Eve’s inheritance was her appetite, her curiosity and her zaftig beauty, like Brigitte Bardot with a shag haircut and hip huggers. She was a hedonist with a notebook.
Eve hung out at the Troubadour, the West Hollywood club that nurtured Jackson Browne, the band Buffalo Springfield, for whom she made album covers, and Steve Martin, whom she made over by showing him a book of Jacques Henri Lartigue’s photographs featuring crisply dressed men in white suits on the beach in France at the turn of the century.
In 1963, she wrote to Joseph Heller, the author of “Catch-22,” angling to find a publisher for a nascent novel that never materialized: “I am a stacked 18-year-old blonde on Sunset Boulevard. I am also a writer.” She was 20, but thought it was more alluring to present as a teenager.
That same year, she made a stir with “that photo,” taken by Julian Wasser, another chronicler of the Los Angeles counterculture. There was Eve, nude, playing chess with Marcel Duchamp, a black-and-white image that became so famous it showed up in a poster for the Museum of Modern Art. It began as a stunt to irritate a married lover, the curator Walter Hopps, a founder of the Ferus gallery, who took his wife instead of Eve to the Duchamp retrospective he had organized in Pasadena, Calif.
Mr. Wasser, for his part, said in a phone call this week that the composition was his idea. “I had always wanted to see Eve naked, and I knew it would blow Marcel’s mind,” he said.
Ms. Babitz’s paramours were legion — Harrison Ford, Stephen Stills, Jim Morrison, Annie Leibovitz and Mr. Martin, to name a few. “In every young man’s life there is an Eve Babitz,” Earl McGrath, the record executive, famously said. “It’s usually Eve Babitz.”