From altar boy to drag queen, comedian Paul O'Grady knows a thing or two about transformation, and his relentlessly adventurous performer's spirit has led to a career as spirited and varied as his private life. Born with Irish heritage and an English address in Birkenhead, Cheshire, O'Grady lived a picturesque childhood performing his aforementioned altar boy duties, serving as a Boy Scout, attending private school and worshiping "Batman" and "Popeye". During high school, however, O'Grady suffered an identity crisis, rebelling against his parents and suffering from sexual confusion. At age 16, he joined the Oxton dramatic society The Carlton Players, nurturing his love of all things theatrical. He continued his rebellious ways by experimenting with drugs and exploring his sexual freedom, but his hard living caught up with him at age 18 when he suffered a heart attack--and that same year, he learned that his friend Diane was pregnant with his child. Under the stress of adult responsibility, O'Grady fled and traveled throughout Europe. In 1985, after his return to England, he debuted his legendary drag character, Lily Savage, performing throughout the gay scene in London. The flamboyant character soon gained a commercial presence after appearances on shows like the ITV morning program "The Big Breakfast". O'Grady performed as Savage until he retired the character in 2004, appearing as himself on his own TV chat show, "The Paul O'Grady Show", and venturing to character work (including his role as Ray on the 2003 comedy series, "Eyes Down").