Women we love: Lea DeLaria
Although probably now best known for her role as Big Boo on hit TV show Orange is the New Black, Lea DeLaria has been a star of stage and screen for decades.
Born in 1958 in Illinois, DeLaria began her professional life as a stand-up comedian.
It was 1982 when DeLaria moved to San Francisco to pursue her comedy. Her sexuality and identity as a big butch dyke formed part of her on-stage persona from the beginning.
Music has also been a theme running throughout DeLaria’s career. Making the move into musical comedy and Broadway productions.
As well as stage and screen appearances, DeLaria has released a number of recordings of jazz standards, and has toured extensively with her music.
It was 2013 when DeLaria hit the screens in Orange Is The New Black.
DeLaria received the Equality Illinois Freedom Award in 2015 for her work as “a cutting-edge performer who has used her talent to entertain and enlighten millions of Americans”.
When she received the award, DeLaria said: “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 honour for me to receive such recognition from my home state.”