© Robert Wiles, May 1, 1947, The most beautiful suicide
On May 1, 1947, Evelyn Francis McHale leapt to her death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building (“Warhol Suicide”). Photographer Robert Wiles took a photo of McHale a few minutes after her death.
The photo ran a couple of weeks later in Life magazine accompanied by the following caption:
“On May Day, just after leaving her fiancé, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale wrote a note. ‘He is much better off without me … I wouldn’t make a good wife for anybody,’ … Then she crossed it out. She went to the observation platform of the Empire State Building. Through the mist she gazed at the street, 86 floors below. Then she jumped.
In her desperate determination she leaped clear of the setbacks and hit a United Nations limousine parked at the curb. Across the street photography student Robert Wiles heard an explosive crash. Just four minutes after Evelyn McHale’s death Wiles got this picture of death’s violence and its composure.” (read more here and here)
16 years later Wiles’ photography has been appropriated by Andy Warhol for a print called ‘Suicide (Fallen Body)’:
© Andy Warhol, 1962, Suicide (Fallen Body)