Fast Facts

  • Became interested in comedy as a child in Catholic school, where she learned how to make the nuns laugh to avoid beatings.
  • Started singing gigs with her jazz pianist father in nightclubs at age 12.
  • In 1987, she emceed the Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
  • Her appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1993 was the first time an out gay comedian appeared on a late night talk show.
  • Debut comedy album, Bulldyke in a Chinashop, was released in 1994.
  • Released her first jazz album, Play it Cool, in 2001.
  • The part of Big Boo on Orange Is The New Black was specifically written for her, after she originally auditioned for a role as a prison guard.
  • Lost 50 pounds after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2015.


  • 2014, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Winner


  • Mary Elizabeth Feltman — Sister
  • Bradle DeLaria — Brother
  • Richard DeLaria — Brother
  • Thana — Sister
  • Jerry Jean DeLaria — Mother
  • Chelsea Fairless — Fiancée
  • Robert DeLaria — Father
  • Jennifer Foley — Ex-significant Other


  • Birth Place: Belleville, Illinois, United States
  • Birthday: May 23, 1958, Gemini
  • Profession: Actor, Comedian, Singer
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