Mary Angela “Angie” Bowie (née Barnett; September 25, 1949) is an American cover girl, model,actress and musician. She was married to English musician David Bowie until their divorce in 1980; the couple had one child, film director Duncan Jones.
Early life and education
Angela, born an American citizen on September 25, 1949, in Cyprus, is of paternal English and maternal Polish descent, and she was brought up as a Catholic. She has one older brother. Her father, Col. George M. Barnett, a U.S. Army veteran, was a mining engineer and ran a mill for Cyprus Mines Corporation. Her mother was Helena Maria Galas. Both her parents died in 1984.
Educated in Cyprus, Switzerland, and the UK (Kingston Polytechnic), she briefly attended Connecticut College until she was expelled.
Film and television
She auditioned for the leading role in what dates show to have been the ABC-TV telefilm Wonder Woman which aired on March 12, 1974, and starred Cathy Lee Crosby (not as often reported for the later television series Wonder Woman, which eventually went to Lynda Carter). Newsweek hypothesised in their February 11, 1974, issue that she lost the part because of her refusal to wear a bra. Angela argues in her autobiography, though, that the part had already gone to Carter before she auditioned.
Later in 1975, Angela bought the television rights to Marvel Comics’ characters Black Widow and Daredevil, hoping to develop and sell a series featuring the two heroes. Angela would play Black Widow, and actor Ben Carruthers would fill Daredevil’s suit. Although several black-and-white stills exist with Bowie and Carruthers in costume, the series failed to find a studio willing to take it on and never went beyond the development stage.
In addition to appearing as herself in the Ziggy Stardust film (1973) and Glitter Goddess of Sunset Strip (1991), her film work includes credited acting roles in at least four films: Eat the Rich (1987, as Henry’s wife), Demented (1994), Deadrockstar (2002, as Bartender) and La Funcionaria Asesina (The Slayer Bureaucrat, 2009, as Helen Price/Constance).
On January 5, 2016, Bowie entered the Celebrity Big Brother house as a contestant.
Angela has written two autobiographies, Free Spirit (1981, including samples of the author’s poetry), as well as the bestseller, Backstage Passes: Life On the Wild Side with David Bowie, published in 1993 and updated in 2000. It detailed her alleged drug-fueled and openly bisexual lifestyle with her former husband and many other well-known musicians.In 2014, she produced a large book about sex entitled Pop Sex, as well as a coloring book about her cats entitled Cat-Astrophe.
She has been rumoured to be the inspiration for the Rolling Stones 1973 hit “Angie” from the album Goat’s Head Soup, but Mick Jagger has dispelled these tales. He was quoted as saying: “People began to say that song was written about David Bowie’s wife, but the truth is that Keith [Richards] wrote the title. He said, ‘Angie’. And I think it was to do with his daughter. She’s called Angela. And then I just wrote the rest of it.”
A CD maxi-single, “The World Is Changing” (six mixes, including prominent vocal support by Dabonda Simmons and all credited to Angela Bowie as composer with various co-composers including David Padilla, Morgan Lekcirt, Tom Reich, Jim Durban and D.J. Trance) appeared in 1996 on New York label Warlock Records (distributed in Europe through Music Avenue on the Nite Blue label). The cover featured a logo of the Bowie name clearly modelled on the one seen on her former husband’s Let’s Dance releases. An album, Moon Goddess, was released in 2002 on Subterraneans’ record label The Electric Label. She sang with Subterraneans vocalist Jude Rawlins on a version of the Rolling Stones song “The Last Time”, subsequently included on the 2003 Subterraneans album Orly Flight. She is currently working on her second album, Fancy Footwork.
Bowie has reinvented herself as a journalist specializing in gender issues. She has served as a “roving reporter” for the transgender lifestyle bimonthly, Frock Magazine. In 2002, she wrote a Pocket Essentials book entitled Bisexuality.
She met musician David Bowie in London, England in 1969, at the age of 19. According to Angela Bowie, they met through their mutual friendship with Chinese-American record executive Dr. Calvin Mark Lee. She married Bowie one year later, on March 19, 1970 at Bromley Register Office in Beckenham Lane, London. On 30 May 1971, David and Angie Bowie had a son, Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones, who later preferred to be known as Joe or Joey, although now he has reverted to the name Duncan Jones. Angie and David Bowie separated after nine years of marriage and divorced on 8 February 1980, in Switzerland.
David Bowie wrote the songs “The Prettiest Star”, “Golden Years” and “Cracked Actor” about her (during a backstage sequence in the D.A. Pennebaker concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David calls her by the name “Star”.) She often accompanied him on his international concert tours, which included North America, Japan and Europe. She appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show, hosted by Johnny Carson on November 16, 1973, alongside Dinah Shore, Joan Rivers and Ashley Montagu. Angela also performed on The Mike Douglas Show in early 1975.
She also had a long-term relationship with punk musician Drew Blood; they had a daughter, Stacia. She later lived in Tucson, Arizona.
She was fictionalized as a character named “Mandy”, portrayed by Toni Collette in the movie Velvet Goldmine.
- Angela Bowie “Free Spirit”, Published by Mushroom Books, 1981 (name appears as “Angie Bowie” on cover)
- Angela Bowie “Backstage Passes”, Published by Jove Books, The Berkeley Publishing Group, 1993