May 23, 1958 |
Lea DeLaria (born May 23, 1958) is an American comedian, actress, and jazz musician. The "famously controversial" DeLaria was "the first openly gay comic to break the late-night talk-show barrier" with her 1993 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show.
DeLaria has performed stand-up comedy for over 25 years and is a prominent figure in the world of LGBT comedy. She began her career billing herself as "That Fucking Dyke"; she states "I called myself that because I would walk down the street and people would yell (it) at me. But after two years of performing I would walk down the street and people would yell (it) at me and I wouldn't know if they were a fan or not!"
The Italian American DeLaria was born in Belleville, Illinois, the daughter of Jerry, a homemaker, and Robert DeLaria, a jazz pianist and social worker. She attended kindergarten through 8th grade at St Mary's Elementary School in Belleville, and has referenced her Catholic upbringing in her performances.
Of her watershed 1993 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, as the first openly gay comic to appear on a late-night talk-show, DeLaria said "It's the 1990s ... It's hip to be queer, and I'm a bi-i-i-i-ig dyke!" In December 1993 she hosted Comedy Central's Out There, the first all-gay stand-up comedy special.
DeLaria is also known for her touring "musical comedy about perverts," Dos Lesbos (1987–1989) as well as Girl Friday, a comedy she conceived, wrote, directed and starred in, and which won the 1989 Golden Gull for Best Comedy Group in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
DeLaria has released two CD recordings of her comedy, Bulldyke in a China Shop (1994) and Box Lunch (1997). She has also written a humorous book entitled Lea's Book of Rules for the World.
DeLaria appeared as Jane in the 1998 Off Broadway production of Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, a "a gay retelling of the Bible." Entertainment Weekly said "a star is born with Lea DeLaria" of her "showstopping" performance as Hildy Esterhazy in the 1998 Broadway revival of On the Town. DeLaria subsequently played Eddie and Dr. Scott in the 2000 Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show, and can be heard on the cast recording.
DeLaria integrates musical performance into her stand-up comedy, focusing on traditional and modern be-bop jazz. She has even said at her shows "It is my personal goal to bring be-bop jazz back into the gay and lesbian community." In 2001 she released a CD of jazz standards called Play It Cool. This was followed by the album Double Standards in 2003, and by The Very Best of Lea DeLaria in 2008.
In 2001, DeLaria was the voice of Helga Phugly on the short-lived, animated sitcom, The Oblongs. In 1999 DeLaria played the recurring role of Madame Delphina on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, returning in 2008 as both Delphina and Professor Delbert Fina. She continues to portray Delphina on a recurring basis as of 2011.
In 2008, Warner Records released The Live Smoke Sessions, DeLaria's first recording focused on "timeless pop standards" such as "Down With Love," "Night and Day," "Love Me or Leave Me" and "Come Rain or Come Shine." She noted, "I styled this CD on the old school live recordings ... It is my hope that this CD will take you back to 1948 and the Village Vanguard. So please let me invite you to mix a cocktail and enjoy a smoke while you sit back and soak up the swing."
In November 2008, DeLaria completed a tour of Australia, playing Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. She also frequently collaborates with comedian Maggie Cassella, most notably on an annual Christmas cabaret show in Toronto, Ontario which also sometimes tours to several other Canadian and US cities.
In July 2010, DeLaria's version of "All That Jazz" was used on So You Think You Can Dance. DeLaria is currently performing in Prometheus Bound at The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 2013, she appeared in the Netflix Original Orange Is the New Black as the recurring character prison inmate Carrie 'Big Boo' Black.
- 1994: Bulldyke in a Chinashop
- 1997: Box Lunch (Rising Star)
- 2001: Play It Cool (Warner/WEA)
- 2005: Double Standards (Telarc)
- 2006: The Very Best of Lea DeLaria (Rhino/WEA UK)
- 2008: Lea DeLaria – The Live Smoke Sessions (Ghostlight Records)
- 2005: Din and Tonic – Janette Mason (Fireball Records)
- 2006: Drawn to All Things – Ian Shaw Sings the Songs of Joni Mitchell – Ian Shaw (Linn Records)
- 2009: Alien Left Hand – Janette Mason (Fireball Records)
Broadway and film
- 1998: On the Town- Broadway Revival Cast- "Hildy Esterhazy"
- 1999: Edge of Seventeen – Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack – Blue Skies (Razor and Tie)
- 2001: The Rocky Horror Show – 2000 Broadway Revival Cast (RCA Victor Broadway)
- 2005: Hair – Actors’ Fund of America Benefit Recording (Ghostlight)
- In Through the Out Door (1998) (TV)
- "Lea DeLaria". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- "Lea DeLaria Biography". Film Reference. Advameg. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- ""You & A Guest" Interview: Lea DeLaria". Breakupgirl.net. July 15, 1999. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Cagle, Jess (December 10, 1993). "Trend: Gay stand-up comedians". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Post, Laura. "Lea DeLaria". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Cagle, Jess (April 23, 1999). "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Canby, Vincent (November 29, 1998). "THEATER; An Exhilarating 'On the Town' Spreads Some Joy". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Cagle, Jess (December 4, 1998). "Little Me". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Wontorek, Paul (June 4, 1999). "Handicapping the 1999 Tony Awards". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- "Lea DeLaria". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Reynolds, Nick (November 3, 2003). "Lea DeLaria Double Standards Review". BBC. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- "Double Standards". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- Murray, Jesse (July 1, 2008). "Madame Delphina Sees All". SOAPnet. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
- "Lea Delaria: Live Smoke Sessions To Be Released 9/9". BroadwayWorld.com. September 9, 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
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- Official website
- Lea DeLaria at the Internet Movie Database
- Lea DeLaria at the Internet Broadway Database
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- Lea DeLaria at Queer Theory