Probably best-known as the glamorous model on the front of a 70s Roxy Music album cover, Amanda was also muse / biographer to Salvador Dali and dated David Bowie. Other (fabulously exotic) hats include euro-disco diva, author, artist, art collector, and TV presenter. A Mooky Goddess most high! Oh yes, and she was born a humble boy…
Amanda Lear biography
It’s now well-known that Amanda Lear was born with a little tiddly thing between her legs. Was it not the great early feminist Simone De Beauvoir who said ‘One is not born a woman, one becomes one’?
In a television interview, transsexual star Adele of cabaret group Fascinating Aida was once bluntly asked “Were you born a man?” “No”, she said. “I was born a baby.” This is great because although it’s true we’re born with certain physical characteristics, the rest we become. And few women have become as extraordinary as Amanda Lear.
The best bit about Amanda Lear is that she lives a myth, is a mystery. No-one knows where or when she was born or where or how she spent her childhood. Or if they do, they’re not telling. Amanda Lear tells you, but we now know it’s all made up, and she knows most people know it’s all made up but she sticks by it because she likes the mystery, the ambiguity. Fifteen years living with Salvador Dali and his wife Gala have left her with a beautiful sense of the surreal.
Last year, at the age of 66, between all her TV commitments, she released two singles and addressed an international symposium on Dali in Barcelona.
Best Amanda Lear Quotes:
I was in a strass dress in front of 15,000 people. I kept an excellent memory of it.
I hate to spread rumours: but what else can one do with them?
Amanda Lear Links
Amanda Lear was (most probably) born in Hong Kong in 1939 as Alain Tapp. She was taking hormones and performing at Le Carrousel in Paris as Peki D’Oslo in 1958, had her gender re-assignment at Dr Burou’s clinic in Casablanca in 1963 (reputedly paid for by Salvador Dali), was living in London (and studying at St Martin’s College of Art) by 1965 and was friends with Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon and Twiggy.
THE CELEB LIFESTYLE
She moved between London and Cadeques in Spain (Dali’s home) in the late 60s doing magazine modelling in both France and London. In 1973, she met Bryan Ferry and featured on the Roxy Music For Your Pleasure album sleeve. The next year, she met David Bowie and had a one-year relationship with him, launching her singing career with him on US television (NBC) in 1974 and then at The Marquee. It is said it was he who persuaded her to disguise her past. Alternatively, it was said it was he who persuaded her to spread the story she was a transsexual…
She recorded her first single in 1975 but it was not till 1977 that she had her first disco hit. Her favourite album ‘Sweet Revenge’ was released in 1978, spawning the huge Euro-disco hit, ‘Follow Me’, which charted throughout Europe and made No 1 in Japan. ‘Sweet Revenge’ was an album told in concept mode, about a girl who sold her soul to Satan for fame and fortune. Amanda conceived the album, wrote the lyrics and designed the double sleeve. Since then, she has recorded 10 albums and 40-50 singles and has sold nearly 10 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide.
In 1979, she married the French aristocrat Alain-Philippe Malagnac d’Argens. He remained her husband for 21 years until a fire destroyed her Dali-designed farmhouse in Provence in 2000 and killed her husband, burning many Dali paintings in the process. In 1986, she had a car accident and, while in hospital, wrote a book called ‘The Immortal’ about a woman who tragically lives forever. She has also written three auto/biographical works about Dali and her life with him.
THE NEVER-ENDING STORY
She is totally fluent in Italian, French, German, English and Spanish and has hosted long-running TV shows in Italy and Germany. Her favourite show was ‘Ars Amanda’ (the art of loving), an Italian chat show she conducted from her bed, She also featured in the film ‘Bimboland’ with Gerard Depardieu.
From the 1980’s, she started exhibiting her own paintings and, during the last 10 years, her time has been largely spent exhibiting her artwork and lecturing on Dali.
She is still going strong.