DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Divine (aged 42)
American singer and drag queen
Harris Glenn Milstead (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), better known by his stage name Divine, was an American actor, singer, and drag queen. Closely associated with the independent filmmaker John Waters, Divine was a character actor, usually performing female roles in cinematic and theatrical productions, and adopted a female drag persona for his music career.
DEATH: On March 7, 1988, three weeks after Hairspray was released nationwide, Divine was staying at the Regency Plaza Suites Hotel in Los Angeles. He was scheduled to film a guest appearance the following day as Uncle Otto on the Fox network’s television series Married… with Children in the second season wrap-up episode. After spending all day at Sunset Gower Studios for rehearsals, Divine returned to his hotel that evening, where he dined with friends at the hotel restaurant before returning to his room. Shortly before midnight, he died in his sleep, at age 42, of an enlarged heart. His body was discovered by Bernard Jay the following morning, who then sat with the body for the next six hours, alongside three of Divine’s other friends. They contacted Thomas Noguchi, the Chief Coroner for the County of Los Angeles, who arranged for removal of the body; Divine’s friends were able to prevent the press from taking any photographs of the body as it was being carried out of the hotel.