Paul Morrissey  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Paul Morrissey (born February 23, 1938) is an American film director, best known for his association with Andy Warhol. He was also director of the first film in which a transgender actress, Holly Woodlawn, starred as a cisgender woman and girlfriend of the main character played by Joe Dallesandro in Trash (1970).

Life and career

Of Irish extraction, Morrissey attended Ampleforth College and Fordham University, both Roman Catholic schools, and later served in the United States Army. A political conservative and self-described "right-winger", who has publicly protested against what he perceives as immorality and "anti-Catholicism", Morrissey's long-term collaboration with the low-keyed, apparently apolitical Warhol was viewed by many as "a successful mismatch", although both men did share some traits, e.g. both were practicing Catholics from "ethnic" backgrounds (Warhol was of Rusyn descent).

Morrissey's bold, avant-garde direction in film making is often attributed to his relationship with Warhol and The Factory, although Morrissey claimed in his memoir, Factory Days, that this is not the case.

Despite his conservative background, Morrissey was among the first film directors to cast transgender women from Warhol's inner circle as cisgender women in his films Trash (1970) and Women in Revolt (1971).


  • "I think censorship is very good. Common sense would tell you what that is but now people go through civil rights sh-t and say 'We can do it! We can do it! We can do anything we want!'" (Morrissey to Sam Weisberg of Bright Lights Film Journal)
  • "Everything I did, it's Warhol this, or he did them with me. Forget it. He was incompetent, anorexic, illiterate, autistic, Asperger's - he never did a thing in his entire life. He sort of walked through it as a zombie and that paid off in the long run." (Morrissey to Bright Lights Film Journal).
  • "There's Andy in his anti-Christ outfit. He's the essence of passivity; he just isn't there." (Morrissey to Fred Ferreira)


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