Lea DeLaria is an American actress, comedian, and jazz musician. She was the first openly, gay comedian, to break the late-night syndicated- show boundary with her 1993 appearance on “The Arsenio Hall Show”. DeLaria appears to have accomplished overnight fame with her two-time SAG Award-winning, breakthrough role as ‘Carrie ‘Huge Boo’ Black’ in the Netflix hit series “Orange is the New Black.”

Early life

DeLaria was born on May 23, 1958, in Belleville, Illinois. She is the daughter of a homemaker, Jerry Jean and a jazz pianist and social worker, Robert George DeLaria. Her fatherly grandparents were Italian. She attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Belleville, from kindergarten till eighth grade.


DeLaria’s stand-up career started in 1982 after she relocates to San Francisco and performed tactless stand-up comedy in the Mission District. In 1986, DeLaria directed “Ten Percent Revue”, a melodic drama with tunes identified with homosexuality. She performed “Ten Percent Revue” in San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Provincetown.

In 1988, DeLaria starred in “Dos Lesbos”, a musical comedy around two lesbians managing the issues of living respectively. The show received exceptional reviews across the country. DeLaria also starred in “Girl Friday: We’re Funny That Way”, a musical comedy, in 1989.

In 1993, Delaria appeared as the principal transparently gay comic on a late-night television show “The Arsenio Hall Show.” DeLaria stated “Hello everybody, my name is Lea DeLaria, and it’s great to be here because it’s the 1990s! It’s hip to be queer! I’m a big dyke.” DeLaria later said she had been informed that she should not have utilized the word dyke on the air. However, Hall defended her, saying, “If she wants to call herself a dyke, that’s her business.”

She hosted “Comedy Central’s Out There”, the first all-gay stand-up comedy special in December 1993. DeLaria is additionally known for her touring ” a musical comedy about perverts,” Dos Lesbos (1987–1989) as well as Girl Friday, a comedy she conceived, composed directed and featured in. Her act earned the 1989 Golden Gull for Best Comedy Group in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

In 1994, DeLaria released a CD recordings of her comedy, “Bulldyke in a China Shop” and “Box Lunch” in 1997. She has likewise composed a humorous book named “Lea’s Book of Rules for the World”.

Lea DeLeria with BUTCH tattoo on her hand

DeLaria showed up as Jane in the 1998 Off Broadway creation of Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, “a gay referring of the Bible. DeLaria subsequently played Eddie and Dr. Scott in the 2000 Broadway restoration of The Rocky Horror Show. DeLaria has also shown up in various movies, such as “Edge of Seventeen” and “The First Wives Club”.

DeLaria coordinates musical performance into her exceptional stand-up comedy, concentrating on traditional and present day be-bop jazz. In 2001 she released a CD of jazz benchmarks called “Play It Cool”. This was trailed by the album “Double Standards” (2003) and “The Very Best of Lea DeLaria” (2008).

In 2001, DeLaria did a voice-over of Helga Phugly on the short-lived, animated sitcom, “The Oblongs”. In 1999, She played the repeating part of Madame Delphina on the ABC soap opera “One Life to Live”. The show returned in 2008 as both Delphina and Professor Delbert Fina. She continued portraying Delphina on a recurring premise until 2011.

In 2008, Warner Records released DeLaria’s first recording “The Live Smoke Sessions”; which concentrate on “timeless pop standards” such as “Night and Day,” “Down With Love,” “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “Love Me or Leave Me”

In November 2008, DeLaria finished a tour of Australia, playing Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide. She additionally collaborates with comedian Maggie Cassella, most eminently on a yearly Christmas men’s club appear in Toronto, Ontario.

In July 2010, DeLaria’s variant of “All That Jazz” was utilized on “So You Think You Can Dance”. She recently performed in Prometheus Bound at The American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On February 14, 2015, DeLaria got the Equality Illinois Freedom Award for her work. On accepting the honor at the 2015 Equality Illinois Gala in Chicago, DeLaria stated, “As an out performer for over 33 years who has made it her life’s work to change people’s perception of butch, queer and LGBT, it is an honor for me to receive such recognition from my home state. I feel I’m doing Belleville proud. Go Maroons!”

Lea DeLeria at the 67th Emmy Award

Other Notable Works

Lea was the vocalist at the 50th Anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival and has performed in probably the most esteemed houses of the world including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony, The Royal Albert Hall, the Sydney Opera House and Hollywood Bowl. Lea has 5 records on the Warner Jazz and Classics name and her book “Lea’s Book of Rules for the World” is in its 3rd printing at Dell and Doubleday.

Some of her other TV credits includes, “Californication,” “Awkward,” “Clarence,”  “One Live to Live,” “The Oblongs,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Will and Grace,” “The Oblongs,”  “Matlock,” “First Wives Club”, “Dear Dumb Diary”, “Edge of Seventeen”, and “Friends”.

DeLaria Engaged to Girlfriend Chelsea Fairless

Personal life

In January 2015, DeLaria became distinctly engaged to fashion editor Chelsea Fairless after more than two years of dating. The two met through their mutual friend, actress Emma Myles, who portrayed Leanne in “Orange is the New Black”. As of 2017, Delaria has an estimated net worth of 2 million dollars.

Not long after the United States Presidential Election, 2016, DeLaria stood out as truly newsworthy with her threats of violence toward Republican and Third Party voters.