Entertainer Paul O’Grady, who played drag queen Lily Savage before becoming a beloved comedian and presenter on British television, has died status fame. He was 67.
O’Grady’s partner, Andre Portasio, said he passed away “unexpectedly but peacefully” Tuesday night.
“He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all who enjoyed his humor, wit and compassion,” Portacio said in a statement.
Born in 67 Birkenhead, near Liverpool, O’Grady started Savage A care worker for the local authority at the time, he was a biting Liverpool drag queen.
Savage became a regular at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a landmark gay venue, as a stand-up comedy and talent show host. O’Grady used his platform to speak out for LGBT rights at the height of the AIDS crisis, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government was passing anti-gay laws.
Lily Savage was moved to enter the TV industry in the 1990 years, including hosting the talk show The Lily Savage Show .
Later as Paul O’Grady, he hosted talk shows and game shows including The Paul O’Grady Show , Blind Date ) and Blankety Blank, and long-running programs on BBC Radio.
As an animal lover, he also presents
For the Love of Dogs, an introduction to the work of animal rescue charities. Queen Camilla was a guest on last year’s show.
Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said O’Grady was “not only a brilliant comedian and radio personality, but also a — admirable LGBT+ equality and animal rights activist.”
“Paul is one of the cutest people you’ll ever meet,” Tuchel said. “He will be greatly missed by everyone he touched, as will those who loved his intelligence and admired his compassion.”
O’Grady is survived by Portasio, who married , and a daughter from a previous relationship.