While there, he made his television début in Jack Hylton's Monday Show (1958), even fooling one of the guests, the television chef Fanny Cradock, into thinking he was a woman. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. Log in to update your newsletter preferences, Monday - Friday plus breaking news alerts by email.

In 1969, he was named the Variety Club of Great Britain's Showbusiness Personality of the Year. As a result, in 1954, he was booked to appear in cabaret at the fashionable Churchill’s nightclub in Bond Street, where he stayed for three years. Within a year, he left Huttons for the final time. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Among the stage characters he created were a geisha girl, a teenage rocker and a striptease artist. Create a commenting name to join the debate. In 2006, he suffered a mild stroke but returned to the stage within months. Among the stage characters he created were a geisha girl, a teenage rocker and a striptease artist.

He also performed with a concert party, making his début in a spoof of the play White Cargo, acting an African girl wearing a bed sheet as a sarong. Ladies of a certain age and upwards sported perms that had been coloured all shades of blue, violet, pink. He was 18 months old when his father died of tuberculosis, leaving his mother to bring up three daughters and two sons alone. Fanny always encouraged her viewers to think big, and to think glamorous, but she was mindful of limited time and limited budgets. One thing I’ve been wondering as I watch Fanny Cradock Cooks for Christmas is which came first: Fanny’s drag queen makeup, or drag queens’ Fanny makeup (as ’twere)? "You look wonderful in costume and you remind me of Paris, like the Follies," he told Carroll. Paul Raymond asked him to teach young women in his touring company how to walk correctly, Siobhan McKenna took members of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre company to him to learn timing, and Ralph Richardson sent his What the Butler Saw co-star Coral Browne along to learn how to stand. Offered a job at the general outfitters J.V. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. Fanny had …

Please UPDATE, 15/12/13: Fanny Cradock Cooks for Christmas is currently airing in the UK on the Food Network. Switching to Huttons’ London store, he was invited to join a drama group attached to the Young Women’s Christian Association, which was short of male performers.

real-world solutions, and more. La Rue was born Daniel Patrick Carroll in the Irish city of Cork in 1927, the son of an interior decorator and a former nurse. On being demobbed, Carroll returned to Huttons but continued performing on stage by joining the Exeter Dramatic Group, at the city’s Theatre Royal.

At the same time, La Rue's stage career expanded into the West End with the musical comedy Come Spy With Me (Whitehall Theatre, 1966-7), Queen Passionella and Sleeping Beauty (Saville Theatre, 1969), the long-running Danny La Rue at the Palace (watched by 1,200,000 people at the Palace Theatre, 1970-72), The Danny La Rue Show (Prince of Wales Theatre, 1973-75), The Exciting Adventures of Queen Daniella (London Casino, 1975-76, and Coventry Theatre, 1976-77), Aladdin (London Palladium, 1978-9) and a critically mauled, shortlived revival of Hello, Dolly!

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