on May 25th 1959 in Surbiton, he was raised in nearby
Teddington, South West London with his two older sisters. A
strong Catholic education by Benedictine monks made him a
very religious youngster. He was an altar boy and a choir
boy and used to enjoy all things to do with his church until
he became aware of his homosexuality. Church then became
'awkward' for him and he would then only attend with his
mother, just to please her.
When Julian was thirteen his tall, glamorous, blonde oldest
sister, Frances, started out on a career as a Tiller Girl.
He was fascinated with her work, her flamboyant costumes,
and the way she used make-up, this probably accounting for
his own campness in later years, although he had always felt
an affinity with the effeminate. Once, when he was five, and
to his father's dismay, he had borrowed a doll's dress and
put it on his toy tiger.
After studying drama at Goldsmith's College for three years
and gaining a degree in Drama and English, he left in 1983.
A variety of jobs, including being a railway guard and doing
singing telegrams, followed. It was around this time that
Julian acquired Fanny the wonderdog. At nineteen he had a
girlfriend for a short time, but she left him and he started
a relationship with a barman at the Old Vic.
up in a kaftan, with beads and a pink wig, he started on the
London comedy circuit as "Gillian Pie-Face". It was not a
success with him being constantly heckled and often booed
off stage. Losing the drag and dressing in PVC and Rubber he
re-invented himself as "The Joan Collins Fan Club". Julian
was happily surviving with this act, doing the rounds with
just himself, his dog, and his suitcase, when he was
'discovered' one night by some producers in the audience.
His debut television appearance was with Channel 4 in
"Cabaret at the Jongleurs" in 1988 where he was billed as
"The Joan Collins' Fan Club" with Fanny the Wonderdog.
A steady stream of work followed and he became known as
Julian Clary having been persuaded to drop the reference to
Joan Collins. In 1993 he compéred the British Comedy Awards
which was being broadcast live. A sexual joke that he made
about the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont,
although greeted with enthusiastic laughter and applause by
the celebrity audience attending, resulted in gross
condemnation of him by the press the following day, some
even calling for him to be banned from television even
though only twelve viewers had been offended enough to
complain out of a viewing audience of more than thirteen
million. Julian escaped to tour Australia, not returning
Julian soon became more popular than ever with the British
public. Acting roles, comedy series, show hosting,
advertisements, guest appearances, and pantomime parts, in
all far too many to mention here have made him a household
name. Could anyone today see or hear him and not know who he
was? The modest, vulnerable, but flamboyant, gay, camp,
loveable, yet often outrageous - Julian Clary.
Julian's faithful companion Fanny, the dog that he rescued
from Battersea dogs home years earlier, shot to fame with
him in 1988 after she appeared alongside him at his TV debut
as The Joan Collin's Fan Club. She was a natural born star
and would often be seen alongside Julian at his
performances. Extensively featured in Julian's books and
with her 'own' production company aptly called "Wonderdog
Productions" the very talented Fanny commanded substantial
fees for cameo appearances.
Fanny lived to a great age. She was nineteen years old when
she passed away peacefully at Julian's parent's home in
Swindon, where she had spent her retirement years. Her ashes
are kept at Julian's London home. More recently Julian
has had an ill-tempered cat: Gloria, and another dog, a
loveable though rather stage-shy black mongrel, called:
Valerie. A neighbour of Paul O'Grady, Clary now lives in a
seven-bedroom farmhouse, not far from Ashford in Kent. A
former owner of the property is said to be Noel Coward.
has had two large format comedy books published: "My Life
With Fanny The Wonder Dog" (1989) and "How To Be A Man"
(1992). He has also published an autobiography: "A Young
Man's Passage" which covers his life up to the Norman Lamont
incident. In 2007 he released his first novel: "Murder Most
Fab", following it two years later, in 2009, with
another one: "Devil in Disguise". See:
complete credits for film, television, radio, and writing
etc are now far too vast (well over 100) to reproduce here.