Photograph by Ross B. Lewis

Quentin Crisp

(1908 - 1999)

Born Dennis Pratt in 1908, Quentin Crisp determined at an early age to be “not merely a self-confessed homosexual but a self-evident one.” After working as a prostitute and commercial artist, he found his calling as a nude model in government-funded drawing courses. The job, which he held for thirty-five years, inspired the title of his 1968 memoir, The Naked Civil Servant; a television film adaptation, starring John Hurt, brought him fame. Crisp had his phone number listed in the local directories when he lived in New York and London and would talk with anyone who happened to call. He told the New York Times in 1998 that he wanted “a significant death. I don’t want to die and have people say, ‘I thought he was dead already.’” He died less than a year later, shortly before his ninety-first birthday.

Issues Contributed