Harris Glenn Milstead aka Divine was born to a rather well off socially conservative family on October 19, 1945, at the Women’s Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and would grow up to be the the most famous and fabulous Drag Queen of the Century. (Sorry RuPaul but you can’t hold a cha-cha heel to Divine!) Divine weighed 320 lbs. and ballooned at the midriff like the south side of a hippopotamus. Add to all that a 40-lb. blizzard-blond fright wig, a face like a big, eerie, poster-colored subway graffito, and a set of humongous foam-rubber falsies—each packed with 50 lbs. of uncooked lentils. He called himself Divine and he was proud of his creation: a unique and hilarious high-camp cartoon.
Divine aka Milstead embraced the counterculture of the 1960s and became involved with Waters’s acting troupe, the Dreamlanders, starring in early Waters films Mondo Trasho (1969), Multiple Maniacs (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble(1974). Hits on the U.S. midnight movie circuit, the films became cult classics. In the 1970s, Divine moved to theater, appearing with The Cockettes before performing in Women Behind Bars and The Neon Woman. Continuing cinematic work, he starred in Polyester (1981), Lust in the Dust (1985) and Hairspray (1988). In 1981, Divine embarked in the disco industry, producing Hi-NRG tracks that were mostly written by Bobby Orlando. He achieved global chart success with hits like “You Think You’re a Man”, “I’m So Beautiful” and “Walk Like a Man”.
Divine considered himself to be male, and was not transgender or transsexual. He was gay and damn proud of it and during the 1980s had an extended relationship with a married man named Lee, who accompanied him almost everywhere that he went. They later separated, and Divine went on to have a brief affair with gay porn star Leo Ford, something that was widely reported upon in the gay press
On March 7, 1988, three weeks after Hairspray was released nationwide Divine passed away in Los Angeles, California from cardiomegaly but has remained a prominent cult figure within the LGBT community, and has provided the inspiration for fictional characters, artworks and songs. Various books and documentary films devoted to his life have also been produced, including Divine Trash (1998) and I Am Divine (2013).
The Baltimore Sun is reporting that an 8ft bronze statue of the late, great Divine might be coming to Baltimore with the blessing of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who “ looks forward to seeing more details on the proposal”
The corner of Read and Tyson Streets in Baltimore will forever bear the glorious ghost of an iconically filthy moment: Divine (aka Harris Glenn Milstead), as Babs Johnson in John Waters’ Pink Flamingos, asserting her status as the “Filthiest Person Alive” by watching as a dog poops, approaching the poop, and then eating the poop.Soon — Kickstarter gods willing — this moment will be commemorated with an eight-foot-tall monument at that very street corner. No, it’ll no longer be a ghost people step through unawares (incidentally, much like dog poop), but rather a gargantuan, unmissable work of art, homage, and filth. And apparently Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, is completely down
The monument, which estimated costs is to be between $50,000 and $100,000, would rest on the side of a house at the corner of Read and Tyson streets, on the western fringe of Mount Vernon. The actual scene, according to those who were there, was shot on a lot alongside a house in the 800 block of Tyson St. The proposed site is actually across the street from the house, at a location (a blank wall) its designers thought would work better.
The ruling is a black eye for Michael O’Quinn, who had befriended Divine’s mother, Frances, and become her business manager and later was named as a beneficiary to the estate in an addendum to Frances’ will. (The estate reverted to Mom after Divine’s death at 42 in 1988 from an enlarged heart.)
The court now has ruled that O’Quinn, who has worked as a costumer at Universal Studios’ Florida theme park, willfully ignored Frances’ will revision in 2008 that bestowed the estate to her nieces and nephews. Noah Brodie, a Warner Bros. studio lot VIP tour operator and O’Quinn’s former business partner in Everything Divine, which was set up to leverage Divine’s assets, discovered the shenanigans while in talks with a cosmetics firm in 2011 about a Divine-themed line.
“It’s such a unique and unusual intellectual property,” Brodie tells THR. “I was duped, but eventually [O’Quinn] got caught in lie after lie.” O’Quinn could not be reached for comment. For cosmetic and plastic surgery visit our website here Matthew Galumbeck, MD.
People magazine once described Divine as the “Drag Queen of the Century”
Back2Stonewall.com in conjuncture with Wolfe Video and Brigade Marketing are giving away (2) two “I Am Divine” DVD Gift Sets this weekend!
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jeffrey Schwartz (Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story, Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon, Vito) turns his camera on the plus-sized “cinematic terrorist” turned international icon of bad taste when I AM DIVINE debuts across all digital platforms beginning April 1st and on DVD April 8th from Wolfe Video. Harris Glenn Milstead, a.k.a. Divine, comes to life in this complex documentary that traces his humble beginnings as an overweight, teased Baltimore youth to internationally-recognized drag superstar. The film includes interviews with many key figures from Divine’s life, including legendary filmmaker John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray), co-stars Ricki Lake (Hairspray), Tab Hunter (Polyester, Lust in the Dust) and Mink Stole (Female Trouble, Desperate Living), and his mother. Bonus materials include more than 30 minutes of deleted footage that sheds additional light on the cha-cha heels of this midnight-movie icon.
But wait, that’s not all!
In addition to the DVD each winner will receive as part of the prize package a “I Am Divine” poster autographed by filmaker Jeffrey Schwartz and an “I Am Divine” bumper sticker.
And to win this FABULASH prize package all you have to do is drop me a line at email@example.com – One winner will be picked at random on Saturday 4/5 and Sunday 4/5 – (U.S.A. addresses only and no P.O. Boxes please)
Are you Divine enough to win?
*”I Am Divine” debuts digitally April 1st and on DVD April 8th. Follow the filmmakers on Twitter at @divinemovie and Wolfe Video on Facebook and Twitter at @WolfeVideo.
* Serving customers since 1985, Wolfe Video is the largest exclusive distributor of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) films