DeLaria in 2013
May 23, 1958 |
Belleville, Illinois, U.S.
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. She is best known for her portrayal of inmate Big Boo on Netflix's Orange is the New Black prison drama.
DeLaria was born in Belleville, Illinois, the daughter of Jerry Jean (née Cox), a homemaker, and Robert George DeLaria, a jazz pianist and social worker. Her paternal grandparents were Italian. 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 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 continued to portray Delphina on a recurring basis until 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.
On February 14, 2015, DeLaria received the Equality Illinois Freedom Award for her work as "a cutting-edge performer who has used her talent to entertain and enlighten millions of Americans,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. On receiving the award at the 2015 Equality Illinois Gala in Chicago, DeLaria said, “As an out performer for over 33 years who has made it her life’s work to change peoples perception of butch, queer and LGBT, it is an honor for me to receive such recognition from my home state. I feel I’m doing Belleville proud. Go Maroons!”
- 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)
- 2015: House of David (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)
|1996||The First Wives Club||Elsie's fan||National Board of Review Award: Best Acting by an Ensemble|
|1997||Plump Fiction||Mr. Purple|
|1998||Edge of Seventeen||Angie|
|2006||Fat Rose and Squeaky||Fat Rose||Co-starring Cicely Tyson as 'Squeaky'|
|1993||Out There||Herself||TV film|
|1993||Camp Christmas||Herself||TV film|
|1993||In the Life||Herself/Guest host||1 episode|
|1994||Matlock||Det. Pat Jordan||2 episodes|
|1994–95||The John Larroquette Show||Lorelei||2 episodes|
|1995||Tom Clancy's Op Center||Capt. White||TV film|
|1995||Saved by the Bell: The New Class||Miss Hearst||1 episode|
|1995||Out There in Hollywood||Herself||Sequel to the 1993 TV movie Out There|
|1996||Friends||Woman||Episode: "The One with the Lesbian Wedding"|
|1997||The Drew Carey Show||Jewel||1 episode|
|1998||In Through The Out Door||Various characters (also writer)||TV film|
|1998||We're Funny That Way!||Herself||Documentary|
|1999||Great Performances||Herself/Performer||TV series|
|1999–2011||One Life to Live||Madame Delphina||31 episodes|
|2000||The Beat||Kathy||Unknown episodes|
|2001||Further Tails of the City||Willie Omiak||TV mini-series|
|2001||The Oblongs||Helga Phugly||7 episodes|
|2001||The Job||Kiki||1 episode|
|2002||Just for Laughs||Herself/Performer||TV Movie|
|2003||Will & Grace||Nurse Carver||1 episode|
|2003||The Award Show Awards Show||Herself||TV special|
|2004||Mercury in Retrograde||Betsy Brick||TV short|
|2009||Ptown Diaries||DeLaria||TV movie|
|2012||Californication||Debbie||Season 2 Episode 11|
|2013||Dear Dumb Diary||Ms. Bruntford||TV film|
|2013–present||Orange Is the New Black||Big Boo||36 episodes|
- "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.
- "Robert DeLaria Obituary - Belleville, IL - Belleville News-Democrat". Belleville News-Democrat. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
- 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.
- "EQIL Honors Lea DeLaria with Freedom Award « Equality Illinois". equalityillinois.us. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
- "BOOM". boom.lgbt. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
- "EQIL Honors Lea DeLaria with Freedom Award". chicagoactivism.org. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
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- Official website
- Lea DeLaria at the Internet Movie Database
- Lea DeLaria at the Internet Broadway Database
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