Sylvia Miles, High Class ‘Midnight Cowboy’ Hooker Opposite Jon Voight, Is Dead At 94

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Actress Sylvia Miles died today, Variety reports.

The sad news was confirmed to the show business publication by Miles’ friends — actress Geraldine Smith and writer Michael Musto. Musto said Sylvia was the subject of one of his first interviews some five decades ago.

Sylvia Miles was a career actress but it wasn’t until she played a hooker named Cass — opposite Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy in 1969 — that she became a Hollywood star. Her IMDb profile shows the persistent blonde — who was said to have asked producers for work while partying at Manhattan’s iconic Studio 54 — made her television debut on NBC in 1950 on The Bob Hope Show.

In 1954, she was cast as Miss Hayes in an episode of The Gambler, and in 1961 she was cast in two episodes of Route 66.

Miles was cast dozens of times to play television and film parts but she was hardly ever given a long-lasting or recurring role. One exception was her run on All My Children. She played Jackie Diamond on the popular soap for two years.

One of her most perceptive quotes is shared on her IMDb page.

“I don’t have all the answers. My life’s been a mystery to me and I don’t have all my history yet. I’m not departing this planet until I get an Oscar.”

Unfortunately, that iconic golden statue eluded this prolific thespian. She did get nominated twice by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, but both roles weren’t meaty — she was on screen six minutes for Midnight Cowboy and eight minutes for 1975’s Farewell, My Lovely. Apparently, it didn’t take long for Sylvia Miles to prove her acting chops.

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Sylvia Miles, who allegedly lied about her age at times, nearly grabbed the role of a lifetime when she played Sally Rogers in the television pilot for what would become the long-running Dick Van Dyke Show, but the part was recast.

Still, nothing could get this thespian down for long — not even a marriage that didn’t last. She wed three different men in her lifetime: William Miles, Gerald Price, and Ted Brown. Although each of the marriages ended in divorce, Sylvia still kept up on the New York social scene, in which Andy Warhol was a mainstay. After his death, Miles was said to have taken over his reign.

Actress Sylvia Miles and Gromit attend the Deamworks "Premiere of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit" at Chelsea West Theatre on September 25, 2005 in New York City.
Featured image credit: Thos RobinsonGetty Images

Born in Greenwich Village, Sylvia Miles was called “flamboyant” and “daring” by The New York Times in its obituary on Wednesday. Apparently, this hard-to-miss personality was that way at work and in life. In fact, as frequently happens in congested Manhattan, this ever persistent thespian passed away in the ambulance that was trying hard to save her.