LONDON (AP) — Quentin Crisp, the eccentric writer, performer and raconteur best known for his autobiography “The Naked Civil Servant,” which was made into a TV film starring John Hurt, died Sunday after collapsing at a private residence in Manchester. He was 90.
Crisp, who lived principally in New York City for decades, was in his native Britain to begin touring with his popular one-man show.
A slight, dandified figure who wore makeup and high-heeled shoes and piled his white hair in bouffant waves on top of his head, Crisp made no secret of the fact that he was gay.
Born on Dec. 28, 1908, as Denis Pratt in Sutton, south of London, he worked as a commercial artist, part-time prostitute and art school model after leaving school. He declared his homosexuality in his 20s.
Crisp first stepped into the public arena with his 1968 autobiography, “The Naked Civil Servant,” later adapted for television. It was widely praised and sold well. The book was made into a film in 1975 with Hurt as Crisp. By now, he was a cult figure — what he called “the mother superior of homosexuality.”
Crisp wrote several more books mixing more autobiography with essays on manners and morals. Titles were “How to Have a Lifestyle,” “How to Become a Virgin” and “Resident Alien.”
His evolving one-man show, “An Evening With Quentin Crisp,” debuted Off Off Broadway in 1978 to excellent reviews and was periodically revived and toured. Crisp also appeared in the 1993 film “Orlando,” in which he played Queen Elizabeth.