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Sylvia Miles (born September 9, 1932) is an American actress.

Early life

Miles was born Sylvia Reuben Lee in New York Citymarker, the daughter of Belle (née Fellman) and Reuben Lee, a furniture maker.


Miles played the role of "Sally" in the pilot episode of what would become The Dick Van Dyke Show, which was later taken by Rose Marie for the series. She also appeared in an episode of Naked City as a lovely barfly attempting to communicate with a psychotic Jack Warden.

She is perhaps best known for her role in the movie Midnight Cowboy as wealthy woman who invites Joe Buck (Jon Voight) up to her apartment for sex, seemingly unaware that he is a prostitute, which earned her an Oscar nomination, despite the role's brevity. She received a second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Farewell, My Lovely.

Miles was part of an all-star cast in the 1982 Agatha Christie murder mystery Evil Under the Sun, portraying a Broadwaymarker producer. She played a real estate agent in 1987's Wall Streetmarker, directed by Oliver Stone.

Over the years, the still very active Miles has become a cult figure known for her ties to the avant-garde (Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey, etc.) and her increasingly bizarre appearance over the years and her willingness to attend any public function. Wayland Flowers and his puppet Madame first uttered the widely quoted line "Sylvia Miles would attend the opening of an envelope". She gained some notoriety for an incident in a New York restaurant, when she publicly dumped a plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce onto critic John Simon as revenge for his comments about her body in a review.

Her most recent acting appearances include roles on Sex and the City, One Life to Live, and the film Go Go Tales.

Personal life

She is extremely reluctant to release personal details about her early life, but her clippings file at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (3rd floor) do reveal a great affection for her father, but few if any references to her mother or other relations.

Notable films she was considered for


Her birthday is September 9, but her year of birth remains questionable as she was first married in 1948 to one William Miles (according to IMDb), which means that the usually cited birthyear of 1932, which would have made her 16 at the time of this marriage, may be inaccurate, and she may be older than indicated in reference materials using the 1932 year of birth.


  1. Sylvia Miles Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  2. Sylvia Miles - Awards

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