Widely loved TV presenter and comedian Paul O’Grady broke the stereotypical notions with his drag act persona Lily Savage in the more rigid society of the 1990s. Andre Portasio, his husband, confirmed the news by sharing he may have died unexpectedly but the demise was peaceful.
In a statement, Portasio said, “We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.” Adding more he said, “He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals, and all those who enjoyed his humor, wit, and compassion.”
“I know that he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.” He made sure to add this line to keep the memory of his beloved husband alive in the mind of his audience. A few days before his demise he had finished a stint playing Miss Hannigan in the Musical Annie. He was ready to resume his role in performances around the UK and Ireland in the latter part of this year.
Every social media was flooded with sad denotes from his fans and audience. TV presenter Lorraine Kelly wrote on Twitter after hearing the news, “such sad news, Paul O’Grady – funny, fearless, brave, kind and wise … I always think dogs are the best judge of character and they ADORED him.” Peter Tatchell, the LGBTQ+ rights campaigner also wrote remembering him, as “one of the loveliest people you could ever meet. Everyone whose lives he touched will miss him greatly, as will those who enjoyed his wit and admired his compassion”.
Paul O’Grady was born in Birkenhead in 1955, and then in his 20s, he moved to London as a social worker for Camden Council. By the year 1978, he was developing his drag act Lily Savage in several gay clubs. His acts were often based on the loud-mouth single mother and occasional sex worker on female relatives. In 1991 O’Grady gained mainstream attention as he was nominated for the Perrier award. This is known as the most prestigious comedy award in the UK, and then he began to appear on radio and television without his drag-act persona.
Savage retired to “a convent in Brittany” in 2004, and O’Grady was more popular with his actual name by then. In his career, he has been a part of various prestigious shows. Some of them are the Bafta-winning talk show The Paul O’Grady Show, Blankety Blank, celebrity gameshow Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line Up, and the reboot of Blind Date.
Apart from his exciting career graph, he was also known for his love for animals. He kept dogs, pigs, bats, ferrets, and various other animals at his farms in Kent. And this was the reason he was given the award-winning show “For The Love Of Dogs”. May his kind soul rest in peace.