Alan Carr shares Paul O’Grady’s hilarious quip about going to heaven made shortly before his death

Alan Carr Paul O'Grady

Comedian Alan Carr has revealed the hilarious last conversation he had with the late Paul O’Grady.

The queer community and beyond have come together to share their tributes to O’Grady, who died “unexpectedly but peacefully” on Tuesday (28 March), aged 67.

Among those paying their respects were RuPaul, Danny Beard and even the Royal Family. Now, close friend and fellow TV star Alan Carr has joined in to share O’Grady’s thoughts about going to heaven.

Taking to Instagram, Carr described his pal as a “true one-off” and shared a snap of himself and O’Grady with his 1.2 million followers.

“Having dinner with Paul O’Grady was the closest any of us would get to having dinner with [US poet and critic] Dorothy Parker or Truman Capote,” Carr wrote. “He would have you in hysterics regaling showbiz anecdotes and quips from Marlene Dietrich to Cilla Black [and from] The Royals to the Disappointer Sisters – it seemed he knew everyone.”

Carr then revealed the response he got recently after asking O’Grady whether he thought he’d go to heaven after his death, to which the drag superstar replied: “I hope not, I won’t know anyone.”

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Fans and contemporaries have flooded Carr’s comments with further appreciation for the showbiz legend, including Dawn French and Claudia Winkleman, both of whom left simple heart emojis.

“What an amazing last quote, legendary,” added radio DJ Will Manning.

Pop duo Jedward wrote that they were “sending strength and love”.

Before O’Grady’s career led him to host his own chat show and Blind Date, he became a household name in the 1990s as his acid-tongued drag alter-ego Lily Savage on Blankety Blank.

Not only did the queen become a part of an important part of British pop culture, but Savage also provided vital visibility for thousands of LGBTQ+ Brits, who were able to see a joyful and unapologetic gay man perform queer art in the comfort of their own homes.

The quiz show, which younger queer audiences may recognise as the inspiration for RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s Snatch Game, featured Savage as its host from 1997 to 1999 on the BBC, then from 2001 to 2002 after it moved to ITV.

Paul O'Grady (left) on a red carpet and as Lily Savage (right)
Paul O’Grady and his legendary drag alter-ego Lily Savage. (Getty)

O’Grady enjoyed further mainstream success with Savage in a variety of projects, each one as subversive as the last.

He hosted Live from the Lilydrome on Channel 4, played the role of Nancy in Oliver! at the London Palladium and presented an episode of Top of the Pops.

While hosting Lie-in with Lily, a celebrity interview show which drew in more than two million viewers, Savage reportedly ignored the suggested questions written by the crew, instead asking personal questions of his guests.

O’Grady would also later appear as Savage on Richard and Judy and Ready, Steady, Cook.

Alan Carr Paul O'Grady
Alan Carr and Paul O’Grady on Alan Carr: Chatty Man. (Open Mike Productions)

Also a figurehead off screen, O’Grady enjoyed an eight-year residency at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern, where he was also famously arrested in 1986 during a homophobic police raid, during which the officers wore rubber gloves – supposedly to stop them catching HIV.

In 2021, he recalled the incident, saying: “I remember saying something like, ‘Well, well, it looks like we’ve got help with the washing up.’”

O’Grady is survived by his husband and former professional ballet dancer Andre Portasio, and his daughter Sharon, who he shared with close friend Diane Jansen.

In a statement, Portasio said: “He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion. I know he would want me to thank you for all the love you have shown him over the years.”