- Mini Bio
- Name: Quentin Crisp
- Born: 25th December 1908, Sutton, Surrey, England
- Died: 21st November 1999, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, England
- Occupation: Actor, writer, raconteur and artists model
- Height: 5' 11" (1.8 m)
- Famous for: Starring in The Naked Civil Servant, a bio movie based on his autobiography written by Crisp in 1968
- Trivia: He was anti 'Gay Liberation' and was once quoted as saying to gay activist Peter Tatchell:
"What do you want liberation from? What is there to be proud of? I don't believe in rights for homosexuals"
"The British do not expect happiness..... They do not want to be happy, they want to be right"Quentin Crisp
"The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this problem by defying their elders and copying each other"Quentin Crisp
"I have come to think that both sex and politics are a mistake and that any attempt to establish a connection between the two is the greatest error of all"Quentin Crisp
"Hopelessness was thinly spread like a drizzle over my whole outlook. But, in an emergency, I could not find a puddle of despondency deep enough to drown in"Quentin Crisp
"Exhibitionism is like a drug. Hooked in adolescence I was now taking doses so massive they would have killed a novice"Quentin Crisp
"Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically - for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist - but then what isn't?"Quentin Crisp
"Look inward and ask not if there is anything outside you want, but whether there is anything inside that you have not yet unpacked"Quentin Crisp
"For flavour, instant sex will never supersede the stuff you have to peel and cook"Quentin Crisp
"Some roughs are really queer, and some queers are really rough"Quentin Crisp
"I don't think you can really be proud of being gay because it isn't something you've done. You can only be proud of not being ashamed"Quentin Crisp
"Fashion is a way of not having to decide who you are. Style is deciding who you are and being able to perpetuate it"Quentin Crisp
"To my disappointment I now realized that to know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody"Quentin Crisp
"Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven"Quentin Crisp
"An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last chapter missing"Quentin Crisp
"Bit by bit, I was becoming the almost acceptable face of homosexuality"Quentin Crisp
"Posing was the first job I did in which I understood what I was doing"Quentin Crisp
"Life was a funny thing that happened to me on the way to the grave"Quentin Crisp
"The most anyone can expect from a holiday is a change of agony"Quentin Crisp
"In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast"Quentin Crisp
"I became one of the stately homos of England"Quentin Crisp
"A pinch of notoriety will do"Quentin Crisp
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Quentin Crisp Biography
Quentin Crisp grew up in a London quite different from today and suffered terribly from the homophobic views that society held during the most of the 20th century.
Born in 1908 in the leafy Surrey suburb of Sutton (south London), however he found life was anything but sweet surburbia for anyone that displayed effeminacy so Crisp decided from his early twenties he was going to enlighten the world as to the existence of homosexuality in society.
Crisp dyed his long hair, wore nail varnish to top off his cross dressing and over effeminate ways in public. He became a male prostitute and in the late 1940's he embarked on a 30 year career as a nude model offering his services to numerous art colleges around London and the home counties.
He had written 3 short books by the time he penned his autobiography The Naked Civil Servant. A dramatisation of his autobiography gained critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic and Crisp decided to move to New York to earn a living as a successful theatre raconteur.
Shocking him was nigh on impossible as he always had a witty response to most situations which gave rise to some wonderful one liners, so this is my compilation of 21 of the best Quentin Crisp quotes.
Quotes About Quentin Crisp
Sting wrote this immortal line about Crisp in his song 'An Englishman In New York':
"It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile. Be yourself no matter what they say"
Sting went on to say:
"Quentin is a hero of mine, someone I know very well. He is gay and he was gay at a time in history when it was dangerous to be so. He had people beating up on him on a daily basis, largely with the consent of the public"
The poet James Kirkup paid him this tribute:
"He was a butterfly broken on the wheel of British sexual humbug. But in the end, it was the wheel, not Quentin, that broke"
The novelist Bernard Cops described him thus:
"Quentin made people revise their prejudices and preconceptions in a way that was marvellous. He was a pioneer, the John Logie Baird of camp"
The human rights activist Peter Tatchell was impressed to say:
"He was very much an old school stereotypical camp homosexual but there is no doubt about his courage in coming out and his bravery in flaunting his effeminacy. Prior to decriminalisation it was a very difficult and dangerous thing to do"