Craig Russell...

Craig, as Judy

Born Russell Craig Edie in Port Perry, Ontario on January 10, 1948. Craig Russell, once among the best-known female impersonators in North America became the ambassador of Canada's gay culture.

As personal secretary to the incomparable Mae West in her final years, and as Toronto's most flamboyant hairdresser, Russell pivoted between Canada and Hollywood, between public and private worlds. His nights were a drag queen's fantasy, and his uncanny impersonations of West, Judy Garland, Bette Davis and Barbra Streisand made him famous.

In 1977 Russell made his film debut in the film Outrageous, based on Margaret Gibson's book Making It, a chronicle of Gibson's life as Russell's roommate. It was a huge hit and Russell would travel the world in its wake.

Outrageous

In 1978 at the Berlin International Film Festival, Craig was awarded Best Actor for Outrageous!

His picture book, "Craig Russell and his Ladies" was issued in 1979, and provided photos of him doing almost all of the women he impersonated, plus many candid shots.

Craig Russell book back cover

Too Outrageous (1987) is the sequel to classic Outrageous. Craig Russell is back as gay hairdresser-turned-female impersonator Robin Turner, as is Hollis McLaren as his mentally unbalanced girlfriend.

Some of These Days

1987 also brought his attempt at dance music, with "Glamour Monster"

Glamour Monster

Craig Russell died October 30, 1990 of a stroke resulting from AIDS at Toronto Western Hospital.

 

Craig Russell

Craig Russell

Craig Russell

Craig Russell

Craig Russell

Craig Russell

Craig Russell

Craig Russell

Craig Russell