Danny La Rue
Beloved British drag performer Danny La Rue died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday at the age of 81. He had been grappling with cancer for several years.
La Rue, whose real name was Daniel Patrick Carrol, was born in Ireland. The 81 year old performer first donned heels and a wig at a naval party towards the end of World War II.
“When Danny was younger, you didn’t know if it was a beautiful girl or a very handsome man… but in those days you wouldn’t have thought a female impersonator could even be a really big name in show business, but he proved everybody wrong,” said close friend Bruce Forsyth.
La Rue gained immense popularity during the 1970s and 80s, making him the most famous and highest-paid female impersonator of the time. “We have lost a great performer and a real trouper. And he could hold audiences in the palm of his hand,” said Broadcaster Nicholas Parsons.
He was best known for his impersonations of female celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Margaret Thatcher. Even the Queen was a fan, and La Rue was the first female impersonator to appear at the Royal Variety performance in front of the Queen. He later received an OBE in 2002.
According to his spokesperson, “His beloved companion Annie Galbraith was with him at their home in Kent” when he passed.