My idol, comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, celebrated his 65th birthday on November 23rd. I wish him a happy one! My God, Buddy Beaverhausen would be so much different if it wasn't for the influence of six-time Emmy Award winner Vilanch.
We're both Jersey boys; in fact, we both grew up in Paterson, NJ. It's even feasible our paths may have crossed though, naturally, he's much older than moi. Bruce is also an accomplished songwriter and performer; a triple threat. He writes for the Oscars, Tonys, Grammys, Emmys. He makes presenters sound amusing when they read their cue cards.
He was an adopted child by Dr. Jonas Vilanch, an optometrist, and his wife Henne, who, having her own theatrical aspirations, helped Bruce's show business career by getting him signed on with Lane Bryant's Charming Chub division as a chubby child model. But chubby model wasn't what Bruce had in mind for the future. "I was going to be Neil Simon, batting out one Broadway show after another," Vilanch said of his aspirations as a teen.
His career began by writing comedy reviews at The Chicago Tribune. He later met Bette Midler in her early cabaret days. They became friends and Bruce later wrote comedy material for Midler's 1974 Broadway show, Clams on the Half Shell Revue and co-wrote 1980's Divine Madness.
He has written for Whoopi Goldberg, Roseanne Barr, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and many more. Openly gay, his sensibilities have infused America's entertainment scene with wit, camp, dish and high comedy.
He's written songs, most notably for Eartha Kitt, and appeared on Broadway as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray.
So, today I bow to him in honor of his birthday. Bruce Vilanch is God, trademark shagtastic blonde hair and red glasses and all! Happy Birthday, Bruce!