Friday, 5 June 2015
At least I didn't fake it
“I did jazz clubs in Greenwich Village, went on the Playboy circuit, that sort of thing. I wasn’t doing badly, but I needed that gimmick, something to make me different, unique.”
Jim Bailey certainly was "different", not least for the fact that his skilful "transformations" into a whole array of showbiz leading ladies - Phyllis Diller, Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Mae West, even Madonna - gained him prime-time television slots, and top billing at some of the world's most prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and the London Palladium.
Such was his skill that he even performed as "Judy" opposite the real Liza to recreate their famous 1960s London concert appearance. In real life, he was close friends with mother and daughter. His "Miss Diller" impression landed him a slot in character on one of Lucille Ball's TV shows, and as "Miss Streisand" he wowed TV audiences with a coveted duet with Carol Burnett.
When asked how he’d like to be remembered, he said: “Isn’t that something they ask Miss Idaho on the pageant? OK - I don’t want to be remembered as one of those guys who wore a dress and pretended to be female. I want to be remembered for the uniqueness of the art form I created. Not just lip-synching, not just wearing dresses, but singing, acting, the make-up, the details - the Full Monty.”
As Judy - Get Happy:
As Barbra - Don't Rain On My Parade:
RIP James William "Jim" Bailey (10th January 1938 – 30th May 2015)