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That Time John Waters Saw Angela Lansbury in Queer-Friendly Sex Club

John Waters, Angela Lansbury
Everett Collection/Shutterstock, s_bukley/Shutterstock

The story is recirculating in the wake of her death.


John Waters is spilling the tea on an unexpected place he claims to have once run into Angela Lansbury — a queer-friendly sex club.

He originally told the story prior to Lansbury’s death, as part of a memoir he published in 2019. In Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, the director described the club, Hellfire, as a “dungeon-like sex club” and noted that it was a place for both gay and straight people to come and either hang out or get busy.

“Everybody went. She wasn’t doing anything,” he wrote. “You would be standing there talking about the new novel of Alain Robbe-Grillet, and a [penis] would come through the glory hole and then you just move down [somewhere else].”

Waters also shared that Lansbury was far from the only celebrity he saw pass through Hellfire in the 1980s, and made it pretty clear there wasn’t anything scandalous about it at the time.

“You might be sitting there talking to somebody and look down and someone’s licking your shoe. You just kick them away. But then they like that so then you had to say ‘Thanks!’ and then they would go away,” he recalled.

Lansbury was a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community, raising money to fight AIDS back in the '90s and previously staying friends with the gay man she married without realizing she wasn’t exactly his type until his death in 1960.

And her good heart clearly created a good vibe around her as well.

“[Angela] was pure class even 40 years ago when these kind of clubs were all the rage,” Water told Page Six in the wake of her death. “It may have been the only night she was ever there, but just her presence made Hellfire a little more welcoming.”

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