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26 August 2020

Liz Eden and Dog Day Afternoon: Part III - Release, a final wedding and afterwards (and Bibliography)

Trigger warning. This 3-part article contains quotations from John Wojtowicz, the major protagonist. The quotations contain frequent misgenderings, and in the latter 2 parts traditional English swear words. Caveat Lector.

Part I: Two Weddings and a Bank Robbery
Part II: Imprisonment, the Movie and one more wedding
Part III: Release, a final wedding and afterwards (and Bibliography)

John Wojtowicz gave Carmen a yellow rose on her anniversary, and Liz a red one on hers.

The divorce of Carmen and John was finalized in 1983. Carmen reverted to her maiden name, and while working three jobs, put herself through college. She became an education associate for children with special needs.

Liz Eden was in a hit-and-run incident coming out of a gay bar late one night. She was rushed to St Clare’s Hospital in Hell’s Kitchen and they put pins in to save her leg. However apparently the blood transfusion was HIV+, and after a while and a couple of sicknesses Liz was confirmed to have AIDS.
One time while out, Wojtowicz and Liz were interviewed by gay film buff Vito Russo on his Our Time television show. Wojtowicz was still referring to Liz as ‘Ernie’ and Liz became quite infuriated.

Liz moved to Rochester, NY, and was said to be remarried. Liz died in September 1987 of Aids-related pneumonia – she was 41.

         John and his mother
Finally out for good, Wojtowicz returned to living with his mother and his developmentally disabled brother Tony in Brooklyn.

Despite claims that he was paid $100,000 or 1% of the profits of the film which took in over $50 million on a budget of $1.8 million, he received very little of it apart from the $2,500 that went to Liz for the operations. The New York State Crime Victims Compensation Board diverted tens of thousands to the hostages, and contested against Wojtowicz receiving anything right up to his death. Sometimes he was on welfare. Sometimes he worked at minimum wage jobs.

John was married for a fourth time to Chiclets, a 17-year-old trans woman. She was viciously beaten by a group of transphobes in the Village. They dumped her in New Jersey. She was in a coma for a month before dying.

Pierre Huyghe, the French artist, was doing a series of dual screen presentations combining a real event, its fictional remake and a first-person recollection of the original. He was intrigued by the Dog Day Afternoon scenario. In 1999, he travelled to Brooklyn and knocked on doors until he found Wojtowicz at his mother’s house. He invited John to go to Paris to re-enact the events. A copy of the bank as in the film had been built in a studio in a Paris suburb. This could not be done in the US as Wojtowicz did not own the copyright. The resulting film, The Third Memory, 2000, opens with the standard FBI warning against copyright infringement, with a voice-over:
“I tell the FBI to go fuck themselves. . . . It’s been twenty-eight years since I’ve been fighting Warner Brothers to try and get my money back. They keep giving it to the hostages while I’m a millionaire living on welfare. My name is John Wojtowicz; I’m the real Sonny Worcek and I’m the one that you see in Dog Day Afternoon.” 
It was shown at Huyghe’s first solo exhibition in New York. As Barikins’ book on Huyghe says:
“As Huyghe’s film demonstrates, neither Wojtowicz’s ‘self’ nor the details of his story are or were ever entirely his own. Not only was Wojtowicz’s original conception of the robbery influenced by Al Pacino’s performance in The Godfather (1972) (which he and his partners viewed on the morning of the bank robbery as a kind of motivational manual), but Pacino’s interpretation of the character later affected Wojtowicz’s reenactment of the siege.”
In 2005 there was the Australian film, Based on a True Story, which is mainly a study of the 1975 film combined with phone calls to Wojtowicz where he asks for money for further co-operation.
Instead he co-operated with Allison Berg & Frank Keraudren, local film makers who spent 10 years recording him and the other people in his story. It was released in 2013 as The Dog.

Wojtowicz died in 2006 of cancer, age 60. As he deteriorated, his brother Tony, despite his own disability, stepped up to become John’s carer. John was cremated and did not have the military funeral that he had hoped for.


  • Gordon Parks (dir).  Shaft. US 100 mins 1971.  GAA activists including John Wojtowicz can be seen protesting in the credits sequence.
  • Sidney Lumet (dir). Dog Day Afternoon. Scr: Frank Pierson, from the magazine article by P.F. Kluge & Thomas Moore, with Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik, John Cazale as Sal, and Chris Sarandon as Leon Shermer (roughly based on Liz Eden). US 124 mins 1975. Oscar for best screenplay; Sarandon was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Top grossing film of the year. The shooting script is online at: Archive.
  • Pierre Huyghe (dir). The Third Memory. With John Wojtowicz as himself. US 10 mins 2000. A short documentary re-enacting the “Dog Day Afternoon” bank holdup.
  • Walter Stokman (dir & scr). Based on a True Story. With John Wojtowicz and Sidney Lumet, with photos or clip quotes of Liz Eden, Al Pacino, John Cazale & Chris Sarandon. Netherlands 75 mins 2005.
  • Allison Berg & Frank Keraudren (dir). The Dog, with John Wojtowicz, Liz Eden, Carmen Bifulco, Randy Wicker. US 101 mins 2013.


  • Atthur Bell. “Mike Umbers: The Emperor of Christopher Street”. The Village Voice, July 22, 1971. Online.
  • “Here Comes the Bride”. Drag: the magazine about the Transvestite, 2, 6, 1971: 9-12. Online.
  • Paul Meskil. “An Insider Is Sought in Bank Holdup: FBI Agent Kills Bandit at JFK And 2d Thus is Nabbed”. Daily News Aug 24, 1972..
  • “A Mobster is Linked to Bizarre Holdup”. The New York Times, Aug 26, 1972. Online.
  • Arthur Bell. “Littlejohn & the mob: Saga of a Heist”. The Village Voice, August 31, 1972, XVII, 35. Online.
  • “News”. Drag: Now! America’s No 1 Magazine about the Transvestite, 2, 8, 1972: 4, 6. Online.
  • P.F. Kluge & Thomas Moore. "The Boys in the Bank". Life Sept 22, 1972, vol 73 (12). Online.
  • “News”. Drag: The International Transvestite Quarterly, 5,17, 1975: 9. Online.
  • “Gay Bank Robber’s Real Wife Sees Movie – and Red”. Drag: The International Transvestite Quarterly, 6,24, 1975: 3, Online.
  • John Wojtowicz. “Real Dog Day hero tells his story”. Unpublished article written from prison for the New York Times in 1975, later reprinted in Gay Sunshine: A Journal of Gay Liberation, No. 29/ 30, Summer/Fall, 1976, and then again in Jump Cut, no. 15, 1977, pp. 31-32. Online at:
  • Eric Holm. "Dog Day Afternoon, Dog day aftertaste". Jump Cut, 10-11. 1976:3-4. Online.
  • Fredric Jameson, “Class and Allegory in Contemporary Mass Culture: Dog Day Afternoon as a Political Film” College English 38, April 1977: 854.
  • “Elizabeth Eden, Transsexual Who Figured in 1975 Movie”. The New York Times, Oct 1, 1987. Online.
  • Holly Woodlawn with Jeff Copeland. A Low Life in High Heels: the Holly Woodlawn Story. Martin's Press,1991. Harper Perenniel Pb. 1992: 111-2.
  • Lisa Photos “The Dog and the Last Real Man: An Interview with John S Wojtowicz”. Journal of Bisexuality, 3,2, 2003: 43-68.
  • Jefferson Cowie.  Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class. The New Press, 2010: 200-5.
  • Michael Schiavi. Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo. University of Wisconsin Press, 2011: 85-6, 218.
  • Emily S Rueb. “A Wife Recalls Her Estranged Husband’s 1972 Failed Bank Robbery”. The New York Times, August 22, 2012. Archive.
  • John Strausbaugh. “Liz Eden’s White Wedding”. The Chiseler, 2012. Online.
  • Amelia Barikin. Parallel Presents The art of Pierre Hutghe. The MIT Press, 2012: 116-121, 138.
  • Sean Manning. “7 Fascinating Things You Didn't Know About the Real Dog Day Afternoon”. Esquire, Aug 8, 2014. Online.
  • Larry Getlin. “The bizarre true story that inspired ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ “. New York Post, August 3, 2014. Online.
  • Sam Roberts. “‘The Dog’ Who Had His Day on Film”. The New York Times, Aug 4, 2014. Online.
  • David Ehrenstein. “The wild Inside story of ‘The Dog’: How one failed bank robber shaped LGBT history”. Salon, Aug 6, 2014. Online.
  • Cynthia Fuchs. “'The Dog' from ' Dog Day Afternoon' Would Do It All Over Again, Hell Ya”. Pop Matters, 08 Aug 2014. Online.
  • J R Jones. “Revisiting the Brooklyn bank robbery that inspired Dog Day Afternoon: The Dog tells the sad story of a man trapped by his criminal past”. Chicago Reader, October 01, 2014. Online.
  • Gina Dimuro. “The Real Story Of John Wojtowicz And The Bank Robbery That Inspired ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ “., June 27, 2018. Online.
  • Emily S Rueb. “A Botched Robbery That Went Hollywood”. The New York Times, August 22, 2018. Online.
  • Phillip Crawford Jr. “Real Life Mafia Story Behind Dog Day Afternoon Movie”., April 2020. Online.

FindaGrave(Liz)   FindaGrave(John)    IMDB(John)     IMDB(Dog Day Afternoon
IMDB(The Dog)    EN.Wikipedia(Liz)     EN.Wikipedia(John)     EN.Wikipedia (Salvatore) EN.Wikipedia(Dog day Afternoon)    EN.Wikipedia(The Dog)     Military.Wikia(John)   NNDB(John)      New York Times Slide Show      Getty Stock Images


The FindaGrave site for John lists only his first spouse as such, although two others are mentioned in the text.

The Wikipedia page on Liz states that Liz had a second marriage, but does not give a source.

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