Paul O’Grady’s Lily Savage Character Is Described As Trailblazing By Drag Community
Flood of tributes from celebrities
Paul O’Grady’s death has prompted a flood of tributes from celebrities across the entertainment industry and even the Royal Family.
Lily Savage inspiration for many drag artists
And the legacy of his witty blonde alter ego Lily Savage has been described by the drag community as trailblazing and life-changing. The character, inspired by tough but colourful women in his family, had fans spanning generations – with many saying her rise to fame led the way for thousands of future drag artists.
British drag culture was born because of Lily Savage
Copper Topp, a contestant on the latest series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, says waking up to the news they “had such a heavy heart”. They said, “It was through Paul O’Grady and Lily Savage that British drag culture was born,” she said. “They’ve paved the way for legions of drag artists and I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Paul’s quick wit and dry sense of humour changed the game for drag artists
The performer, who uses she/her pronouns when in drag, said O’Grady’s “quick wit and dry sense of humour” as Lily on mainstream television “changed the game” for drag artists. “Paul and Lily have been a voice for a queer generation,” they said, adding: “She walked so we could run.”
O’Grady took drag to mainstream TV
Danny Beard, who won RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 4, says they remember watching O’Grady as a child. “He took drag to the mainstream and really set the way for people like me to be able to do our jobs.”
Lily Savage “demystified drag”
Gareth Joyner, who works as Myra DuBois, says having Lily Savage on mainstream media “demystified drag for a lot of people”. She [Lily] “created visibility for drag artists”, he said, adding: “It gave queer people and drag performers the confidence that it might be possible.”
Tributes on social media
There have been even more tributes on social media.