Suzy Eddie Izzard pays tribute to Paul O’Grady: “He’s left a positive mark on our country”

“He was a lovely, decent guy who cared about people”

Suzy Eddie Izzard has paid tribute to Paul ‘O Grady, describing him as a “funny” and “acerbic” comedian.

O’Grady, known for his drag queen persona Lily Savage and recently for presenting ITV’s For The Love Of Dogs, died on Tuesday (March 28) at the age of 67.

Izzard contributed to a tribute article for the Guardian, where she explained how O’Grady being an openly gay comedian helped her come out as transgender to the world.


“Coming out in the TV world back in 1991 was more likely to be a shot in the foot than anything, but I did it anyway, and I’m sure it helped that Paul was already out there, being very relaxed,” Izzard wrote. “That was it, above all else: he was relaxed in his skin, while also being funny and acerbic.

“It was a combination that really worked. And I think seeing what he did helped LGBT people out there, either in their personal lives or perhaps as performers being able to be more honest about their sexuality onstage.”

Paul O'Grady
Paul O’Grady pictured in 2022. CREDIT: Stuart C. Wilson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Izzard described her appearances on The Paul O’Grady Show as “always fun”, adding: “He was a lovely, decent guy who cared about people. You could see that in the way he interacted with them. Obviously we shared an interest in politics. His positions might not be exactly my positions, although ripping into the Tories like he did – absolutely. But he did things his way and with aplomb.”

“People should always keep growing and challenging themselves,” Izzard added. “I got the feeling that, with his programmes about animals, he had to really push to make them happen. This change of direction in later life sat well with him. He’s left a good, positive mark on the history of our country. It would have been nice if he could have stuck around for longer.”

Elton John recently paid tribute to O’Grady and praised his support and activism around LGBTQ+ rights.


“Thank you for all the joy you brought into the world, Paul,” John wrote on Instagram. “You went places nobody had gone before and we will miss you very much.”

O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio said that he died “unexpectedly but peacefully”. His cause of death is unknown.

Others who have paid tribute include Lorraine Kelly, Vernon Kay, Martin Lewis and actor John Barrowman.

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