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Vilanch, Bruce (b. 1948)  
page: 1  2  

Despite his considerable girth, Vilanch had to don a "35-pound fat suit" to play Edna. He also had to sacrifice his beard, which for over thirty years had been part of his trademark look--along with large, colorful eyeglasses and any one of the T-shirts in his collection (said to number well over 1,000). The departure of the (almost?) famous beard was televised on the Live with Regis and Kelly morning show.

Since 1980 Vilanch has been a reporter and columnist for the magazine The Advocate, for which he has written both humorous and serious pieces. A collection of his writings, Bruce!: My Adventures in the Skin Trade and Other Essays (2000), was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.

Vilanch has been the recipient of a number of awards for his copious work in support of glbtq rights and AIDS charities. Among these are the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation's Daniel P. Warner Service Award (1990), GLAAD Media's Stephen F. Kolzak Award (1997), the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center's Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award (1998), the Outfest Honors Award for contributions to gay and lesbian visibility (2002), and the AIDS Project of Los Angeles Hero Award (2003).

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Situation Comedies

American television sitcoms have consistently reflected the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, often in distorted and stereotyped ways, but occasionally in ways that acknowledge our humanity and complexity.

arts >> Bankhead, Tallulah

Although Tallulah Bankhead is today remembered mostly as an irreverent wit and volcanic life force, she was also one of the most significant actresses of her time.

arts >> DeCaro, Frank

Funnyman Frank DeCaro has found success both in serious journalism as a fashion writer and editor and in comedy as a writer, performer, and radio talk show host.

arts >> Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead)

A versatile character actor, nightclub singer, and international cult star who generally performed his stage show and movie roles in drag, Divine became famous through his appearances in John Waters' films.

arts >> Fierstein, Harvey

Actor Harvey Fierstein has had phenomenal success as both a performer and a playwright, and has been steadfastly committed to the cause of glbtq rights.

arts >> Shaiman, Marc (b. 1959), and Scott Wittman (b. 1955)

Composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist and director Scott Wittman, partners in life and collaborators in theater, film, and television projects, have a long list of credits in the entertainment industry.

arts >> Waters, John

A director, writer, producer, and photographer, John Waters became well known in the early 1970s through his filmic collaboration with actor--and drag queen--Divine.


Holden, Stephen. "The Man Behind the Naughty Chuckles." New York Times (September 17, 1999): E1, 29.

Isherwood, Charles. "Bruce Vilanch: Almost Famous." Variety 378 (May 15, 2000): 37.

Preston, Rohan. "Large and in Charge; Gag Writer and 'Hollywood Squares' Veteran Bruce Vilanch Dares to Play Matriarch Edna Turnblad in the Touring Version of 'Hairspray.'" Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (February 13, 2004): 1E.

Tynan, William. "Roastmater General: He Writes Brilliant Jokes for Celebrities. Can This Top Comic Writer Become Famous on His Own?" Time 154 (September 13, 1999): 75.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Vilanch, Bruce  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated January 27, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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