Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Divine



Divine. The name says it all. One of my favorite actors/actresses in the entire world. Born Harris Glen Milstead in Baltimore Maryland, he grew up with childhood friend John Waters. The two became synonymous for quite some time, at least until Divine died from sleep apnea in 1989 (the result of years of excessive weight gain). John Waters and Divine created some of the best cult films ever made. Divine starred in all but one John Waters movie (Desperate Living, in which Divine was slated to be in but had to pull out due to his touring schedule) until his untimely death shortly after starring in John's biggest hit "Hairspray" (which spawned an actually pretty amusing musical on Broadway in which Harvey Fierstein very appropriately played Divine's role as Edna Turnblad). Divine remained with John Waters for 90% of his career making classics like "Pink Flamingos" and "Female Trouble", but in the late 70's/early 80's when he began to gain some actual fame, Divine began to spread his wings a little and starred in a few plays such "The Neon Woman" and also starred in other motion pictures like "Lust in the Dust" with Lainie Kazan and Tab Hunter. Divine also had a strenuous singing/touring career as a disco queen, and had some pretty big hit songs like "I'm So Beautiful" and "You Think You're a Man". She was no ordinary drag queen, Divine was a drag terrorist. She sent the best of them running (in six inch heels), screaming for their lives. Even though it was her trademark, it was also her downfall... excessive weight. Divine had been overweight for most of his life and began to have some difficulty breathing and soon developed sleep apnea. When Divine (who was well known for his punctuality) didn't show up for work one morning (when I say "work" I mean that Divine failed to show up for the first taping of the show "Married with Children" with him starring in it as a regular guest character), I think most everybody's heart began to sink. Divine was dead, but far from gone. Thankfully, his amazing talent was all caught on film and he left us with some of the most bizarre, hilarious, outrageousness ever seen. She was bold, she was beautiful, she was... Divine. As a humorous footnote to the story, when the "Married with Children" show sent flowers to Divine's funeral, the card read "If you didn't want the job, all you had to do was say so".