An almost great showbiz entertainer finally hangs up his dancing shoes today.
Up the duff
Lionel Blair, original name Fergal Blukerwitz came from an Irish, Jewish background. His mother Belinda, was the daughter of a well known Jewish baker 'bagel Blunkerwitz' in county Kildare. She had an illicit affair with a local pick pocket called paddy O' Flynn who soon got her up-the-duff after a raucous St Patrick's day celebration. Paddy was forced at gun point to marry Belinda but was absent for most of Lionel's upbringing, due to being banged up.
"It wasn't an easy childhood" Blair recalled. They were soon ostracised by the local community and so moved to the West End of London. Blair was immediately taken with bright lights and vowed to become a mega star.
He never achieved his goal but he did become known as a camp, tap-dancing twat that occasionally popped up on Royal variety shows. His trade mark hair-do was widely copied by the likes of Barry Gibb and Diana Ross.
The highlight of his career was appearing in the Bealtes film 'A Hard Days Night' it was whilst making this film that Blair discovered he had a talent for dressing in women's cloths. In one scene (that was eventually cut from the movie) Blair played a prostitute, plying his trade up and down a dingy Liverpool street to the tune of 'Can't buy me love'
A stream of successful Pantomime dame offers followed and TV appearances but Blair realised he was being stereotyped. He bravely attempted to reinvent himself when he was offered a lead role in an America TV Pilot show. He grew a Moustache and starred in "Butch Flamingo PI" a camp San Francisco private investigator. The pilot never made it to air but did find it's way into Liberace's private video collection.
So we say a fond farewell to Lionel Blair and his mediocre career. But it's not without a tinge of sadness as we loose another great British all round entertainer.