• Creator
    Topic
  • #613474
    Tara Ryan
    Participant
    Registered On: April 20, 2021
    Topics: 4
    Replies: 486
    Has thanked: 1555 times
    Been thanked: 1849 times

    As we are now moving onto Rupaul’s drag race 14, not forgetting UK drag race 3 and the Australian and Canadian versions, it has got me thinking about a couple of issues.

    Firstly, with such a successful franchise this should keep Rupaul in tights for a couple of months but also about the forerunners to todays drag queens, the female impersonators and female illusionists of the past.

    There are several of these entertainers from different countries.  In the U.K. the most well known being Danny La Rue, who actual didn’t like the phrase drag and said about the women he portrayed as being his ladies.  Also in the U.K. we had Stanley Baxter, Dick Emery and Hinge and Bracket.

    I have seen from the USA such excellent female impersonators as Jim Bailey, Charles Pierce, Michael Andrews and Frank Marino.  A particular favourite of mine was Grae Phillips, who had a remarkable female sounding singing voice and so dressed as a (very convincing) woman to get work.  See YouTube if you haven’t seen Grae perform.

    I am also aware of Alexandre Beaulieu (Ms. Mona Moore) from Canada and Georg Preuss from Germany.  Both excellent performers.

    This will not be an exclusive list so I wondered if any of you ladies had come across any other earlier examples of female impersonators in the media?

    Love,

    Tara x

    6 users thanked author for this post.
Viewing 5 reply threads
  • Author
    Replies
    • #645989
      Stephanie MacNeil
      Lady
      Registered On: January 31, 2022
      Topics: 2
      Replies: 95
      Has thanked: 234 times
      Been thanked: 466 times

      Hi Tara,

      Your mention of Grae Phillips really brought back a memory.  I remember seeing her on the Phil Donahue show in the early 90s and was stunned.  She was so beautiful in a red dress and perfect hair, makeup and nails.  Her story about not being able to get a singing gig until she started dressing as a woman was a crossdresser’s dream.  Watching her really made a lasting impression on me.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #646050
        Tara Ryan
        Lady
        Registered On: April 20, 2021
        Topics: 4
        Replies: 486
        Has thanked: 1555 times
        Been thanked: 1849 times

        Hi Stephanie,

        Grae was an influence to me, I remember her saying that she would do exercises designed for women in the gym so as to tone muscle rather than build it up.  Also some of her make up tutorials online were good as well.

        I only wish I had a voice like hers and could appear in some of those lovely outfits.

        Love,

        Tara x.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #645958
      Roberta Lane
      Lady
      Registered On: May 10, 2022
      Topics: 5
      Replies: 64
      Has thanked: 228 times
      Been thanked: 224 times

      Hi Tara you and I are probably around the same age.Danny !a Rue was the first bona ficd female impersonator I ever saw.Saw him for the first time on tv show on ITV (in the UK) in an episode of a documentary show.It was screened on a Sunday afternoon in the mid sixties.It strikes me as an odd timeslot for such a show with the benefit of hindsight.I remember viewing him with a mjxture of fascination/ envy and embarassment.Embarassment because I was watching it with my mum and dad.A couple of years later he was a regular fixture on tv variety shows.I once saw him on one show impersonating Shirley Basssy doing a parody of Big Spender wih the hook line Big Suspenders”. Roughly around the same peeiod I saw him played the lead role in a BBC tv adaptation of Charley’s Aunt.Prior to that the only men in the media I saw dressed az women were comedians like Benny Hill and a veteran comic called George Lacey playing dame in a panto with Mike And Bernie Winters.In the mid seventies as a teen I was fascinated and somewhat envious of seeing Jim Bailey in a variety show doing Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand.i am sure I heard him say in an interview that he started performing in dtag at the age of fourteen.But not entirely sure.His showbiz CV was not exlusively drag he was also an opera singer.I liked his guest appearance on Lucille Ball’s last major sitcom Here’s Lucy when he appeared in the guise of Phyllis Diller.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #646052
        Tara Ryan
        Lady
        Registered On: April 20, 2021
        Topics: 4
        Replies: 486
        Has thanked: 1555 times
        Been thanked: 1849 times

        Hi Roberta,

        Danny La Rue was slightly before my time but I remember reading about him in books and seeing clips on YouTube, including the film he made called Our Miss Fred.  His golden era would have been the 60’s and 70’s when cabaret shows were much bigger than they are today.

        Love,

        Tara x

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #614842
      Amy Catrelle
      Lady
      Registered On: January 2, 2022
      Topics: 10
      Replies: 174
      Has thanked: 488 times
      Been thanked: 821 times

      Hi Tara. There’s definitely a history of drag in British comedy, from music hall to every other Carry On film. Maybe it’s ‘the fashion that dare not speak it’s name’ except in fun. Brits are a bit like that.

      My personal fave is the late great Kenny Everett, he was always dressing up in his popular TV shows. Especially his character Cupid (I won’t write her full name as it might confuse the moderators!). It was, as you’ll know, “all done in the best possible taste!”

      (And that’s going to confuse everyone else in the US). Amy x

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #613490
      Raymond Swarmer
      Lady
      Registered On: August 22, 2020
      Topics: 2
      Replies: 15
      Has thanked: 0 times
      Been thanked: 94 times

      I recently saw a post of a newcomer to drag performers in the UK . The stage name is Cherry West, and the amazing thing is that she is only 14 years old! She was inspired by watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race while on vacation here in the US.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #613481
      Cerys Burton
      Lady
      Registered On: February 2, 2021
      Topics: 66
      Replies: 212
      Has thanked: 210 times
      Been thanked: 1681 times

      All (male) drag queens are female impersonators, but not all female impersonators are drag queens.
      Drag is an over the top art form. You can get female drag queens.
      Dick Emery etc were not drag, they were female impersonators. A good friend of mine is a popular Drag queen on the club and pub circuit. He is not a crossdresser. It’s his job. Very few drag queens are crossdressers in the way that we are. Very few dress as a woman when they are not performing.
      Most (not all) drag queens are gay. Why this is I don’t know. I have asked my friend, and he doesn’t know either…. It’s probably the fact that gay pubs and clubs have drag nights and this spreads the popularity amongst gay men.

      I dress in female clothing. I do not dress in drag…. Though sometimes, for fun, I do drag it up a little 😉

      Cerys.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #613479
      Jennifer Eccles
      Lady
      Registered On: November 8, 2021
      Topics: 0
      Replies: 23
      Has thanked: 195 times
      Been thanked: 124 times

      Glad to see Michael Andrews mentioned here.  Michael’s Ann-Margret was spot-on perfect and made a huge impression on me back in the day.

      Another performer who left us way too soon was Lori Shannon, who played Beverly LaSalle on All in the Family.  A great comedian.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #613496
        Tara Ryan
        Lady
        Registered On: April 20, 2021
        Topics: 4
        Replies: 486
        Has thanked: 1555 times
        Been thanked: 1849 times

        Hi Jennifer,

        Thank you for the name, it has reminded me that I missed Laverne Cummings, an excellent female impersonator.

        Love,

        Tara x

        2 users thanked author for this post.
Viewing 5 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Crossdresser Heaven.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

If you don't see the captcha above please disable ad and tracking blockers and reload the page.