Transvestite characters on TV

I was watching Drew Carey the other day and it the ep where he found out his brother, Steve, was a transvestite. Eventually, the writers, in their infinite wisdom :rolleyes:, changed this.

It got me to wondering how many other transvestite characters there have been:

Beverly La Salle on All in the Family (albeit on a couple of shows only)

I don’t know if Milton Berle would count. He DID dress as a woman on occassion.

Were there any others?

This would not apply to characters who dressed in the opposite gender’s clothes for a joke or party and so forth.

Well, Brini Maxwell has her own show on the Style network.

There was an episode of one of those legal shows( Ally McBeal?) where a young transvestite had been thrown out by his father, I believe. He may have been beaten up in the story. I didn’t see the episode my satellite wasn’t carrying local stations at that time. So I’m sorry I can’t give more details.

How did they change it?

Would you count Dame Edna?

Eventually, they showed him in “guy” clothes only.

I believe it had something to do with when Steve started dating Mimi. As I recall, she was very much against his dressing as a woman.

The fact that he was no longer a transvestite was explicitly mentioned in an episode where Steve and Mimi were trying, very unsuccsessfully, to get pregnant. Mimi helpfully observed, “Well, you were a cross-dresser for half your life. Maybe all those years of taping it down put a kink in the hose!”

Bosom Buddies comes to mind.

As Dame Edna Everage is a character, I’d think not. While it is an actor in drag, the character is supposed to be female and Barry Humphries who created and plays the character doesn’t walk around as her in his non working time for kicks or to relax as far as I know.

There’s Klinger on MAS*H, but that started as a joke that continued for a few seasons. He was trying to get a Section 8 discharge. I read that originally, the writers were going to have Jamie Farr play the role with a lisp and limp wrists, but thought it would be more funny if he played it “straight.”

In any case, some of Klinger’s outfits were priceless. I’m thinking of the Statue of Liberty one when (IIRC) Eisenhower visited the 4077th.

The downstairs neighbor (who I don’t think was ever seen) on Too Close For Comfort was discovered to have been a transvestite when he died and the Rushes had to clean out the apartment. “So all those strange women we saw leaving (name)'s apartment-” “Were really (name)!”. I’m not thinking of Monroe, played by Jim J Bullock. He lived upstairs.

Twin Peaks: DEA Agent Dennis/Denise Bryson, played by David Duchovny


Previous thread on Brini.

Chandler’s dad.

It was MacArthur.

Denise was not a transvestite. She was a transsexual.

Swoosie Kurtz’s husband from Sisters was a transvestite.

Y’all forgot about RuPaul?

There’s Bobby Cannavale on the last 2 episodes of HBO’s “OZ” as the very sexy cross-dressed Alonzo Torquemada. King of the Night, baby!

Belker on Hill Street Blues dressed as a woman sometimes in the course of his undercover work on Hill Street Blues. For that matter, several of the cops on Barney Miller did as well, most memorably Abe Vigoda.

Please keep in mind that transvestite (Beverly LaSalle on “All in the Family” != transsexual (Denise Bryson on “Twin Peaks” or Jodie Dallas on “Soap”) != drag queen (RuPaul) != cross dresser (Drew’s brother on “Drew Carey”) != men who dress like women for some specific purpose not related to their own identity/gender/sexual satisfaction (Belker on “Hill Street Blues” or Klinger on “MASH”).

Didn’t Jeffrey Tambor’s character on Hill Street Blues go through a period when he was cross dressing?