Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Passes, Glasses and Dresses

Source: Rue La La
Wearing A.L.C.

Laverne Cummings
Laverne Cummings, professional femulator extraordinaire


  1. Laverne Cummings was a truly gorgeous and fabulous female impersonator in the classic style of the 50's and 60's. Her femulation was impeccable as she truly became feminine on stage. Not like the over-the-top drag artists we see today. I only know her from pictures and youtube videos, but I wish I'd had the privilege of seeing her in person.

  2. Laverne Cummings was did not do drag, she was a female impersonator. She looked like a woman, carried herself as a woman, moved like a woman and sang like a woman. She was always "live", no lip synch for her.

    I first encountered Laverne when I was 14 in an old theater (now long gone) on 9th Street, NW Washington, DC. I had only seen pictures of Trans women, female impersonators and drag queens in publications. One day I was on a bus heading to the National Mall when I thought I saw posters showing female impersonators. I got off at the next stop and headed to the theater, where I saw ads for The Jewel Box Revue. Using a Washington Senators night game as a "cover", I went to the show the following Saturday. I was in sensory overload -- look at all those beautiful girls! And there was this one girl who outshone all of them. The featured star was named Laverne Cummings. She was fabulously beautiful and her hair was amazing. I was to find out it was her own long hair. I was in love. What a voice, what stage presence. It was very hard to get it through my thick skull that this was a female impersonator, not a real woman. I'll never forget that night.

    I went to work for Hewlett-Packard in 1976. They're based in Palo Alto (among dozens of places) and I traveled out there from DC a lot of times. On my second trip out I managed to get some individual free time. I headed to San Francisco, a great place for tourists, to finally check out the famous Finocchio's. My chin hit the floor when I got there and saw who the star of the show was -- Laverne Cummings. It was 22 years since I saw her, but that image still burned bright in my memory. She was still beautiful, her voice was still the lovely soprano I remembered and she carried herself like a woman, just as a great female impersonator should do. I was in heaven. I stayed for all the shows and drove down to my hotel in Cupertino bleary-eyed. I went to see her many times until her retirement in 1982. She told me, "When a girl gets to 55, it gets harder and harder to keep up her beautiful image. I did manage to talk with her a few times, and even took her to dinner before a show once. She made zero modifications to her body. She never thought about living as the beautiful woman we saw at Finocchio's. Laverne Cummings was the best ever!

  3. There's a video on YouTube of a much older male version of Laverne Cummings, who doesn't look anything like the younger version. There's also a clip of Laverne Cummings performing in an old TV show (Streets of San Francisco?).