Those of you born after after the 1970's have probably only seen Divine as Edna Turnblad* in John Waters' most successful (and most mainstream) film, Hairspray. The photo on your left, however, is from what is probably Divine's most notorious role, Babs Johnson in Waters' 1972 cult hit Pink Flamingos, the story of a competition to find the "Filthiest Family in the World." Flamingos features Divine performing an act so depraved, I won't even mention it here (if you know the film or its reputation, you know what I'm talking about). Now, Uncle P may ask his actors to do some outrageous things -- and they usually trust me enough to do them -- but I can't see me asking anyone to do what Waters asked Divine to do. And if I did, they'd all say "You have finally gone too far!" (They'd probably say something else, but I try to keep it as clean as I can here at the Revenge).
Born Harris Glenn Milstead in Baltimore, MD in 1945, Divine found his true calling when Milstead met outre filmmaker John Waters in the 1960's. Divine was often the star of Waters' films, appearing in movies with titles like Mondo Trasho; Multiple Maniacs; Female Trouble and Polyester, playing characters with names like 'Francine Fishpaw' and 'Hilly Blue.' And while Divine would work with other directors like Paul Bartell (Eating Raoul), it was Hairspray that finally brought Divine to the attention of Hollywood. Sadly, Milstead passed away of an enlarged heart at the age of 42 in 1988, one night before he was to tape an appearance on Fox's trashy sitcom "Married... with Children."
Now, director Jeffrey Schwarz has a new documentary coming out next year, chronicling the life and career f the bigger than life drag performer, appropriately titled I Am Divine. The first teaser just hit the web and you know I had to share. Please enjoy (via):
Of course, my favorite Divine-inspired moment has to be this sketch from SCTV, featuring the late John Candy as Divine as Peter Pan:
Divine had a short, but legendary career as an actor and Disco singer and will always have a special place in the hearts of fans of weird cinema everywhere...
*A role Uncle P will be taking on in the stage musical version next spring... Oy!