In this week’s column, I give you some exclusive tidbits from Jeffrey Schwarz‘s upcoming doc about the late, great drag comic Divine.
Well, Divine wasn’t exactly about understatement, so here’s some more!
Director JOHN WATERS:
“Before he was Divine, he was a normal drag queen for about five minutes. He dressed as Elizabeth Taylor. Idolized Elizabeth Taylor. And went out on dates with his girlfriend named Diane dressed as Elizabeth Taylor. Which is really odd when she lived with her parents. ‘Diane, your date’s here!’ and it’s Glenn Milstead dressed as Elizabeth Taylor.”
Divine’s mother, FRANCES MILSTEAD:
“When he got to high school, I took him to a diet doctor. The doctor gave him pills. But soon as we come out of the doctor’s office, he said, ‘Come on mom. Let’s go get a pizza.'”
Polyester co-star TAB HUNTER:
When they met: “He came on over and we had a quick little bite to eat. And was like a big beached whale. He was wonderful and he was on his best behavior. He was really cute, really terrific. Very vulnerable.”
“Behind the scenes, I found him to be quiet. He was in a big muumuu and he’d sit around. He was very serious. He did have a sense of humor that was quite wonderful. He’d say outlandish things.”
Drag star HOLLY WOODLAWN:
“That summer was the best summer in the world because the two of us ruled Provincetown. We did Neon Woman every night. … Everyone thought that Holly Woodlawn and Divine — they’re supposed to hate each other. And we didn’t. We loved each other. We lived together. So when we went out to Commercial Street: ‘OK, Divie, you take the right side and I’ll take the left. And when we come up to each other, we’ll look at each other and [snarl].’ And that would make everybody happy.”
“He never wanted to be a woman. Are you kidding? No, no. He just wanted to be a movie star. There’s a difference.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 18, 2011