Dress to Kill
“I know the rough order of things, but I change it around, because once you lock into certain arrangements, it becomes boring. When I’m starting and stopping and making stuff up on the spot, that’s when I like it, that’s when it sparkles. It’s like a heightened version of a conversation.” Eddie Izzard
British comedian Eddie Izzard entertained American audiences with his renowned one-person show “Dress to Kill,” which brought him two Emmy Awards and another Emmy nomination. He was also applauded for his stage performance in “Live at the Ambassadors” (1993), “Definite Article” (1995) and “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” (2001, earned a Tony nomination). Izzard, who previously came out as a transvestite, regularly dresses as a woman in his stage acts.
As an actor, Izzard also took part in such movies as Ocean’s Twelve (2004), John Turturro’s Romance & Cigarettes (2005) and the comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006). Among fellow comedians and comedy insiders, Izzard was voted No.19 out of the top 50 greatest comedy acts in a 2005 poll to find “The Comedian’s Comedian.” On his sexuality, the actor stated, “My sexuality is straight transvestite or male lesbian. It seems we are beyond the idea that I am gay and hiding it. If I had to describe how I feel in my head, I’d say I’m a complete boy plus half a girl. I don’t seem to have the sixth sense that women have or their stronger senses of taste and smell. Gay men can also have it but straight men don’t.”
Childhood and Family:
Edward John Izzard was born on February 7, 1962, in Aden, Yemen. His parents, an accountant and a nurse, were working at the British Petroleum refinery in Aden. Later, the family moved to Bangor, Ireland, and then to Skewen, South Wales (UK). Eddie’s mother died of cancer when he was six.
Finding relief in comedy, Eddie performed standup while a student of the University of Sheffield. After being expelled from college, he moved to London and performed street shows, during which time he came out as a transvestite. Eddie polished his comedic skills in Europe and the United States before gaining fame in British comedy venues.
“When I first came out, I thought, I want to walk like a real woman. I don’t want to do mincing steps. And there was some girl I saw walking up Holloway Road in Islington who had this long languid walk and I thought that’s what I like, so I incorporated her walk into mine.” Eddie Izzard on being a transvestite
Death of Joe Egg
Marking his entrance to the stage world, Eddie Izzard headlined his one-man comedy show “Live at the Ambassadors” (1993), in London’s West End. The stage performance quickly garnered him a British Comedy award for Top Stand-Up Comedian and an Olivier Award nomination. He then played the dramatic title role in the Leicester revival of Christopher Marlowe’s “Edward II” (1994), as well as starred in David Mamet’s “The Cryptogram” (1994) and “900 Oneonta” (1994).
In 1995, Izzard, who was previously nominated for the 1991 Perrier award, staged another one-man show titled “Definite Article” and received his second British Comedy award. On screen, the comedian made his debut as Rich in the TV thriller Open Fire (1994) and then played Socrates in the comedy Aristophanes: The Gods Are Laughing (1995, TV).
His first foray to American television was in an episode of HBO’s “Tales From the Crypt” (1996), playing Evans. The comedian next performed the one-man show “Glorious” (1997) at New York City’s P.S. 122, as well as co-wrote a made-for-TV comedy titled Cows (1997).
Izzard, who appeared as Jerry Devine in Velvet Goldmine (1998), made his most famous one-person show to date with “Dress to Kill,” first staged at the 1998 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Izzard reprised the show at NYC’s Westbeth Theatre, as well as in San Francisco (1999) and Los Angeles. For his witty performance, the comic harvested two Emmys: one for Best Performance, another for Best Writing. Additionally, he was nominated for Emmy’s Best Comedy Special. Izzard then starred as American comic Lenny Bruce in the revival of Julian Barry’s “Lenny” (1999) and toured the United States with the one-person show “Circle” (2000).
After taking a role in the movie Shadow of the Vampire (2000) and playing Charlie Chaplin in The Cat’s Meow (2001), Izzard replaced actor Clive Owen in the revival of “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” (2001) and earned a Tony nomination for his fine starring turn. Next up for the actor, he appeared as Lussurioso in Alex Cox’s Revengers Tragedy (2002), took part in the British TV drama 40 (2003), joined the cast of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Twelve (2004, as Roman Nagel) and took part in John Turturro’s big screen musical Romance & Cigarettes (2005).
In 2006, Izzard costarred as Wayne Malloy, opposite Minnie Driver, in the comedy drama series “The Riches,” which he also produced. The actor could also be seen as Professor Bedlam in Ivan Reitman’s comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), starring Uma Thurman.
Izzard’s upcoming projects are Kitchen (2006, TV), the Jerry Seinfeld-starring Bee Movie (2007, as the director), Across the Universe (2007) and The Other Side (2007). In addition, he is set to reprise his role in Soderbergh’s sequel Ocean’s Thirteen (2007).
- Emmy: Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program, Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill, 2000
- Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill, 2000
- Top British Stand Up Comedian Award, 1996
- Top British Stand Up Comedian Award, 1993