The son of Ruthenian immigrants, Andy Warhol studied art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He worked as an advertising designer before becoming, in effect, the Father of Pop Art with his silk-screened pictures of Campbell's Soup cans and distorted images of Marilyn Monroe. He started directing films in 1963, if "directing" is the right word - most of his early work simply consisted of pointing the camera at something (a man asleep, the Empire State Building) and leaving it running, often for hours. His films gradually grew more sophisticated, with scripts and soundtracks, although they were generally performed by members of the Warhol "factory" - assorted groupies with little acting talent.
After a near-fatal shooting by an unstable fan on June 3, 1968, Warhol retired from direct involvement in filmmaking, and under former assistant Paul Morrissey, the Warhol films became increasingly commercial. Warhol spent the 1970s and 1980s as a major pop culture figure, constantly attending parties and providing patronage to younger artists. He died in 1987 after a routine gallbladder operation at age 58.
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