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Bros actor Everett Quinton dies aged 71: ‘He was magnetic’

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Everett Quinton attends the opening night after party of "Devil Boys From Beyond" at Firebird Restaurant on November 13, 2010 in New York City

Tributes have been paid to gay Bros actor and drag theatre legend, Everett Quinton, a “trailblazer, a genius, and an inspiration”, who has died aged 71. 

The cause and date of Quinton’s death is currently unknown. 

Quinton, who was in 2022 movie Bros – the first major studio rom-com with an all-LGBTQ+ cast – as Melvin Funk, lived a flamboyant life rooted in theatre as a mainstay of New York City’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company. 

TheatrMania reported that Quinton was the lover of Ridiculous founder Charles Ludlam, who died in 1987, after which Quinton succeeded him as artistic director, a post he held for a decade. 

The pair met in 1975, after which Quinton told David Kaufman, author of Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam: “I lost his phone number.”

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(L-R) Paul Pecorino, Everett Quinton, Andy Halliday and Chris Dell’Armo attend the opening night of “Devil Boys From Beyond” at New World Stages on November 13, 2010 in New York City. (Michael Stewart/WireImage/Getty)

Thankfully fate had other ideas.

“I ran into him the following August, and the first thing he said to me was, ‘So you’re not a dream! You do exist!’ And that’s when we became lovers,” he added.

Ludlum, who often performed in drag, proclaimed: “You are a living mockery of your own ideals. If not, you have set your ideals too low.” 

The Ridiculous Theatrical Company was a cornerstone of off-off-Broadway and it placed a high value on irreverence, comedy, and showmanship. 

Its most famous show was The Mystery of Irma Vep, a parody of gothic tales, which Ludlam wrote, and he and Quinton played every role in its premiere production in 1984. 

Quinton told TheaterMania: “The Ridiculous is theatre of rage.

“It’s at odds with the world. It comes out fighting against a system that is stultifying.”

Everett Quinton directing "The Importance of being Earnest"
Everett Quinton directing “The Importance of being Earnest” with Tymberlee Chanel as Cecily Cardew (right) and Susan Lynskey as Gwendolyn Fairfax. (left) (Gerald Martineau/The The Washington Post via Getty Images)

During his career at the theatre he directed and starred in a revival of Irma Vep, and many other shows, including Conquest of the Universe and The Artificial Jungle

He also had several film and TV credits. 

Movies in which he has starred in include the 1994 Natural Born Killers, where he played deputy Warden Wurlitzer, 2000’s Pollock, where he appeared as as James Johnson Sweeney, and last year’s Bros as Melvin Funk.

He had also acted in TV episodes of  Law & Order, Nurse Jackie, The Louise Log, and more.

“His influence on generations of queer theatre artists (and those with merely queer sensibilities) is incalculable,” TheaterMania reported.

‘Gone out like the gay legend he is’

On social media tributes have been paid to the queer star, with author Benjamin Dreyer, writing: “I’m sorry to read of the death of Everett Quinton, a great artist of the theater and a nice fellow to run into a lot and chat with back in the day.” 

“Everett Quinton has gone out like the gay legend he is,” Mark Harris wrote. 

He added: “A brilliant, joyous performer without whom the history of gay theater can’t be written. RIP.” 

Another tribute posted by filmmaker, Julia  Campanelli, read: “Goodbye dear friend.

“Everett Quinton has left the stage. Theatre has lost a legend. You made the world a brighter place. You will shine forever. I love you.” 

New York City-based actor, Miles Purinton, wrote: “RIP Everett Quinton. This one really hurts. One of my favourite actors.”

Writer Lawrence Block wrote: “Remembering Everett Quinton, as brilliant an actor as I’ve ever known.”, while author Michael Vaughn said: “Wow. I learned my friend Everett Quinton died. He was a legend. 

“I recall us having dinner and him telling me stories about him filming Natural Born Killers, and stuff about Stone I probably shouldn’t repeat. Drama desk winner, writer, playwright, actor and more RIP.” 

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