Danny La Rue’s life dragged onto the big screen

The life of the popular gay British drag act is to be dramatized in a new film

Danny La Rue’s life dragged onto the big screen
11 July 2012

The life of Britain’s late great drag star Danny La Rue will be adapted into a film, examining his rise to fame and ‘complex’ personal life.

The British Film Institute (BFI) has approved a screenplay written by Martyn Hesford, creator of the biopic of ‘Carry On’ film star Kenneth Williams, reported BBC News.

Danny La Rue was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1927 and died in Kent, England, in 2009, aged 81. He was most famous as a female impersonator, making camp imitations of celebrities like former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

His star spangled career included performances in London’s West End theaters and as a regular in many pantomime productions. He was the first drag act to perform for the Royal Family at the UK’s annual Royal Variety Performance.

‘Danny was a ground-breaking entertainer and a vital part of contemporary British popular history, which until now has been overlooked,’ said Joey Attawia, executive producer for Leopardrama Productions.

He added: ‘He had a huge cultural and social impact in making the unacceptable acceptable and blazed the trail for the likes of David Bowie and Boy George.

‘He is an important figure who broke the mould and we’re thrilled to have signed agreements with key intimates of Danny to bring this funny, moving and complex story to life.’

La Rue had a 40-year relationship with his manager Jack Hanson, until Hanson died in 1984. Unlike other gay performers of his time, La Rue was very open about his sexual orientation.

The film will dramatize the relationships La Rue held with Hanson and others like his lifelong companion Annie Galbraith, who was at his bedside when he died.

He was awarded an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) honor in 2002.

In 2010, some of La Rue’s frocks and pantomime costumes sold for £40,000 ($62,100, €50,600). Several of his costumes are permanently on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
 

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