Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

It Happened Today in New York City

03-07 EltingeOn March 7, 1941, legendary drag performer, Julian Eltinge, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in New York City at age 59. The most successful female impersonator of his day, Eltinge maintained a stereotypically masculine persona offstage, smoking cigars, fighting in bars, etc. Some believe this was to combat rumors of his homosexuality. However, when a reporter asked him outright if he was gay, Eltinge famously responded, “No, I just like pearls.” His theatrical home base became the Empire Theatre and is now the AMC Empire Cinema on West 42nd Street. On the ceiling of the main lobby, where the old theatre’s balcony rail and proscenium arch remain intact, three portraits of Eltinge in costume can be seen to this day.

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