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For about forty years Charles Pierce (1926-1999) entertained audiences across the United States and abroad. Pierce, wo preferred the term "male actress" eschewed the moniker of drag queen or female impersonator. However, Pierce's persona was clearly defined by sartorial choice and the imitation of female silver screen legends. Pierce performed in night clubs, cabaret, concert halls, television, and in feature films. His use of costume combined with exaggerated mannerisms brought to life characters such as Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, and Carol Channing among many others. Pierce's unique brand of comedy appealed to diverse audiences despite exaggerated camp characterization and a queered double entendre heavy commentary. His use of costume to create his ladies evolved over his career from working in a tuxedo with a box of props, to a more realistic illusion achieved via costume and makeup.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

"I'm a Stand-up Comic in a Dress:" Charles Pierce

For about forty years Charles Pierce (1926-1999) entertained audiences across the United States and abroad. Pierce, wo preferred the term "male actress" eschewed the moniker of drag queen or female impersonator. However, Pierce's persona was clearly defined by sartorial choice and the imitation of female silver screen legends. Pierce performed in night clubs, cabaret, concert halls, television, and in feature films. His use of costume combined with exaggerated mannerisms brought to life characters such as Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, and Carol Channing among many others. Pierce's unique brand of comedy appealed to diverse audiences despite exaggerated camp characterization and a queered double entendre heavy commentary. His use of costume to create his ladies evolved over his career from working in a tuxedo with a box of props, to a more realistic illusion achieved via costume and makeup.

 

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