Monday, April 29, 2013

What Happens in Vegas: Las Vegas Icon Kenny Kerr Dead at 60?

I included a question mark, because though I just heard this story on News 3 here on KSNV in Las Vegas, I can't find the story anywhere. Not even on their own website. Google and Bing have nothing as of this writing.

Image from Toledo Blade
Kenny Kerr was one of the two most famous female impersonators in Las Vegas, the other being Frank Marino. The two had a tempestuous relationship, and Marino always seemed to have the better reputation, and the more consistently on-track career. Kerr's Boylesque ran for years, at more than one property before fracturing into varying shows in varying places. I met Kerr once, complimented him (I had seen Boylesque twice at The Sahara), and found him to be curt and a bit rude. Others who I've met have relayed similar information, but he was entertaining, and very funny in his show.

So, no details, and no second source, but at least one Las Vegas television station has declared Kerr dead at 60. Which is too young, and surely older than Kerr admitted to! RIP, Kenny.

UPDATE: I guess it helps to type in "Kenny Kerr Dead" into Bing. It revealed a Las Vegas Review-Journal story, so I guess it's legit. It doesn't list a cause of death, but it does play coy with whether or not Kerr was gay. Please.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

UPDATE THE SECOND: Wow, I unintentionally set off a firestorm in the comments section, regarding this post, and my apparent tastelessness in writing it.  I have a tendency toward irreverence on this, my personal blog. And I've never much gone in for "only say the nicest things about the recently deceased," at least not on the blog. But it bears keeping in mind that I'm not just writing this blog for myself, or my small group of usual readers. Often times, people connected to the stories may find me in a Google search, and not take kindly to my phrasing. Apologies if I was too rough in my assessment of Mr. Kerr. I'm sure that especially to his friends and family, he was a perfectly wonderful guy.  I obviously wouldn't have gone to his show twice if I didn't enjoy him as a performer. 

18 comments:

  1. James Greenlee, I find you a bit curt and rude to speak so of someone whom has just passed away. Someone who happened to be one of the kindest people in the world, and a friend to everyone.

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  2. Well, I'm sorry. I was just speaking of the only experience I had with the man, and I wasn't lying, I had the same information relayed to me. I said he died too young, acknowledged his humor and talent, and gave an RIP. . . what do you want from me?

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  3. A fly died on my windowsill this afternoon. Gee, death happens.

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  4. It’s the short sightedness of people like you – this is what’s wrong with some people in the world today.

    Only someone so insensitive and a homophobe would make such a statement when reporting, what at the time was the supposed death of Mr. Kenny Kerr. Have you no respect for the family?

    Kenny Kerr was not a Drag-Queen, nor was Frank Marino as your headline would lead us to believe. Kenny was a Female Impersonator; an artist of his craft that not every man (gay or straight) could pull off as flawlessly as Kenny or Frank.

    The man, Kenny Kerr was neither curt nor rude. You must be mistaking him for yourself. If you had taken the time to get to know Kenny, it was all part of the entertainer’s persona. It was all about the entertainment factor. Kenny loved to perform and make us all laugh, no matter what he was feeling inside. He loved to be on stage; he just loved people and to make us all laugh until it hurt.

    Out of costume, he was a mild manner and a loving family man who became a loving father to his son Kristen. During the early years, Kenny had to hide who he was for the sake of his career. Similar to most famous people in our society, such as Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres and the first sports star of the NBA, Jason Collins who revealed his sexuality only today; one day following his death. Otherwise these talented people risk failure, in what would otherwise been a successful career, which they have all proven; all because of one’s sexuality. How quickly we judge!

    I find your adjectives coarse to an otherwise wonderful and loving person. Had you taken more time to get to know the man out of costume, maybe you would have known the real Kenny Kerr.

    Kenny – I love you like family and you were there for me, and I for you when we needed each other the most. You’re finally at peace and your lessons here on earth is complete for now. You are with those who have gone before you; mom, Richie, Lil-Lil and Domenic.

    In the words of Mr. Kenny Kerr; ‘It does not matter who you love or how you love. The only thing that matters is that you love, and it doesn’t matter what you are, as long as you are a good one!’

    You my friend were one of the best! May God bless you and all your family; rest in peace.

    Ben Tozour, St Petersburg FL

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    1. Very well said Ben.... Kenny and Domenic are having a field day with this.

      Candace

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  5. I agree, Ben. I spent 45 minutes at his bedside 3 days before his passing. He didn't complain about anything. He joked and flung his hand and rolled his eyes like he always does - he was watching a tv show where a couple was looking at a house to buy, and Kenny joked "that's a track house honey, don't go in!" Then when they went into the kitchen, the woman on the show loved it. Kenny yelped "Girl, that is a Fridgidaire. Run!" Even towards the very end, he made me laugh and smile. Kenny was always a very kind and caring person. His "curt" attitude is merely a part of his act - a character. I knew Kenny for 2 decades, and he was a very generous and loving person. RIP my friend. And to the person who equated this to a fly in the window - you are just an idiot. Not wasting anymore energy on your remark.

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  6. Oh my god, FIRST of all, I'm not a homophobe, I'm an out, gay man, proudly so, name included in all of my posts. Secondly, you said "Kenny Kerr was not a Drag-Queen, nor was Frank Marino as your headline would lead us to believe." I didn't imply nor say the words "Drag-Queen," and if I had, it certainly wouldn't be an insult. Do you watch RuPaul's "Drag Race?" Honestly. I didn't belittle his persona, nor his profession.

    Listen, I'm sorry if you found my short--written at 11:30 before turning in--write-up in bad taste. This is my personal blog, not a newspaper. I relayed my one interaction with Kenny Kerr, and the impression I got from other people. I then acknowledged his talent and humor. I saw his show TWICE, so obviously I liked him as a performer.

    I think your reaction is out of scale. And I think you read a whole lot more into my few words than was actually there. But again, I do apologize, and I'm sorry for your loss. I really am. Both "anonymous."

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  7. I met Michael Stipe once, he was a dick.

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  8. Thanks, Jason, non sequitur much? ;)

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  9. I will always remember Kenny Driving around Las Vegas in his Cadillac.
    He was proud to be from Las Vegas and to be an American.
    Boy or Girl...Kenny wore them out! Say hello to Dick Maurice up there.
    Bruce Taylor

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    1. actually Kenny was from Blue Anchor New Jersey, he was funnier than all heck when we were younger. we grew up watching kenny hone his career (he would wear his mothers dresses at home). Central Ave. Blue Anchor - he moved to LV and would come home at times and look us up...

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  10. I went to Las Vegas often in the early 80's and saw BOYLESQUE many times ... I mean it was $4.99!! Best deal in town. I didn't know Kenny personally, but I often saw him playing dollar video poker machines before the show. He signed some autographs for me, but then quickly got back to his game - maybe that's what people mean when they call him "curt". He was a brilliant performer - as were the rest of the cast members.

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  11. I only called him "curt," because he was. To me. Once. It was at Gipsy, if I remember right, and he was getting a drink, as was I. . .I may have the details slightly off, but we were essentially in line together. I complimented him, told him how much I enjoyed his show. It was a fairly short exchange. He gave me one of those dismissive, "and WHO are YOU?" looks, and maybe said two words in return, and turned his back to me. When I related this to others who'd met him, they didn't think that was out of the ordinary for him. That's all I was trying to relate, I didn't mean to start a flame war on my own blog!

    ANYWAY, the one celebrity I remember meeting the way you met Kenny was Kathleen Madigan between sets at the Trop. When I complimented her, she thanked me, joked around with me, then told me she had to run or she'd be late for her second show. I guess that's what I expected of Kenny. I may have just caught him on a bad night. Again everybody, apologies for upsetting his friends, I was just relaying the only personal interaction I had with him.

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  12. Well how the hell did he die?

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  13. I never found out a cause of death, Anonymous. Even a Google search only turns up a few stories (including this one). Maybe one of his friends (who I irritated) will enlighten us.

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  14. i worked at the silver slipper for 3 years while kenny kerr was starring in boylesque. his was the longest running show in las vegas at the time and he was quite successful. he was always friendly, down to earth and generous. he comp'ed me show tickets more times than i can count and when he'd see me at the bar he always sprang for the drinks, sometimes even buying dom perignon [way out of my league]. kenny was always a class act.

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  15. Please, I'm gay, but female impersonation is drag, by any other name. I don't personally expect a performer to be super friendly, but I do expect politeness. If her majesty was, a shit, then call it what it is, and this crap of only speaking kind of the deceased is garbage.

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  16. Did anyone ever find out how our sweet Kenny Kerr passed? It really doesn't matter I suppose, but I really did love the genius,charismatic man. I just stumbled upon his passing (03/11/2016) and I am so saddened. I knew him in the world of impersonation as I was just a kid who "knew someone who knew someone" and got us tickets for the show. He was beyond kind and endearing, with that slappy edginess I now know and love. I wonder what happened to him. He was a Vegas showstopper, an icon and what I think a "true masterpiece" is. He taught me how to makeup! I never really thought about it, but my makeup tips as a young girl came from an absolute artist and makeup guru. How lucky am I?

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