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Divine Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 19 October 1945Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Date of Death 7 March 1988Los Angeles, California, USA  (respiratory failure caused by sleep apnea)
Birth NameHarris Glen Milstead
Nickname Divvie
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Originally born Harris Glen Milstead just after the end of WWII, Baltimore's most outrageous resident eventually became the international icon of bad taste cinema, as the always shocking and highly entertaining transvestite performer, Divine.

Milstead met maverick film director & good friend, John Waters, at high school in Baltimore, and the two combined to star in and direct several ultra low budget, taboo breaking cult films of the early 1970s. Their first efforts included Roman Candles (1966), Eat Your Makeup (1968) and Mondo Trasho (1969)....however, their most infamous work together was the amazing Pink Flamingos (1972), in which Divine starred as "Babs Johnson", the "filthiest person alive" living in a pink trailer with her egg-eating grandmother, chicken-loving son and voyeuristic daughter.

Divine also starred as career criminal Dawn Davenport in Female Trouble (1974), as bored housewife Francine Fishpaw in Polyester (1981), as outlaw gal Rosie Velez in Lust in the Dust (1985) and in Waters' loving (but still slightly bizarre) salute to teen dance TV shows as Ricki Lake's mother in the superb Hairspray (1988).

Milstead's health deteriorated due to to his obese frame, and he passed away in his sleep from a combination of heart attack and apnea in 1988.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com

Trivia (12)

Actor featured in comic transvestite roles.
Died in his sleep from a combination of his weight and a disorder called sleep apnea, a disorder in which the body "forgets" to breathe or is unable to breathe due to blockage or excessive pressure. A classic symptom of this disorder is a sudden cessation of snoring for several seconds, indicating the inability to breathe.
Was contracted to play a recurring role as the Uncle in Married with Children (1987), but died the day before the shooting of the episode (#2.22, "All in the Family"). James 'Gypsy' Haake was cast as 'Uncle Otto' in Divine's place, and the episode was dedicated to Divine's memory.
Buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Towson, Maryland.
Idolized Elizabeth Taylor as a teenager, and dressed up as her character "Gloria" from BUtterfield 8 (1960) for a Halloween party that he attended wearing a slip, fur coat, and stillettoes.
In Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), the character of "Ursula" (voiced by Pat Carroll) was based on her.
Had a successful singing career (dance/disco), touring the world's clubs, and released numerous albums.
John Waters wanted him to be in Desperate Living (1977), and had written the movie with him in mind, but he was unable to be in the movie as he was appearing in a play at the time.
Was one of the 250 male nominees of the AFI top 50 stars.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 247-248. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Plays both a woman and a man (as the racist head of the station that airs the Corny Collins show) in his last film Hairspray (1988).
When first creating his alter ego, Divine told make-up artist friend Van Smith that he wanted a look that was a cross between Jayne Mansfield and Clarabell the Clown from The Howdy Doody Show (1947).

Personal Quotes (7)

"All my life I wanted to look like Elizabeth Taylor. Now Elizabeth Taylor looks like me".
"He's one of my finest leading ladies" - Tab Hunter [who co-starred with Divine in Polyester (1981)].
People who used to make fun are now fans. I had the last laugh.
Of course the last thing my parents wanted was a son who wears a cocktail dress that glitters, but they've come around to it.
My favorite part of dressing in drag is getting out of it. Drag is my work clothes. I only put it on when someone pays me to.
I think I've always been respectable. What I do onstage is not what I do in my private life... It's an act... It's how I make my living. People laugh, and it's not hurting anyone.
"Divine" and "Glenn Milstead" are both just names. Glenn is the name I was brought up with, Divine is the name I've been using for the past 23 years. I guess it's always Glenn and it's always Divine. Do you mean the character Divine or the person Divine? You see, it gets very complicated. There's the Divine you're talking to now and there's the character Divine, which is just something I do to make a living. She doesn't really exist at all.

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