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Lea Delaria

Lea Delaria

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: May 23, 1958 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Belleville, Illinois, USA Profession: comedian, singer, actor, director, writer, playwright, construction worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A sparkplug comic performer, Lea DeLaria broke taboos and new ground in her now famous 1993 appearance on Arsenio Hall's talk show when she paraded around screaming "I'm a big bull dyke!" Not that anyone would confuse her with a demure young thing, but her declaration as an "out" performer came years before Ellen DeGeneres' and at a time when gays and lesbians were still virtually invisible on the small screen. Since then, DeLaria has tackled stage and screen and displayed her prodigious musical talents in nightclubs and on Broadway.

A sparkplug comic performer, Lea DeLaria broke taboos and new ground in her now famous 1993 appearance on Arsenio Hall's talk show when she paraded around screaming "I'm a big bull dyke!" Not that anyone would confuse her with a demure young thing, but her declaration as an "out" performer came years before Ellen DeGeneres' and at a time when gays and lesbians were still virtually invisible on the small screen. Since then, DeLaria has tackled stage and screen and displayed her prodigious musical talents in nightclubs and on Broadway.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Ass Backwards (2013)
2.
3.
4.
 Plump Fiction (1998) Mr Purple
5.
 Edge of Seventeen (1998) Angie
6.
 Homo Heights (1997) Clementine
7.
 First Wives Club, The (1996) Elise'S Fan
8.
 Rescuing Desire (1996) Sadie
9.
 Camp Christmas (1993) Herself
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Belleville, Illinois
1974:
Began professional career at age 16 as a jazz singer (date approximate)
1982:
Moved to San Francisco
1982:
Made debut as a stand-up comic, billed as 'The Fucking Dyke'
:
Appeared frequently in comedy clubs around the USA
1993:
Appeared on the Arsenio Hall show and announced "I'm a big dyke!"
1993:
Debut comedy and music act in L.A. at Highways Performance Space
1993:
Performed at the March on Washington
1994:
Had recurring role as a detective in episodes of "Matlock" (ABC)
1995:
Acted in "Op Center"
1996:
Had cameo in "The First Wives Club"; played lesbian who makes a pass at Goldie Hawn's character
1996:
Portrayed a pool hall denizen in "Rescuing Desire"
1997:
Breakthrough stage role, played Hildy the cab driver in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of "On the Town"; show remounted in 1998 with new choreography but failed to win an audience
1998:
Cast as Marryin' Sam in the concert staging of "Li'l Abner"
1998:
Portrayed a lesbian cab driver in "Homo Heights", starring Quentin Crisp
1998:
Acted in Paul Rudnick's Off-Broadway play "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told"
1999:
Had featured role as a mentor to a young man struggling with his sexual orientation in "Edge of Seventeen"
:
Toured as Mama Morton in "Chicago"
1999:
Debuted club act "It's Delightful, It's Delicious, It's DeLaria" at Joe's Pub in NYC
1999:
Had recurring role of a psychic named Delphina on the ABC daytime drama "One Live to Live"
1999:
Played Audrey in "As You Like It" at Williamstown Theatre Festival; production starred Gwyneth Paltrow
2000:
Had recurring role as a police precinct receptionist in "The Beat", a short-lived police drama aired on UPN
2000:
Cast as Eddie/Dr Scott in the Broadway revival of "The Rocky Horror Show"
2001:
Played small role in "Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of the City" (Showtime)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

" ... in a nutshell, femme dykes pass and butch dykes don't. Even femme dykes have sort of a goddess worship that sort of surround them that comes from society, with this 'lesbian chic' kind of thing. And butch dykes don't.

"We're that dirty little secret you want to sweep under the carpet, like drag queens or nellie fags, so we get negative stuff from society and our own people," she says. "I've had people say to me -- I won't say who their names are, but they are famous people -- they have said, 'You're perpetuating a stereotype about lesbians as being truck drivers and masculine.' But, you know, we are. What's wrong with being truck drivers and masculine? I just am, I'm a butch dyke and that's the way it is." --Lea DeLaria quoted in Oasis, April 1997.

"... on stage, in trying to make points about things, the reason why I have a foul mouth is that women aren't allowed to have a foul mouth. Women aren't supposed to have a foul mouth. They're not supposed to spit and holler.

"So, when I get on-stage and do that, I'm challenging the norm of what women are allowed to be. And, it gets harsh for some people who don't get it," she says. "People are used to gay comics talking about their sexuality, but not used to them talking about sex. And that's a big difference, and women aren't supposed to talk about sex." --DeLaria to Jeff Walsh in Oasis, April 1997.

"Nobody knew I could sing like that until I did "On the Town". It really blew people away. Of course, my family came to "On the Town", and to them it was nothing. My sister said, 'I don't know what all the hype is about, Lea. I've seen you do this your whole life.' I was like, 'Well you haven't seen me quite do it on Broadway yet, have you?'" --DeLaria to Playbill online, July 29, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Jennifer Foley. Model. Met in 1996.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Robert DeLaria. Jazz pianist.

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