Learn how Charles Pierce achieved stardom and became one of the most famous female impersonators of all time!Charles Pierce (1926--1999) was an internationally known and highly successful female impersonator, known for his vivid portrayals of Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, and Mae West. This book offers a candid look at a career that spanned over fifty years--from his humble start at the Pasadena Playhouse, to his sold-out shows in San Francisco.From Drags to Riches provides a rich and colorful history of Charles Pierce. In this insightful and moving volume, Pierce’s friend John Wallraff offers valuable insights about the little-known man behind the makeup and captures the essence of what drag stardom is really like. This informative, imaginative, and sexually provocative book contains:
- stories of how famous Hollywood icons shaped Charles Pierce’s life and his act
- Pierce’s history, from his humble beginnings at the Pasadena Playhouse to his sold-out shows in San Francisco and beyond
- a look at Pierce’s private life
- an examination of the price of fame--how successes and failures shape any performerUsing the words of Charles Pierce himself, adding a dash of humor, mixing in fascinating insights, and sprinkling in juicy stories of love, lust, and sex, this book is a melting pot of information about a well-loved but sometimes misunderstood man.
Table of Contents
- 1. “A Wonderful Idea”
- 2. A Movie Star on Wheels
- 3. Pasadena Playhouse—At Last!
- 4. Extracurricular Lessons in Sex
- 5. “Make Me a Star!”
- 6. Stars in My Eyes
- 7. Summer Stock and Shangri-La for Awhile
- 8. The Rent Party
- 9. Charles Pierce, the Persistent Houseguest
- 10. A Mahvelous Pahty
- 11. A Naked Moon Dance and the Little Retreat Where Alcoholics Meet
- 12. The Big Break and Sex on the Rocks
- 13. “Everybody Came to the Gilded Cage”
- 14. “Through These Portals . . .:”
- 15. Rio Dante, the Man Who Would Be Dracula
- 16. “The Beverly Hill Nellies” and How They Grew
- 17. In Love with a “Living Doll”
- 18. In Bed with “Bette Davis”
- 19. Chicken-in-the-Nude, Cock Tales, and Other Assorted Orgies
- 20. Chez Sabu and La Ballet de Marijuana
- 21. “Mother Didn’t Tell Me There’d Be Nights Like These!”
- 22. Death in the Dressing Room
- 23. Gold Street and Touched by an Angel—Of Death!
- 24. “No, I’m Not the Girl in the Fishbowl at Bimbo’s”
- 25. The City Cabaret and Disco—The Times They Were A-Changin’
- 26. The Backlot—And the Real Miss Bette Davis
- 27. An Evening at “Dottie’s Place”
- 28. Charles Pierce Takes New York—And New York Loves It!
- 29. “The Tush Room at the Hotel Yuck”
- 30. The Venetian Room—“Top o’ the World, Ma!”
- 31. Wild at The Ballroom—Farewell to New York City
- 32. Is There Life After Drag?
- 33. Charles Pierce: Male Actress
- 34. Letters from the End of the Rainbow
- 35. Farewell, Old Friend: The Last Charles Pierce Show