Danny La Rue’s costumes to be showcased in Eastbourne

The late Danny La Rue, who died in 2009
The late Danny La Rue, who died in 2009

There will be a rare opportunity to see some of the spectacular costumes worn by entertainer Danny La Rue at a special three day exhibition in Eastbourne next month.

The expo is in the Sovereign Suite of the Langham Hotel, Royal Parade, on July 8, 9 and 10, from 10am-4pm each day.

The exhibition is being mounted by Annie Galbraith, who designed and made Danny’s gowns for 30 years, and will include some his stage wigs, many photographs of him in costume, and memorabilia such as his red This Is Your Life book and his OBE.

Admission is by charitable donation to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Danny La Rue was one of the UK’s most popular and successful entertainers, earning over £20,000 a week in the 1970s.

Known for his fabulous costumes, many of which cost several thousand pounds each to create, Danny impersonated numerous glamorous ladies from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Joan Collins and had hit West End shows such as Danny La Rue at the Palace which ran for more than two years.

He appeared regularly on television, starred in his own film Our Miss Fred, and performed all over the world to great acclaim.

Annie Galbraith began making Danny La Rue’s costumes in 1979, having previously created more than 50 dresses for Shirley Bassey and many television performers, and worked with him for the rest of his life.

Danny La Rue went to live with Annie at her home in Tunbridge Wells and died there of cancer at the age of 81 in 2009.

The BBC recently announced that a dramatised version of Danny’s life is soon to be filmed.

The BFI-funded screenplay has been written by Martyn Hesford, who created the BBC Four biopic Fantabulosa, about Carry On actor Kenneth Williams.

Danny La Rue was an Irish-born British entertainer known for his singing and cross-dressing performances.

Born as Daniel Patrick Carroll in Cork City in 1927, La Rue was the youngest in his family.

The family moved to England when he was six and he was brought up at Earnshaw Street in Soho, central London.

When the family home was destroyed during the Blitz, his mother, a seamstress, moved her children to Kennford, a Devon village where young Daniel developed an interest in dramatics.

He served in the Royal Navy as a young man following his father’s footsteps, and even had a brief career delivering groceries, but he became known for his skill as a female impersonator (or “comic in a frock” as he preferred to be called) in the United Kingdom and was featured in theatre productions, and in film, television and records.

In the 1960s he was among Britain’s highest-paid entertainers and described as “the grande dame of drag”

Until his death still a regular performer in traditional Christmas pantomime shows in Britain.