Flamboyant gay celebrities raked in the cash as entertainers for decades, some openly gay and some avoiding or denying their sexuality.
Here’s where we think they rank from one to ten for flamboyance.
Flamboyant Gay Celebrities 1 to 10
There is flamboyant and then there is Liberace!
Born in 1919 in a working-class area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to immigrant parents, Wladziu Valentino Liberace may have humble beginnings but this child prodigy pianist would go on to become the highest-paid entertainer in the world.
And undoubtedly, one of the most fabulous and flamboyant celebrities of all time!
Known as Mr Showmanship, Liberace was famous for his countless over-the-top costumes, excessively long fur coats, his mirror-ball styled Rolls Royce, and expensive rings on every finger.
Even off stage, Liberace’s life was the epitome of flamboyant excess.
His mansions were famously decadent, and his love life was the stuff of scandalous court cases and tabloid rumours for decades. Sadly Liberace died of an AIDS-related illness in 1987.
#2 Elton John
Elton John, born Reginald Dwight, is one of the most successful singers in musical history.
Over his five-decade career, he sold over 300 million records. He is known around the world for his lavish lifestyle and some of the best stage costumes ever seen.
He started his career in crazy glasses, feather-trimmed jackets, and platform shoes. By the 90s Elton was getting around in full baroque brilliance a la Louis XIV of France with a wig so big that he needed a team of helpers to assist him to put on the headpiece.
#3 Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury is the very definition of a superstar.
As the front man for British glam rock group Queen, Mercury was highly theatrical and adorned in everything from lycra to leather.
In 1984, he famously performed I Want to Break Free in full drag.
He was known for leading a decadent and hedonistic lifestyle. However, he became reclusive in the last few years of his life.
Mercury revealed to the world that he had AIDS one day before his death in 1991.
#4 Oscar Wilde
Queen Victoria’s England in the latter half of the 19th Century is synonymous with social conservatism and repressed sexuality.
That is, of course, unless your name is Oscar Wilde! Writer, poet and all-round fabulous dandy, Oscar Wilde was witty, charming, and one of the best-known personalities of his day.
At the height of his success, Wilde became embroiled in a very public court case with the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of his young male lover. Found guilty of gross indecency, the judge sentenced Wilde to imprisonment for 2 years.
#5 Boy George
The 1980s was all about flamboyance but even in the crazy world of pop music, Boy George stood out.
As the lead singer of Culture Club, Boy George became known for his androgynous, gender-bending appearance which pushed the boundaries of an unsuspecting public.
In the years after Culture club Boy George remained in the public eye for his drug addictions and conviction for false imprisonment of a male prostitute.
He has since turned his life around and now DJs around the world including at last year’s Big Gay Day at the Wickham Hotel.
#6 Julian Clary
Comedian Julian Clary is pretty out there.
Sporting an emphasised campness and outrageous costumes, Clary aimed to shock audiences by saying and doing the things that audiences didn’t think anybody could say or do.
In the 1990s, British newspaper The Sun launched a campaign to have Clary banned from television after he made jokes about fisting.
Audiences, however, loved him all the more for it, even voting him as the winner of the 2012 Celebrity Big Brother.
#7 David Bowie
OK so Bowie isn’t gay, he’s bisexual – however, we will include him on the list anyway.
Bowie and his alter ego Ziggy Stardust spearheaded the glam rock era often credited with bringing camp glamour to the mainstream.
Over his career, Bowie reinvented himself a number of times with his every new incarnation becoming a style icon.
Marriages to supermodels and rumoured affairs with Mick Jagger also added to his flamboyant mystique.
#8 Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol never looked very flamboyant. In fact, he looked somewhat dull and unassuming. The life that he led, however, was anything but.
Warhol is the face of pop art. His life’s work seemed dedicated to both celebrating and satirizing the dizzying world of celebrity and all things popular and glamourous.
Warhol’s New York studio, known as ‘The Factory’, hosted lavish parties attended by the city’s wealthiest socialites and flamboyant celebrities.
#9 Rudolf Nureyev
One of the world’s most lauded ballet dancers, Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union in 1961. He felt the West offered more opportunity both professionally and personally.
Known for being a bit precious, Nureyev was prone to temper tantrums at a whim. However, he was able to calm himself while partying with fellow flamboyant celebrities like Liza Minnelli and Andy Warhol.
#10 Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert might still be relatively new to the public eye compared to the others on the list. However, he has achieved a lot in a short period.
Winner of American Idol, Lambert revived glam rock in recent years with his out loud and proud theatrical performance style.
Impressed by his stage presence, Queen’s surviving members invited Lambert to take on arguably the toughest assignment in music.
They asked him to fill the shoes of the late Freddie Mercury as part of Queen’s world tour.
Lambert won critical acclaim for his efforts honouring Mercury while maintaining his own style.
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