Recently Dead

GOD ON A WHEEL, one of the great camp icons of ALL TIME, the bitterly outrageous Royce Reed died Tuesday evening in her sleep, according to her Facebook fanpage, “probably due to a heart attack.” Nobody knows her age, or anything else about her for that matter. 1n 1999, she told the LA Weeklyin a profile of her and her frenemy/roommate/sparring partner Marilyn Hoggatt (WATCH THE VIDEOS), that “my life history is very elegant, 16 generations from Philadelphia and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I have a pedigree, a coat of arms, ye-e-s-s. We go back to Frankfurt, Germany, 400 A.D. My mother was from New Orleans going back to France.” But who knows. To say she was prone to exaggeration would be an understatement (WATCH THE VIDEOS). When the 2003 documentary Royce Reed: Out of Fashion premiered at the Silverlake Film Festival, Thairin and I leaped at the chance to introduce the filmmakers to Randy and Fenton, and to meet the great lady, herself. She did not disappoint. She was part Diana Vreeland, part Baby Jane Hudson, and part Cruella de Vil (WATCH THE VIDEOS). Like most larger-than-life characters, her overwhelming narcissism and constant theatrics could become tedious, but she could also be warm, funny, and extremely complimentary. It was a treat to know her. Do yourself a favor, and if you’ve never watched the YouTube videos of her and Marilyn, do spend a few moments with the great dowagers of skid row. Truly, we will never see the likes of these two again. (See also: Dangerous Minds)

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