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Paul O’Grady’s heartbreaking reason for retiring Lily Savage role before his death exposed


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Paul O’Grady found his calling when he showed the world his alter-ego Lily Savage who was known for her acid-tongue and sharp one-liners.

The popularity of Savage saw her land her own TV show – An Evening With Lily Savage – and even went on to host Blankety Blank from 1998 to 2002.

However, after a successful stint as Savage, the drag queen was put out to pasture as O’Grady was already starring as himself in The Paul O’Grady show, pulling in millions of viewers.

Another reason for the retirement of Savage was the death of his business partner, best friend and former lover Brendan Murphy – with the pair spending 25 years together.

Murphy was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and sadly died in 2005 just two days before O’Grady’s 50th birthday.

Shortly after his death, O’Grady touched on their time together and explained why Murphy’s passing meant the role of Lily was shelved.

Lily Savage

Paul O’Grady’s alter-ego Lily Savage was a hit from the 80s


“(Our friendship) transcended any sexual relationship we’d had. This was a partnership.

“A double act, Emma Peel and Steed, Laurel and Hardy. We were both 49, barely able to believe what we’d achieved: I’d just won a BAFTA for the Paul O’Grady Show, then suddenly bang, he’s gone…

“One day I had this mate who was feisty and on the ball, the next he’s saying to me, ‘What’s this?’ and I realise he’s pointing at a cup.

“We got him in for an MRI scan and waited. When they told us it was brain cancer, I knew this was the end, but somehow we had to get through it,” he told The Mirror.

A few years later, O’Grady recalled their sometimes volatile relationship and told the Daily Mail: “When you’re with someone for 25 years, they’re family.

“We used to fight like cat and dog. We were two Alpha males trying to be top dog. He was a tricky b*****d and I can be tricky too. We’d have real punch-ups. But I’d tell him everything. Suddenly, I was totally on my own,” he told the Daily Mail.

Despite no longer portraying Lily or having Murphy in his life, O’Grady would often reminisce about their time together – posting images on his Instagram account.

One memory saw Lily, Murphy and their friend Regina Fong together on a fun fair ride, leaving O’Grady to caption: “Here’s another Pride Photo from 1992 courtesy of the Gordon Rainsford Archive.

“Here’s Lily with Brendan Murphy, my old flame of 25 years and the shadowy figure on the end draped in veils is Regina Fong who insisted on chaperoning Lily as it wasn’t appropriate for her to be seen unaccompanied with a young man.” (sic)

Over the years, O’Grady would be asked multiple times if he would ever bring Savage back, to which he responded “Good God no, I wouldn’t last five minutes.

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Written by: radioroxi

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