Entertainer Danny La Rue died after a short illness on Sunday night, his spokeswoman has confirmed.

The 81-year-old legendary female impersonator had been suffering from cancer.

His spokeswoman said yesterday: "Danny died peacefully in his sleep just before midnight last night after a short illness. His beloved companion Annie Galbraith was with him at their home in Kent."

La Rue enjoyed a glittering career for some 60 years and was once described by Noel Coward as: "The most professional, the most witty... and the most utterly charming man in the business."
Bob Hope is also said to have called him: "The most glamorous woman in the world."

La Rue was born Daniel Patrick Carroll in Cork, the youngest in a family of five. Aged nine, he was brought to England where the family settled initially in London.

He was evacuated to Devon during the Blitz and worked in a store in Exeter after leaving school aged 15. The star worked in cabaret alongside Barbara Windsor when first starting out.

He opened his own nightclub in Hanover Square in 1964, attracting well over 13,000 members.

On the West End stage he triumphed in seven major shows including ‘Come Spy With Me’ at the Whitehall Theatre, ‘The Danny La Rue Show‘ at the Prince of Wales theatre, and ‘Aladdin’ at the London Palladium.

In early 2006 he suffered a mild stroke and planned UK performances were cancelled.