Apart from his unhappy childhood and adolescence, Milligan had a very troubled personal life that he often avoided talking about. In 1968 he married Candy Hammond, a North Carolina stage actress and former "erotic dancer" who starred in a few of his films. The wedding service took place on February 24, 1968, at his Staten Island house located on 7 Phelps Place, which was still decorated for a movie shoot and attended by most of the crew people working on the film as well as his father and Japanese stepmother. Almost no one took the wedding seriously because Milligan was unabashedly homosexual and an avowed misogynist. That night he was said to have cruised gay bars in New York City to celebrate. Candy divorced him the following year, apparently due to neglect as he was more focused on his filmmaking career, and she returned to her North Carolina hometown.
Milligan had a reputation throughout his life of being extremely demanding and bad-tempered, often provoking fights or arguments with actors, film producers and financers as well as strangers he would meet on the street. He would be abusive and frequently shout and yell at actors working on his films or plays for not getting the work done fast enough and even physically assault actors and actresses often by slapping them across their faces and laughing if the women he slapped would break down and cry. A non-smoker and non-drinker, Milligan was said to throw fits and tantrums in public and private if people around him smoke, drank, or used drugs. Milligan also never had a drivers license and relied on public transportation wherever he lived.
Milligan was heavily into S&M and had very few serious relationships (all with men). The few friends he did have were just as disturbed and emotionally troubled as he was. One such friend was a Vietnam veteran and ex-convict named Dennis Malvasi, who once drifted into and acted in Milligan's Troupe Theater in the early 1980s and also worked for Milligan as a crewperson, transportation driver, and even acted in one of Milligan's horror films, Carnage in 1983. Malvasi was a former U.S. Army demolitions expert whom was suspected for numerous abortion clinic bombings in New York state during the 1980s, and he was the one who drove Milligan cross-country on a four-day road trip in 1985 during Milligan's move to Los Angeles. Later in 1992, Malvasi was convicted and served three years for the attempted bombing of another abortion clinic in New York City. Later in March 2001, Malvasi again made news headlines when he and his wife were arrested for aiding the flight of fugitive James Kopp, the suspected murderer of a New York abortion doctor. After agreeing to a plea deal, Malvasi and his wife served 20 months in prison and was released in 2003.
Another one of Milligan's few close friends was character actor John Miranda, who starred as Sweeny Todd in Milligan's 1970 film Bloodthirsty Butchers. Miranda later financially supported Milligan after his move to Los Angeles and assisted with any medical expenses during Milligan's final years.
One of Milligan's lovers was "human toothpick" B. "Bobby" Wayne Keeton (so-named for his gaunt physical build), who was a good-natured Louisiana-born hustler who worked as a slate man and even appeared in a small part in Monstrosity, one of Milligan's last movies, which he filmed in Los Angeles in late 1987. Keeton died from AIDS on June 20, 1989.
In poor health from late 1989, Andy Milligan died of AIDS in the early morning hours of June 3, 1991, at the Queen of Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles at age 62. He was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Los Angeles, since he was broke at the time of his death and no one who knew him could afford a burial stone or even to have his body cremated.
Gutter Auteur: The Films of Andy Milligan by Rob Craig and Foreword by Robert Patrick
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: McFarland (November 29, 2012)
Amazon: Gutter Auteur: The Films of Andy Milligan
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Grindhouse filmmaker Andy Milligan has been the subject of a revealing biography, and boasts a grassroots fan base, but his remarkable work has thus far received no serious critical overview. Working virtually alone, on infinitesimal budgets, often using a used 16mm newsreel camera, Milligan crafted some of the most unique melodramas of the 1960s and 1970s. Often mounted as period pieces, using costumes sewn by the filmmaker, Milligan's gritty, bizarre films come across as inimitable meldings of the avant-garde theater of Jean Genet, the experimental films of Jack Smith, and the random cinema verite of a lunatic with a home movie camera. Yet Milligan's films are anything but random, ruminating at length on profound sociocultural themes of the day, including the emptiness of the sexual revolution. Evident throughout all the films are two pet themes: a rabid deconstruction of the heterosexual paradigm, and a grotesque illumination of the family as breeder of dysfunction.
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