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Entertainer Danny La Rue

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Kit happily writes articles on almost any topic you could hope for. When he's not knee-deep in programming, he enjoys chilling with his cat

A Real Glamour Shot

A Real Glamour Shot

Cross Dressing

Danny La Rue History

If you're looking for an Irish woman impersonator, you've found the ideal diva. Danny La Rue was the greatest female impersonator of all time, performing for over 60 years. His talents made him the highest-paid performer on the British stage. He brought sophistication and spectacle to the world of female impersonators. Danny La Rue died peacefully in his sleep on May 31. He was 81 years old and had suffered from complications regarding colon cancer.

He made his name by performing in many stage shows and was later able to get his name household, and signature tune released as a single. The song, “On Mother Kelly's Doorstep” reached No. 33 on the charts. In the late 1960s, La Rue was named Variety Club of Great Britain Showbiz Personality of the Year. However, the success of his shows waned as his manager and former partner died.

Danny La Rue was originally born Daniel Patrick Carroll in Cork, Ireland. His father died when he was two, so his mother brought the family to London, where Danny La Rue got his start as an entertainer. At the age of seven, he became the youngest member of a Navy concert party, and eventually, he made his way into London's cabaret scene. In the 1960s, he rose to fame as one of the highest-paid entertainers in Britain. His career included playing before Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Performance.

Starting from the age of fourteen, Danny La Rue joined the Royal Navy. He served in the Far East as Tondelayo, a was given the opportunity to perform as a native girl in the film "White Cargo". After leaving the military, he continued his career as a drag performer in West End nightclubs. Danny La Rue's stage name, Danny, originated in 1954 when he stepped out of the chorus and stepped into the limelight. He began booking extended gigs in Soho nightclubs and gaining popularity. Danny La Rue spent more than 60 years entertaining people from around the globe. His drag persona earned him international fame.

He was a risque performer

He was best known for his performances on the cabaret circuit, but his more risque persona earned him many risque nicknames. "Danny La Blue," he was fondly known, was a reference to his reckless off-stage behavior. One incident involved the performer performing in a London club and a Coventry pantomime at the same time. He was asked by the Duke of Edinburgh, does he enjoy performing for the money? and he answered, that it seemed to be all the fashion. Meaning almost everyone was doing it. Something that would be out of place for anyone but him to say.

In his early career, Danny La Rue flouted the showbiz rule against female impersonators. He appeared on stage in sequinned dresses and a gruff voice, saying, "Wotcher, mates!" and had continued to use the trademark phrase up until his death. He was also over six feet tall. Despite his risque persona, Danny La Rue was a successful drag queen comedian and also performed before the Queen and other Royals at the Royal Variety Performance.

His fans included the blue-rinsed ladies of a specific golden age, and they wrote letters to him congratulating him on his success. In 1976, he received awards for his work as a theatre and showbiz personality. In 1979, he won the Entertainer of the Decade award, a prestigious accolade only given to performers who make a lasting impression on audiences. There are many drag queens on TV now, but Danny was Ireland's answer to Rue Paul at the time.

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Danny La Rue in Mr Bean

Danny La Rue in Mr Bean

Avoiding sleazy or offensive words

One of the first men to have a successful career dressing as a woman, Entertainer Danny La Rue was famous for his versatility and the fact that he never said any sleazy or offensive words. Born in Devon, Danny was the youngest out of five children, which at the time wasn’t an uncommon family size. His family's home was bombed during World War II. He grew up in a village and became interested in theatre. He began performing in village hall plays and frequently played female roles. This really contributed to his confidence about performing without the use of any bad language, which many of his peers used frequently for shock value.

In the 1960s, La Rue became one of the highest-paid and recognized entertainers in Britain, with his own cabaret club in the West End. His cabaret act even won Princess Margaret's approval, earning him the nickname 'Danny La Rude.' As one of the first drag performers to appear in the Royal Variety Show, he also made drag an acceptable part of British culture outside of pantomime season.

Life in Soho

In his early years, Danny La Rue enjoyed a life of freedom and cosmopolitan culture in Soho, London. He attended local St Patrick's School and was often cast as a girl in school plays. Not because there was something wrong with him, he just played the part so well, even he recognised a talent. In addition to this, he served as an altar boy at the Roman Catholic church in Soho Square. His strong catholic faith continued even after he left school. He enjoyed the rituals and customs associated with his strong beliefs and faith.

During the Second World War, he performed as a member of Lord Mountbatten's invasion task force in Singapore, a place where he was not only an entertainer but also an Irish citizen able to explore the new surroundings. In his later years, he moved from amateur revues to London cabarets.

After a decade in London, he began touring, taking his show out of town to northern clubs and to Australia. His partner at the time was Jack Hanson, who died in 1984. La Rue went on to appear in several television shows, including Twiggs and Decidedly Dusty. He also starred in BBC Play of the Month. He also appeared in an episode of the Mr. Bean show, "Room 426".

West End Performances

He was soon seen on stage in variety and repertory productions, and he soon found himself starring on Broadway. However, after a disastrous show at the Chatham Empire, La Rue sought solace in his religious faith. He remained secretive about his personal life. His autobiography revealed little about his sexuality, though he claimed to find sexual promiscuity 'frightening'. His lover died of AIDS, and he raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for AIDS charities that were a symbol of his strength. His dedication to charity work also led him to regularly visit hospitals and visit patients with AIDS. He still remained a stay fast of British panto though, especially Cinderella.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Kit

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