Danny La Rue dies aged 81
Monday 01 June 2009
Entertainer Danny La Rue has died after a short illness, his spokeswoman said today. He was 81.
The legendary female impersonator had been suffering from cancer.
His spokeswoman said: "Danny died peacefully in his sleep just before midnight last night after a short illness.
"His beloved companion Annie Galbraith was with him at their home in Kent."
La Rue enjoyed a glittering career for some 60 years and was once described by Noel Coward as: "The most professional, the most witty... and the most utterly charming man in the business."
Bob Hope is also said to have called him: "The most glamorous woman in the world."
La Rue was born Daniel Patrick Carroll in Cork, Ireland, the youngest in a family of five.
Aged nine, he was brought to England where the family settled initially in London.
He was evacuated to Devon during the Blitz and worked in a store in Exeter after leaving school aged 15.
The star worked in cabaret alongside Barbara Windsor when first starting out.
He opened his own nightclub in Hanover Square in 1964, attracting well over 13,000 members.
On the West End stage he triumphed in seven major shows including Come Spy With Me at the Whitehall Theatre, The Danny La Rue Show at the Prince of Wales theatre, and Aladdin at the London Palladium.
He has undertaken 53 pantomimes at major venues all over the country.
His national tour with his Danny La Rue Show was a box office success and he was a particular hit in Australia, where he would spend half his working year entertaining in television as well as theatre and cabaret seasons.
La Rue was awarded an OBE in recognition of his work for charity and theatre.
In early 2006 he suffered a mild stroke and planned UK performances were cancelled.
He recently appeared in Hello Danny - a biographical show performed at Benidorm Palace, Spain, in 2007.
Brian Shaw, who worked as La Rue's agent for more than 25 years, described him as "a true showbusiness legend".
He said: "He was a man of real class and real style. It's just a very sad day.
"He was an absolutely sensational guy. He did over 1,000 live theatre shows in the UK for me."
Mr Shaw said that news of La Rue's death came as an "enormous shock".
The agent, who represented La Rue from the 1970s to the 1990s, said: "I think he knew absolutely everyone.
"Everyone certainly knew who Danny La Rue was."
Mr Shaw said La Rue was a one-off, and continued: "He had no one before him and there was no one since."
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