I couldn't stop Jimmy. Candy was just too beautiful and talented."
Late at night Candy would often take the Long Island Railroad to Manhattan to avoid the attention of neighbors. Once there, she referred to her home in Long Island as her "country house" and hung out in Greenwich Village, meeting people through the circle of Seymour Levy on Bleecker Street.
Her first assumed name was Hope Slattery. According to Bob Collacello, Candy adopted this name sometime in 1963/64 after she started going to gay bars in Manhattan and making visits to a doctor on Fifth Avenue for hormone injections. Jackie Curtis stated that Candy adopted the name from a girl named Hope Stansbury who she lived with for a few months in an apartment behind the Caffe Cino so she could study her. Holly Woodlawn remembers that Candy's name evolved from Hope Dahl to Candy Dahl and then to Candy Cane. In her autobiography, Woodlawn recalled that Candy had adopted the last name of Darling because a friend of hers called Candy 'darling' so often that it finally stuck. Jeremiah Newton believed Candy adopted the name out of a love for sweets.
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