Popular British Entertainer Danny La Rue Dies, Age 81

Obituaries   Popular British Entertainer Danny La Rue Dies, Age 81 Popular British drag cabaret entertainer Danny la Rue died May 31 at his home in Kent, aged 81.

A spokeswoman said Mr. la Rue died after suffering from prostate cancer. In a statement, she said, "Danny died peacefully in his sleep just before midnight last night after a short illness." Best known for his celebrity impressions that included Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Marlene Dietrich, Shirley Bassey and Margaret Thatcher, he once said, "I work in drag, but I don't want to be a drag queen. I'm a variety performer and I never want people to forget that I'm a bloke in a frock."

Amongst his West End roles, he once played Dolly Levi in a revival of Hello, Dolly! that came to the Prince Edward Theatre in January 1984 – the first time that the role had been played by a man.

Other West End appearances include making his debut there in the musical Come Spy with Me at the Whitehall, his solo runs At the Palace, and annual pantomime runs in the West End and around the U.K. He appeared in a number of Royal Variety Performances, in 1969, 1972 and 1978.

Mr. la Rue also appeared internationally in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Middle East and Australia. He was made an OBE in the 2002 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

In early 2006 Mr. la Rue suffered a mild stroke. He was last seen onstage in a biographical show, Hello Dolly that he performed at the Benidrom Palace in Spain in 2007. He was last seen on the London stage when he brought An Audience with Danny La Rue to the fringe Pleasance Theatre in 2001.