Friday, March 13, 2009

Out in Film: Divine

Idol worship: Divine, actor/singer.

- Born Harris Glenn Milstead, the man best known as Divine would become a legendary icon for all things camp, queer and outrageous through his starring roles in the films of his lifelong friend John Waters.

- As part of Waters' regular troupe of actors known as Dreamlanders, he appeared in the short films Roman Candles, The Diane Linkletter Story and Eat Your Makeup (as Jacqueline Kennedy no less) and was Waters' muse for such early features as Mondo Trasho and Multiple Maniacs.

- The Dreamlanders found lasting cult status and made midnight movie history with Pink Flamingos (the trash classic that notoriously ended on an unedited shot of Divine's Babs Johnson snacking on some fresh doggie doo). Divine's other classic Waters characters include Dawn Davenport in Female Trouble, Francine Fishpaw in Polyester and Edna Turnblad in the original Hairspray.

- Outside of Dreamland, Divine starred in another camp classic, Lust in the Dust, as well as the Off-Broadway hit Women Behind Bars. He also had a successful recording career, which included such club dance classics as "You Think You're A Man", "I'm So Beautiful" and "Walk Like a Man".

- Following the mainstream success of Hairspray, Divine was to play Al Bundy's infamous mother-in-law on the sitcom Married ... with Children, but sadly passed away before filming began. However, the legacy of Divine has lived on in such documentaries as Divine Trash and The Cockettes, and even in such unlikely places as Disney's The Little Mermaid. Another documentary, I Am Divine, is currently in production.

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