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The BBC's Torin Douglas
"A great British eccentric"
 real 28k

Quentin Crisp
"In England no-one is your friend"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jonathan Ali
"Crisp was becoming increasingly frail"
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Sunday, 21 November, 1999, 22:58 GMT
Quentin Crisp dies
Quentin Crisp: Gay icon

The flamboyant writer, actor and homosexual rights campaigner Quentin Crisp has been found dead at a house in Manchester.

No flowers. No long faces standing around in the rain, staring down into a hole while someone drones on about how wonderful I was
Quentin Crisp
The 90-year-old great British eccentric, who lived in New York, was taken to the Manchester Royal Infirmary where he was pronounced dead. Police say that there were no suspicious circumstances.

Crisp was due to appear at the Green Room theatre in Manchester on Monday in a one-man show which was supposed to then tour the country.

A spokesman for the Manchester theatre said the house where Crisp died was owned by "a friend of the theatre".

Patrick Newley, Crisp's close friend and press agent throughout most of the 1980s, said he would still be alive if he had not undertaken the tour.

The performer, who would have been 91 on Christmas Day, had been reluctant to take the role but felt incapable of saying no, said Mr Newley.

The young Quentin Crisp
"I am very sorry indeed to hear of his death and sadly shocked because when I spoke to Quentin roughly two or three weeks ago in New York he was clearly not happy about coming over for the tour," he said.

"At his age it was too much. I rather think he might still be alive if he had not come across here".

In one of his final interviews, with The Times newspaper, Crisp, who has described England as a "merciless place", conceded this could be his last visit to Britain because he did not think he would ever be strong enough to make the journey again.

Asked whether he had made any arrangements for his funeral, given his age, he said: "No flowers. No candles. No long faces standing around in the rain, staring down into a hole in the ground while someone drones on about how wonderful I was.

"I'd rather be shuffled off. Just drop me into one of those black plastic bags and leave me by the trash can."

Renowned for his sharp wit and flamboyant clothes, Crisp became a gay icon with his 1968 book The Naked Civil Servant, the story of a young homosexual man in the less tolerant Britain of the 1930s.

The self-described "Stately Homo of England" and his cramped, cluttered bedsit on Manhattan's Lower East Side, has been recreated in a play Resident Alien, which is running at London's Bush Theatre.

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21 Nov 99 |  UK
Crisp: The naked civil servant

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