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The Real-Life Stories Told in ‘Walk on the Wild Side’

Snagged from among the thousands of condolences, recollections, posthumous mash notes and encomiums launched into the Twitter slipstream last week was a message from the actress Virginia Madsen to her 74,656 followers. Lou Reed was a “cool cat,” the award-winning indie star observed. What is more, Ms. Madsen wrote, the singer’s biggest hit and most famous lyric, “Walk on the Wild Side,” once served as “encouraging words for a young Virginia.”

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