Paul O'Grady says Charlton Heston flirted with his drag persona Lily Savage

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2 min read
Paul O'Grady says Charlton Heston tried to chat up Lily Savage. (Credit: Peter Jordan/PA Images via Getty Images/M. Caulfield/WireImage)
Paul O'Grady says Charlton Heston tried to chat up Lily Savage. (Credit: Peter Jordan/PA Images via Getty Images/M. Caulfield/WireImage)

Paul O'Grady has revealed that Hollywood icon Charlton Heston once flirted with him while he was in his Lily Savage drag persona.

The comic said on his BBC Radio 2 show that he met the Planet of the Apes actor at an Oscars after party in the 1990s. 

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O'Grady was dressed as his drag persona, which had gained mainstream attention in the 1990s and led to hosting gigs as Lily on shows like The Big Breakfast and Blankety Blank.

He said: "I was at the buffet helping myself and [Heston] came over and started chatting away. I'm chatting back and blah blah blah and he was very, very friendly. 

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"When Charlton Heston walked off, Robin Williams came over and said: 'He's got a shine on you. He thinks you're a woman'.

"Every time Charlton saw me, I got a wink and a nod, and I gave him a wink and a nod back and I thought: 'I'm on here, I hope he's got his chariot outside'."

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O'Grady said he later quipped about the situation to a Channel 4 producer, saying: "Yes, picked up at a buffet by Chuck Heston and I had a sausage roll in my hand at the time."

The Liverpudlian comic began to move away from the Savage persona in the early noughties, hosting a chat show as himself rather than his alter ego.

He won multiple awards, including a BAFTA, for The Paul O'Grady Show and has more recently earned acclaim for hosting For the Love of Dogs — a behind the scenes look at Battersea Dog's Home.

Paul O'Grady during the National Television Awards held at The O2 Arena on January 22, 2019. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Paul O'Grady during the National Television Awards held at The O2 Arena on January 22, 2019. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Heston was an icon of classic Hollywood, known for his work in Ben-Hur — for which he won an Oscar — as well as Soylent Green and The Greatest Story Ever Told.

He was also an outspoken advocate of conservative politics, serving five terms as president of the National Rifle Association until he stepped aside following his diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease.

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Heston passed away in 2008 at the age of 84.

In his later years, he appeared as an interviewee in Michael Moore's 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine, defending gun rights in a controversial interview some saw as an unfair ambush of an elderly man.

Watch: Charlton Heston's son shares stories about his dad