Paul O’Grady was once asked how he’d like to be remembered. His response is genuinely hilarious

On the left, Paul O'Grady holding a dog wearing a suit and shirt. On the left, his drag persona Lily Savage.

The LGBTQ+ community and entertainment world are mourning the loss of beloved comedian and drag pioneer Paul O’Grady.

O’Grady died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday 28 March at the age 67, according to his husband Andre Portasio.

In a statement, Portasio asked fans to “celebrate his life” and remember his “humour, wit and compassion”.

For the queer community, O’Grady will likely be remembered for his groundbreaking drag persona Lily Savage, who many cite as the first piece of mainstream drag representation on British TV.

He will also be remembered for his razor-sharp wit and scathing takedowns of politicians whose policies he disagreed with.

Paul O'Grady wearing a black suit and bow tie and carrying his National Television Award.
Award-winning comedian Paul O’Grady has died at the age of 67. (Getty/Joe Maher)

O’Grady himself, however, had a very specific answer when asked by The Guardian in 2021 about what he would most like to be remembered for.

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“How would you like to be remembered?” the interviewer questioned.

“I don’t care, because I won’t be here,” he retorted.

If ever there was a classic O’Grady response to a question, it’s right there.

Despite enduring several health issues in the past, O’Grady had previously shared that he wasn’t “at all” afraid of dying.

The comedian suffered several heart attacks and heart issues in the noughties and early 2010s, and contracted a virus in 2017 after petting a stray dog while filming his TV series For The Love Of Dogs In India.

On the left, Paul O'Grady holding a dog wearing a suit and shirt. On the left, his drag persona Lily Savage.
Paul O’Grady and Lily Savage gave us endless best moments. (Getty/ Mark Cuthbert/Mirrorpix)

Speaking to The Mirror in 2017, O’Grady revealed that he was at peace with dying.

“I’m not scared of death at all,” he said. “It’s the way you die that worries me – that’s the fear. I think I could lie there on my deathbed and say, ‘well I’ve had a good time and filled a book. I’ve done everything I wanted to do’.”

In 2013, aged 58, O’Grady shared touching words as he reflected on his own experiences of ill health.

 “I do count my blessings. I have had two heart attacks, and if I get to 60 that will be amazing. I don’t fear anything nowadays,” he told The Mirror.

“There has to be an angel out there. They are trying to steer me out of trouble 24 hours a day.”

Tributes are continuing to flood in from celebrities and LGBTQ+ activists, as the world reflects on Paul O’Grady and Lily Savage’s very best moments.

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