Edith Minturn Sedgwick born April 20, 1943, in Santa Barbara, California, to Alice Delano de Forest and Francis Minturn Sedgwick.
Francis was known to be emotionally distant to his family. This difficult relationship had severe psychological effects on the family dynamics, especially for the children. Edie had seven siblings, Alice, 1931, Robert, 1933, Pamela 1935, Francis, 1937, nicknamed Minty, Jonathan, 1939, Katherine, 1941, and Susanna, 1945.
Edie’s older brothers had documented mental problems. Minty suffered many mental breakdowns and during treatment killed himself. Robert had a fatal motorcycle accident in 1965. According to Edie, her father made no efforts to hide his numerous extramarital affairs. She claimed to have walked in on several occasions, witnessing her father with a mistress. Francis insisted that his daughter had only imagined it.
Growing up in the Sedgwick home was not easy. The children were raised primarily by nannies, spending much of their time isolated as they were home-schooled in their early years. As a teenager Edie suffered form anorexia which continued to plague her throughout her life.
When Sedgwick was 13, her grandfather died. She was sent to board at Katharine Branson School, located in San Francisco. She was soon required to leave the school due to anorexia complications.
In 1958 Edie left yet another school and her mother, dissatisfied with her marriage, decided to take Edie and return to Austria. Within two days of her departure, for unknown reasons, she changed her mind and returned to her husband.
Sedgwick’s father put his foot down and admitted his daughter to Silver Hill Hospital, a poorly managed facility whose patients were allowed to leave the hospital and visit local restaurants and stores. Sedgwick’s weight continued to drop as she spent thousands of dollars shopping. When her father discovered the lack of supervision, he moved her to a a more strict hospital.
In early 1965 Edie met Andy Warhol and visited the large factory studio where Warhol and his cohorts hung out. Warhol produced unusual scriptless home movies featuring random people, places and things. During this time Edie began a relationship with Bob Dylan. It did not last, nor did her friendship with Warhol.
Jonathan Sedgwick later claimed that his sister had become pregnant with Dylan’s child. After a very serious motorcycle accident, the emergency room doctors discovered she was addicted to drugs and sent her to a mental hospital. The mental hospital personnel found Edie to be pregnant. However, due to her history of drug use and anorexia, an abortion was forced on her. No records were ever recovered to support her brother’s claims.
Eventually, Edie was allowed to return home, accompanied by two nurses. Producer John Palmer also moved into the home. He had begun filming Ciao Manhattan with Sedgwick in 1967, and, being anxious to finish the project, he used recording tapes for her to tell her story.
It is reported that Sedgwick struggled with drugs for the remainder of her life. By 1969 she was again committed to a hospital, where she became acquainted with a fellow patient, Michael Brett Post. They married in July, 1971.
Sedgwick was able to achieve sobriety for several months; but unable to continue her progress, she ultimately returned to drinking and taking pills. On the morning of November 16, 1971, her husband found her dead. Her blood alcohol level was .17, along with a barbiturate level of .48. Sedgwick was just 28 years old at the time of her death.