Frank Foo Foo Lammar (or Lamarr)
( 1937 - 2003 )
Frank Foo Foo Lammar (sometimes Lamarr) had a very successful drag career in the UK, including having a club, which he named after himself, and penning his autobiography, entitled "I Am What I Am." He released several recordings.
"On a Clear Day," "Till,"
"You'll Never Walk Alone," "My Way" (Palace EP
to his 2002 autobiography, below, the above 45 was from 1989,
The book is a pleasant, gossipy read, not strong on details.
The Manchester News (UK), 11/10/03
THE story goes that when Frank "Foo Foo" Lammar's father first saw his son's stage act, he threw a bar stool across a crowded pub at him. "Somebody told my dad that I was singing in the Ancoats Arms, but what they did not tell him was that I was stretched across the piano in a frock," Frank once said. Being a drag queen in the tough pub culture of east Manchester was a brave career choice. Though Frank - real name Frank Pearson - a handy boxer, did not hesitate to stand up for himself when the occasion demanded.
A go-getter, keen to improve upon his lot as the son of an Ancoats rag-and-bone man, Frank left school at 15 with no qualifications and began singing in the pubs, borrowing a stage name from Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr, while also holding down a day job as general manager of a waste paper recycling plant. In 1971, Frank bought his first club, the Picador in Shudehill, followed by the Celebrity, which became Foo Foo's Palace in Dale Street, the venue which played host to hundreds of stag nights and hen parties over the years.
Befitting a "lady" with £4,000 ballgowns in her closet, both "Foo Foo" and Frank were coy about their age. It was only last year that he revealed his true age as 65, joking that he had turned down the offer of a bus pass with the words: "No, thank you. I'll buy my own bus".
Frank wore his success in dapper suits, jewellery and a succession of Rolls Royces with the registration plate FOO 1. But his own wealth was eclipsed by that he raised for a host of charities. Frank's close friend, fundraiser Susie Mathis, says: "The loss of such a wonderful man is immeasurable. Manchester has lost one of its most flamboyant characters. Thousands of people have benefited from his generosity. He never said `no' to anyone who needed his help."
A friend to all at Manchester United, once Frank was confused with Reds star Bryan Robson by Princess Anne when she visited the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. The hospital was close to Frank's heart and he helped raise thousands of pounds for its young patients and for other charities.
Robson says: "Frank was a great character, who had a brilliant sense of humour. He'll be sadly missed by a lot of people across Greater Manchester, not least by the many people he helped." Showbusiness promoter Mickey Martin says: "He was one of the greats of Manchester and he was the most charitable person you could have met. He couldn't do enough for people." And comedian Bernard Manning says: "People will certainly miss him. He was a true entertainer and he did a lot for charity." His agent Michael Ryan said a charitable appeal would be set up in his name to raise funds for the Christie Hospital. "The people of Manchester made his name, and he never forgot that," he adds.
Frank's partner for 29 years, Billy Hughes, says: "Coming to terms with losing my partner of so many years will be the hardest thing I have ever had to face." The pair went through a partnership ceremony - the nearest the law allows to a gay marriage - in July. "The loss is incalculable. Frank battled to the very end. I feel privileged to have been part of his life for so long." Surely knowing that he was writing his own epitaph, Frank, who lived in Piccadilly Village, last year published a candid autobiography, "I Am What I Am." It revealed a man utterly devoted to his mother, Leah, whom he took shopping and sat down to tea with daily at the bungalow he bought her in Moston right up to her death in 1995. Yet the subject of his sexuality was never once discussed between mother and son. Though Frank said that as a young man he did not know if he was "Arthur or Martha", he knew well enough where Frank ended and "Foo Foo" began. The frocks were just his working clothes. "If I could get the same love and recognition in my showbiz life without Foo, but as Frank, I would have given it up a long time ago," Manchester's most famous drag queen said last year.
Below, a Lammar program....not dated, but likely from 1983 or 1984