Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard

Date of birth: 07-02-1962
Born in Yemen, Eddie Izzard - who prefers to use female pronouns - moved to Northern Ireland at the age of about two, then to south Wales in 1967. The comic's mother died of cancer in March 1968, when Izzard was six, and she has frequently cited her early death as a reason for going into stand-up.

She began as a street performer in the Eighties, having been being kicked off an accountancy course at Sheffield University, and then moved into the stand-up circuit. Her first appearance at The Comedy Store was in 1987.

She was nominated for the Perrier in 1991, and in 1993, was named top stand-up at the British Comedy Award for Live At The Ambassadors – which was also nominated for an Oliver theatre award. She scooped the same British Comedy Award three years later for Definite Article.

She followed that up with the shows Glorious and Dress To Kill, which was to prove a breakthrough in America. First performed in 1997, it aired on HBO two years later, winning two Emmy Awards for performance and writing. In 2000, she cemented her reputation in the US by touring the country with the show Circle.

Alongside her comedy, Izzard has developed a straight acting career, that has spanned TV, film and stage.

In 1994, Izzard made her West End drama debut as the lead in David Mamet's The Cryptogram. Izzard portrayed Lenny Bruce in the 1999 revival of Julian Barry's biographical play Lenny, and two years later starred in another West End revival, A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg – a role she reprised on Broadway in 2003, earning a Tony Award nomination.

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Izzard is also passionate about issues including history, European integration and the environment and has stated an ambition to go into politics.

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Eddie Izzard: Call me 'she'

Fans praise comic for switching pronouns

comedyFans and fellow comics are congratulating Eddie Izzard for switching to female pronouns.

Last week, contestants on Sky Arts’s Portrait Artist Of The Year, used the words ‘she’ and ‘her’ to describe the 58-year-old comic.

She said on the show: 'I'm gender fluid. I just want to be based in girl mode from now on' – adding that it 'feels very positive' to use the female pronouns.

And the news has filtered through to social media, where fans  have posted supportive messages.

Shappi Khorsandi said: ‘I see Eddie Izzard is trending. I can’t tell you what she means to me as a comic. Rocked my comedy world when I was a teen and beyond. Changed everything, made room. I love her and this morning I’m very happy for her. ‘

Fellow comic Sofie Hagen tweeted: ‘I’ve been reading people’s reactions to Eddie Izzard using she/her pronouns and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this collective gender euphoria we all feel towards her. Either because we feel represented, because we know how freeing it feels saying it out loud or just because we’re nice people.’

While Izzard was subject to inevitable trolling, other comments included: ‘Just discovered Eddie Izzard now uses she/her pronouns.love you Eddie, thanks for being a trail blazer’; ‘Eddie Izzard is the first comic I ever saw live and also one of the first people with a public presence who made me feel kind of ok about being a queer kid who wasn't sure where I fit in and I am so so happy for her’; and ‘Eddie Izzard has always been, and will always be, a trans legend of epic proportions. Can't wait to see what she does next.’

Izzard’s new pronoun preference first came to light last year, when the comic picked up an honorary degree from Swansea University.

At the time she told The Mail On Sunday: ’When I’m in girl mode I am happy to be known as "she" and when I’m in boy-mode, I am happy to be known as "he" But I am equally happy to be referred to as Eddie or "Hey mate".’

Izzard long identified as a transvestite, and variously performed in traditionally female and male clothing from her early days on the circuit, but more latterly has called herself simply ‘trans’.

Portrait Artist Of The Year is repeated on Sky Arts at 4pm today.

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Published: 20 Dec 2020

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