Liza Williams

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Liza Williams was the ex girlfriend of Bukowski, just after Linda King. I am trying to find out if Liza Williams is still living. What I hear is the following:

She wrote articles for Open City and La Free Press
She worked for Island Records as a VP

Then it gets weird. In the early 90's she becomes homeless and starts living in shelters.

I searched and found this comment:

"More than thirty years ago I was a regular reader of the LA Free Press here in Cape Town, South Africa, because an old friend, Liza Williams, wrote a regular column for the Freep and sent copies back to a mutual friend. Her columns were subsequently collected into a book called "Up the City of Angels". I lost track of Liza after that. I heard she had been associated with (I think) Island Records, and the last I heard of her, more than ten years ago, she was said to be working as a non-denominational nun among AIDS sufferers in the Lower East Side, New York. Liza was, as I recall, the daughter of a chemistry professor (Lehrman) who fell foul of Joe McCarthy. Liza left South Africa after the local security police found a suitcase of explosives in her car.Does anyone know what has become of her? "

Does anyone know if she was a terrorist from South Africa? Is she a Nun in NYC working with AIDS patients?

She was about Bukowski's age, so she would be in her 80's now. Someone has to know. Maybe cirerita?

For some reason, I never tried to track her down. She wrote a piece on Bukowski in the early 70's. I think to recall it was published in Gambit.
she was interviewed for Born Into This. I'm guessing she's still living. don't know anything of her past, though.
I received this:

"I am a personal friend of Liza Williams (former rolling stone writer and ex girlfriend of Bukowski). Up until sept. 2007 she was living in New York and in and out of mental institutions. She hasn't contacted me in over a year so I would also like to find her. Her ph# has been disconnected and a letter sent to her address was returned with no forwarding."

So apparently some of her friends still don't know where she is now, but a year ago she was still in New York.
The passages in Women with Liza (Dee Dee) are, for me, some of the most memorable of Bukowski's classic novel. Perhaps he was the kind of man of genius she wanted to nurture and be accepted by the most, but it just wasn't meant to be and that may have taken a great toll on her. (It seems evident that it did). just wasn't meant to be and that may have taken a great toll on her. (It seems evident that it did).
It's not "evident" at all. All we know about her are snapshot glimpses of a few months of her life, taken from a book purposely written to make all women appear to be crazy. Unless you know her, to suggest that that was a pivotal moment in her life that eventually drove her to insanity is ridiculous.
Too bad she never wrote about her relationship with Buk!

It seems like her whereabouts are quite a mystery. Let's hope she's still alive and doing alright...
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The last I saw Liza Williams

Was in the early 70's when she had moved from Palms, CA to Oakland, CA. She had been renting a room in an Oakland old building. We had been friends in LA, although not close friends. She had talked about Bukowski a lot because she really loved him.

We had met because I was very impressed with her columns for the LAFreePress and went to see her read stuff at Beyond Baroque in Venice where we struck up a friendship. I remember well that she told me, "writers are never like the stuff they write. I'm telling you that so you won't be disappointed when you get to know me."

We used to go to lots of garage sales early in the morning on the weekends. Liza was full of enthusiasm and energy. She loved to wake up in the morning and do things. Her house in Palms was full of beautiful and interesting stuff she had purchased for pennies. Then, she moved and I didn't hear from her.

She called me in LA and invited me to visit with her in Oakland. I went but my friend Liza was just not the same person she used to be......she was very different and I felt very uncomfortable with her.

She would sit on the floor of her room for hours in utter silence just looking at the floor and wasn't aware of me in the room or anything else. She reminded me of the many addicts and alcoholics I'd seen nodding off, very far away from reality but in Liza's case, she had taken no drugs or alcohol.

I was planning to stay with her for a week or two but left within 3 days. It was a very sad visit to say the least and that was the last time I saw Liza or heard from her.
I read an article written by Liza in a mag called AUM in 1969. The piece shared a heartfelt vision of the rise and decline of the "love movement" that sensed the changes wrought by commercialism long before most of us had any clue. It was so powerful to that 16y/o kid in Florida with idealism still intact, that I filed it away in one of my most treasured album jackets (remember when we did that?). I found it yesterday after all these years. Like a great song that one hears only once, its message was etched on my soul, and reading it again was like finding a lost dear friend. Where is Liza now? I feel that she has to hear that she touched me and many others in ways that are timeless. I welcome any conversation or information about her. I am now living in upstate NY and working as a psychotherapist. The matter of Liza Williams is not closed.
I am now living in upstate NY and working as a psychotherapist. The matter of Liza Williams is not closed.

My understanding is that she may have been a nun and may have had mental health issues. You may have luck given your profession in locating her if that is the case.

I, too, knew Liza back in the '70s, when she worked at Capitol Records, Rolling Stone (their first Los Angeles bureau chief) and Island. She then moved North, as mentioned above, and went to work for Olivia Records.

I heard the "nun" rumor, too, with nothing to validate it. And the "mental health" story is news to me, but it might explain her disappearance -- but so would her becoming a nun.

Looking for her again, I came upon this forum, which delights me -- I was beginning to think Liza had been a figment of my imagination!
If the internet can be trusted, I think I just discovered what happened to Liza Williams. As of two years ago, she was alive, " an ancient hippie confined to an old peoples home in new york..." Here's the link:

Note that she published a book -- UP THE CITY OF THE ANGELS -- a collection of her columns in the L.A. Free Press. Bukowski is mentioned on one page, according to Google Books. Used copies are cheap online.
Cover of the book:

up the city of angels.jpg
Liza's son was named Michael so the forum link above in which he states that his mom was alive in 2008 in a senior home was probably correct.

Liza indeed worked for Island Records. I helped her move all her files out in the middle of the night after she was fired.

I asked a couple of friends from music business days about Liza. One friend visited her at a rent-controlled apartment on Roosevelt Island in the 80s. Another went to Spain with her about 15 years ago.
BobChorush: thanks for the update on Liza. Her getting fired from Island Records and moving her files in the middle of the night sounds like a good story. Is it one you can share?

I found a copy of her book listed on Powell's website and was going to buy it last Sunday but when I got there it wasn't on the shelves. Maybe someone here beat me to it.
i knew liza from 1970 to maybe 1975... when she was first living on serrano (east of western off sunset) and initially married to some neer-do-well named bob (who actutally visited me in oregon before i moved to LA) and was working first for capital and then island. after bob disappeared, she moved in with lita eliscu up beechwood canyon. it was around this time that bukowski made his first appearance.... and since i knew both liza and lita pretty well, i was around a bit... witnessing bukowski's comings and goings in her place. at least twice, liza dragged him to usual tuesday night opening at the troubadour and i drove. he sat with liza in back seat of my 57 volks and made cryptic comments regarding whatever happened to pass through his mind... which wasn't very much. liza laughed at him a lot, but deborah, my girl friend in the front, just thought he was nuts. i remember him being wary and basically disinterested in liza's world. a rock & roller he obviously was not. how their relationship began, i have no idea. how it ended, i have no idea. what happened to liza, i have no idea. most interesting to me are the people on this site, names i haven't thought of in years. bob chorush... todd everett. i was all a long time ago... and a pretty goofy time in the record industry in LA. great fun. great stupidity.
Hi, everybody. for some reason (mainly because I missed any notification), I've not caught the updates between two years ago (!) and just now. So thanks, belatedly, for your replies and reminiscences -- especially Bob and Jeff, whom I actully knew in that era. And yes, the one time I visited Liza in her home, it was up Beachwood. Maybe I should try to track down Lita -- I used to have a number for her.
yeah what mjp said.
I can imagine Hank sitting in the back of this Volks making comments and feeling not too much at home in the showbiz-world. Reminds me of certain scenes in 'Hollywood'.
I woke up in my apartment in Bangkok this morning thinking about Liza and a few steps with Google led me here. As Todd and J.R. know (Bob Chorush, sadly, RIP), I was a friend of Liza's in the 1970's when we both worked in the record business and she wrote a celebrated column for the Free Press. She told me she was married to a one-armed pianist in South Africa (father of son Michael, I believe) and some terrorists put the explosives in her car which got her kicked from that country. Liza was also the girlfriend of a friend of Jack Kerouac's and attended his wedding (she wrote about this for a Rolling Stone published book on the Beats). In Hollywood she lived with Robert who had a collection of Mr. Peanut stuff and went manic. Liza was also bipolar so it was inner chemistry and not Bukowski that caused her troubles. She drove around Mexico with her dog looking for Oscar Acosta, Hunter Thompson's lawyer, the "Brown Buffalo" who disappeared (another boyfriend) and saw Jesus above Santa Anita Racetrack (she told me). When I moved to Santa Cruz she came up and I suggested she try women, so she got a job in PR for Olivia Records, the lesbian-run company in Oakland. But she had a Cuban taxi driver boyfriend on the side so it didn't work out. Then she moved to New York City where I saw her in about 1980. By the late 80's she was living in senior discounted housing on Roosevelt Island, a very nice room with views of the river. Since she's 10 years old, she would be 82 by now. My last link with her was the playwright Harvey Perr who knew her her LA and NY but he's back in LA now. She avoided the computer and was not a regular letter writer. She was a dear friend for many years and I'd love to hear the she's happy now. Bill Yaryan
Thanks for your post. I got the Rolling Stone Book of the Beats recently but hadn't read Liza Williams' essays. Because of your post, I just read both--one on her romance with Lucien Carr and the other about her trip with Carr to see Burroughs in Mexico. I had no idea she had been so involved in the Kerouac/Ginsberg/Carr/Burroughs scene. Puts another interesting spin on Buk's connection to the Beats.
She drove around Mexico with her dog looking for Oscar Acosta, Hunter Thompson's lawyer, the "Brown Buffalo" who disappeared (another boyfriend) and saw Jesus above Santa Anita Racetrack (she told me).

Jesus, you mean Oscar Acosta was one of the boyfriends of Liza Williams?

Now here was a woman who kept close to the literary pulse of the time.
Well, Bill, that fills in a lot of blanks. I'd known her at Capitol and Island (and Stone), and was in touch with her a couple of times when she was at Olivia, but never asked how she got there.
Olivia as a label is evidently long gone; I contacted what's left a few years ago and they had no idea what had happened with Liza. As you and I (and I guess J.R.) have wound up here while looking for her, maybe someone who knows here present whereabouts will, eventually; and at the very least convey out best wishes.
If there's a God in Heaven, Liza is somewhere comfortable, eating bonbons and auditioning potential lovers as she puts the final touches on her memoirs.
I am VERY GLAD I found this forum and that is said Liza is still alive, or was recently anyway. I wish we could get a solid confirm on that. I remember her column in the LA Free Press very well. Lawrence Liption (I think that's the name) wrote a column for the Free Press at the same time. He liked to make fun of Liza, he said her column ought to be called "My vagina, its life and hard times" OR - I think he's the one who said this, at any rate, someone did. Whose memory is perfect after so many years? I couldn't even recall Liza's surname - I emailed somebody at the Freep now, and HE told me. I am hardly surprised to hear, she always had an EVENTFUL life. I think of her as something of a "feminist" writer - and, let me tell you, such folk were few and far between when she wrote for the Free Press.
I just registered for this forum, in order to post this comment, and I am NOT going to upload a picture, I haven't allowed anyone near me w/a camera for some 25 years. Vain you see. Now, I am old enough I can admit to vanity and other such things
Hi. I came across this thread while trying to find Liz Williams' whereabouts. My father kew her, her mother and Bukowski in L.A. in the 60's and 70's and I'm anxious to find out how she's doing. This is part of the early stages of a bio of my father. He was a well known communist filmmaker and photographer. Thanks for any info.
high i am aron kay the mad yippie pie thrower....i am wondering about the whereabouts of liza williams.
i havent seen her since around the time of 9/11...we were at a mutual friend's funeral in nyc that day....i knew liza as far back as 1967-68 when she was working at the la free press bookstore on fairfax avenue...i was working with green power at the power fed the street freex and focalized the love-ins at griffith park....
anyway i would run into her in la and nyc over the years....i wonder if she is still around...please rsvp me via [email protected] if you have any info
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