Gay Actor Everett Quinton, of Irma Vep & Bros Fame, Dead at 71

Gay actor Everett Quinton, a mainstay of New York City’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company, has died at age 71.

No information on the cause or date of death was reported.

Quinton was the partner in life and art of Ridiculous founder Charles Ludlam, who died in 1987, after which Quinton succeeded him as artistic director, a post he held for 10 years, TheaterMania reports.

“A cornerstone of off-off-Broadway, the Ridiculous placed a high value on irreverence, comedy, and showmanship,” with Ludlam and other performers often appearing in drag, the site notes. Its most famous show was The Mystery of Irma Vep, a parody of gothic tales. Ludlam wrote it, and he and Quinton played every role in its premiere production in 1984, “performing jaw-dropping quick-changes in the high theatrical style the Ridiculous did so well,” according to TheaterMania.

Quinton and Ludlam first met in a hookup in 1975, but after that, “I lost his phone number,” Quinton told David Kaufman, author of Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam. “I ran into him the following August, and the first thing he said to me was, ‘So you’re not a dream! You do exist!’ And that’s when we became lovers.”

Quinton joined the troupe as a wardrobe and wig manager, then began acting in Ludlam’s plays. After the company closed in 1997 — a victim of high rents and the loss of many theater artists to AIDS — Quinton carried on its traditions elsewhere.

“The Ridiculous is theater of rage,” Quinton told TheaterMania in 2014. “It’s at odds with the world. It comes out fighting against a system that is stultifying.”

He directed and starred in a revival of Irma Vep, and he also directed revivals of other Ridiculous shows, such as Conquest of the Universe and The Artificial Jungle. He appeared in other productions as well, including an obscure Tennessee Williams play, Now the Cats With Jeweled Claws, alongside Mink Stole, a star of many John Waters films.

Additionally, he had several film and TV credits. His movies included Natural Born Killers, Pollock, and last year’s Bros (as Melvin Funk). On television, he acted in episodes of Law & Order, Nurse Jackie, The Louise Log, and more.

“His influence on generations of queer theater artists (and those with merely queer sensibilities) is incalculable,” TheaterMania concludes.