Tributes paid to La Rue and O’Brien

THERE is great sadness in the world of horse racing and in the world of show business after internationally acclaimed horse trainer Dr Vincent O’Brien and female impersonator Danny La Rue died.

Dr O’Brien, 92, died yesterday morning at his home in Straffan, Co Kildare, while 81-year-old La Rue died in Kent. Dr O’Brien was born in the north Cork town of Churchtown, while La Rue was born in Cork city.

Last night, Dr O’Brien’s daughter Sue and her husband, John Magnier, said “there was nobody like him”.

“Coolmore Stud and Ballydoyle are the results of his vision and testament to his success. More importantly, he was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather and an extraordinary mentor. His passing is a great loss to me and my family,” she said.

Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien said Dr O’Brien was “his hero growing up”.

“There is nothing that compares to Ballydoyle anywhere in the world. I feel the sense of history every morning when I walk into the yard that had horses such as Nijinksy, Sir Ivor to Sadler’s Wells. His dedication to the sport of racing and to the highest standards knew no bounds,” he said.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said Dr O’Brien will go in history, as possibly, the greatest horse trainer of all time.

“Vincent was a great ambassador for Ireland and a gentle giant of

international horse racing,” he said.

Meanwhile, there was much reminiscing in the world of entertainment after one of its greats, Danny La Rue, passed away.

The star of stage and screen, once described by Bob Hope as: “The most glamorous woman in the world,” had been battling cancer.

The entertainer’s take on glamorous leading ladies such as Marlene Dietrich and Zsa Zsa Gabor made him an institution in Britain and at home.

La Rue was one of the first to take cross-dressing to the wider public but he disliked being called a drag artist, preferring the title “comic in a frock”.

La Rue was appointed an OBE in 2002, and performed more than 30 times at royal shows at Buckingham Palace.

He was the first female impersonator to appear at the Royal Variety Performance before the Queen.

Entertainer Nicholas Parsons said last night: “I loved Danny. Everybody in the profession did.

“He was so beautiful when made up as a woman, and was the most glamorous pantomime dame you could imagine.

“Often he would drop into a male voice, letting you know he was a fellow dressing up. And he could hold audiences in the palm of his hand.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence