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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 25 December 1908Carshalton, Surrey, England, UK
Date of Death 21 November 1999Manchester, England, UK  (natural causes)
Birth NameDenis Charles Pratt

Mini Bio (1)

Quentin Crisp was born Denis Pratt on Christmas Day, 1908, in the London suburb of Sutton. He the youngest of four children; his father was lawyer, mother former nursery governess. In his autobiographical work, "The Naked Civil Servant", he describes a difficult childhood in a rigorously homophobic society. In his early twenties he decided to devote his life to "making the existence of homosexuality abundantly clear to the world's aborigines". He cross-dressed and acted intensely effeminate in public, often at great risk to himself. In London he worked as a prostitute, book illustrator and finally - the source of the title of his autobiography - as a paid nude model as government-supported art schools. A dramatization of The Naked Civil Servant (1975), starring John Hurt, was shown on American television to critical praise in 1976. Crisp moved to New York the following year, a move he described as his proudest achievement. He first presented "An Evening with Quentin Crisp" in 1978; it received very favorable reviews (Richard Eder, NY Times) and a special Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. He defined a style with his flashy scarves, purple eye shadow, and white hair swept up under a black fedora. He died in Manchester, England, aged 90, on the eve of opening another run of "Evening"s. When, in preparation for his move to America, he was asked at the US Embassy if he were a practicing homosexual, he replied, "I didn't practice. I was already perfect".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Trivia (6)

A distant relation of Boris Karloff (born William Henry Pratt).
Crisp was the role model (and appears in the music video) for Sting's 1988 single "Englishman in New York", which includes the lyric "be yourself no matter what they say". Sting described Crisp in an interview as "one of the most courageous men I've ever met". He and Sting worked together in The Bride (1985). John Hurt portrays Crisp in An Englishman in New York (2009), a biographical movie about his life.
Was portrayed to great acclaim by Leon Acord in the 2002 San Francisco stage comedy "Carved in Stone," written by Jeffrey Hartgraves, performed at the Eureka Theatre.
After his death in the Manchester, England suburb Chorlton-cum-Hardy, he was cremated and his ashes were flown back to the United States and scattered over New York City.
Thomas Massengale, director of the indie production Topsy and Bunker: The Cat Killers (1992), said that Crisp - who played the doorman at a fleabag hotel in a rundown New York City neighborhood quite like his own Bowery neighborhood - was delightful to work with.
He was chosen by Channel Four to deliver the first "Alternative Christmas Speech", a counterpoint to the Queen's Christmas speech, in 1993. The Alternative Christmas Speech has been delivered every year since, by among others, cartoon character Marge Simpson.

Personal Quotes (13)

There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.
An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last chapter missing.
Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically - for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist - but then what isn't?
Never keep up with the Joneses; drag them down to your level. It's cheaper.
[when asked if he had any speaking engagements planned for his 100th birthday] "I should hope I'll be dead by then."
John Hurt is my representative here on Earth.
If I have any ambition, other than to be a chronic invalid, is to meet everybody in the world before I die. And I'm not doing badly.
[on "Swann in Love"] Mr. Proust was a wierdo who, although Jewish, was determined to slither like a snake through French society, and who, though (suffering) from nervous disorders, insisted on drinking coffee.
Life is a disease for which movies are a cure.
I'm not a drop out, I was never in.
The people that look funny get stuck with the Arts, and that happened to me.
If you're on a tightrope when you first set off you don't know how much play there is in the rope, but when you get into the middle between the ages of 20 and 40 the thing rocks like mad and it's too late to go back even to look back. But if you go on as carefully as you can, you see the other platform and then you just make a dash for it not bothering with what the audience thinks, or waving your arms or looking dangerous, and difficult and prodigious. What you grab hold of when you get to the other side in fact the edge of your coffin. And you get into it and you lie down and you think, 'my cuffs are frayed', 'I haven't written to my mother'. And then you think 'its doesn't matter because I'm dead'. And this is a message of hope. It will come to an end. It will come, we cannot be blamed for it and we shall be free.
Beauty is not a woman, it's a man's idea of a woman.

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