She was most famous for shooting Andy Warhol's Marilyns, literally. In the forehead. With a pistol. After which, she was instructed not to return to the Factory. It's worth noting that the "shot" Marilyns are vauled higher than their unshot counterparts.
From the NY Times obituary:
Certainly the most outrageous [of her exploits] was her unsolicited contribution to a few of Warhol’s “Marilyn” silk-screen paintings. In the fall of 1964 Ms. Podber, a friend of the photographer and Warhol regular Billy Name, visited Warhol’s Factory on East 47th Street in Manhattan with her Great Dane (named Carmen Miranda or Yvonne De Carlo, depending on the account). Ms. Podber asked Warhol if she could shoot a stack of the “Marilyn” paintings; he apparently thought that she wanted to take pictures of them and consented.
But she produced a pistol and fired at them, penetrating three or four. One of them, “Shot Red Marilyn,” with a repaired bullet hole over the left eyebrow, sold for $4 million in 1989, at the time setting a record at auction for a Warhol work.
“After she left,” Mr. Name told Ms. Bergmann, “Andy came over to me and said: ‘Please make sure Dorothy doesn’t come over here anymore. She’s too scary.’ ”
Ms. Podber told Ms. Bergmann that when money was low, as it often was, she generally found unorthodox ways to make it. She once ran a service that dispatched maids to doctors’ offices, primarily as a way to get the keys to the doctors’ drug cabinets. “I never worked much,” she said.From Joy Bergmann's article, at Sapid and Rapid:
During Dorothy and Ray [Johnson]’s ‘dead animal’ phase, they gave Heide a gift: a clock with no hands. “When you opened the face of the clock, out dropped a rat, spray-painted gold.”
Isabelle Fisher remembers Podber being held at the Women’s House of Detention on Sixth Avenue for running an illegal abortion referral service; according to Podber, an abortion was also performed in her apartment...
Another time Johnson invited a collector up to his Norfolk Street apartment for a viewing. Upon arrival, the space was completely bare, save for an armoire in the corner. Johnson reportedly said, “This is my work,” opened the cabinet and Podber jumped out, laughing weirdly.Madness embodied. Is it any wonder? She was known for the generously sized bowl of crystal meth she kept on her coffee table.
Best friends with Ray Johnson (see here).
Oh, and she kept a pet marguey.—you know, a type of ocelot.