‘The Jean Genie’ promo video featuring Cyrinda Foxe

Filmed by Mick Rock in San Francisco on 27 & 28 October 1972

The promo video for David Bowie’s single ‘The Jean Genie’ was filmed by Mick Rock in San Francisco on 27 & 28 October 1972.

It features concert footage shot at the second of two shows at San Francisco’s Winterland, interspersed with shots of Bowie and then girlfriend Cyrinda Foxe posing around the Mars Hotel, a favourite haunt of beat poet Jack Kerouac.

“It looks sort of Beatle-y now,” said Bowie in 1986. “It was very new in terms of the way it was dressed. We wanted to get a very graphic, white, almost Vogue look – big faces, big bits of faces, eyes against stark white backdrops, and to throw in an environment, so we found a place called the Mars Hotel in California somewhere and we stuck the band in there.”

“Wanting it to locate Ziggy as a kind of Hollywood street-rat, it became important to me that he had a consort of the Marilyn brand. So I telephoned Cyrinda Foxe in New York and asked her if she was into playing the role. She was, quite rightly, as no-one could have done it better, and she flew in immediately.”

Cyrinda Foxe, Bowie’s then sometime girlfriend whilst on the 1972 US tour, had been recruited by Leee Black Childers as the receptionist at MainMan Artistes Limited’s New York office. Foxe was an original member of the New York Pork cast who’d missed the chance to join the London production. As a member of the Warhol entourage and regular at Max’s Kansas City, Foxe was an unlikely appointment given her previous secretarial experience which involved working for an art dealer and running errands for the reclusive Greta Garbo (or “Miss Brown as she was instructed to call her). Suffice to say she lasted just one day in the job, and it was eventually given to her friend and fellow Pork veteran, Cherry Vanilla.

At the time Foxe was dating The New York Dolls’ front-man David Johansen. After seeing the Dolls in New York, Bowie took a shine to Foxe, and they became lovers. Angie Bowie, not to be out-done, hooked up with the band’s drummer, Billy Murcia. Murcia is also referenced in the song ‘Time’ – “Demanding Billy Dolls, and other friends of mine”.

After accompanying Bowie on the Californian let of the Ziggy tour, where they played sell-out shows at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and San Francisco’s Winterland, they spent their last night together. Returning to New York, Foxe discovered she had fallen pregnant but later had an abortion.

She married Johansen in 1977, but after less than a year she left him for Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler. They had a daughter together, Mia Tyler, but their marriage was troubled by drug addiction, extramarital affairs, and physical and emotional abuse. Foxe and Tyler divorced shortly before Aerosmith made a comeback in the late 1980s.

In 2001, Foxe had a mild stroke, and found herself broke without an apartment or place to live. Myra Freidman, Janis Joplin’s former publicist, organised a benefit at CBGB’s to raise money for Foxe. Ex-husband Tyler donated a signed Aerosmith guitar to the benefit, which sold for $5,000, and Bowie donated an acoustic guitar. Tyler agreed to pay for a room for Foxe at the Gramercy Park Hotel where on 28 August 2002, she married musician Keith Waa. She died later that year following a stroke and an inoperable brain tumour, aged 50.