And the award goes to . . .

Cross-dressing for acting honours

Published: Feb 22 2015, 01:01:am


Sunday, April 10, 1983

LET'S SEE IF WE CAN get this straight.
    Dustin Hoffman is nominated for a best actor Academy Award for playing an actor who poses as an actress in the 1982 film Tootsie. Julie Andrews is nominated for a best actress Oscar for playing a singer who poses as an actor who impersonates women in the movie Victor/Victoria.
    John Lithgow is nominated in the best supporting actor category for playing a woman who once was a man who opted for surgical alterations in The World According to Garp. Among the films currently on view in theatres is The Year of Living Dangerously, in which an actress, Linda Hunt, was quite deliberately cast in a male role.
    Confused? You shouldn't be. Film-makers have been playing the old sex-switch game for years, as you'll see as you work your way through the following quiz.

1.    There have been three screen versions of that old Victorian farce Charley's Aunt, the story of a rich old lady from Brazil (where the nuts come from). Name the actor who dressed up for the role in 1930;  in 1941; and in 1952.

2.    To attract American foreign aid to her impoverished homeland, the Grand Duchess of Fenwick permits her crafty prime minister, Count Rupert (Peter Sellers) to declare war on the United States. In the 1959 movie The Mouse that Roared, who plays Gloriana XII?

3.    Name the 1975 film in which Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a mad scientist who greets his guests wearing high heels, net stockings and a corset, seduces everyone in sight. First he goes after Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and then her fiance, Brad Masters (Barry Bostwick).

4.    To satisfy his psychopathic compulsions, Dr. Robert Elliott, a mad psychiatrist, dresses up as a woman when he goes out to murder his sexually promiscuous patient Kate Miller (Angle Dickinson). In the 1980 movie Dressed to Kill, who plays Elliott?

5.    Name the 1971 film in which Ralph Bates plays a dedicated 19th century London physician whose experiments transform him into a seductive murderess (Martine Beswick).

6.    To escape death at the hands of Chicago mobsters, musicians Joe and Jerry become Josephine and Daphne to join an all-girl band on its way to Florida. The movie is Some Like It Hot (1959). Who plays Joe? Who plays Jerry? Who plays the ukulele?

7.    Between 1937 and 1952, British music hall comedian Arthur Lucan was the star of 15 films in which he played an irascible Irish washerwoman. Name her.

8.    To escape a lot of red tape, newlywed French Army officer Henri Bochard dresses as a woman to accompany his wife, American WAC Lt. Catherine Gates (Ann Sheridan), to the United States. In the 1949 movie I Was a Male War Bride, who plays Henri?

9.    Name the 1977 film in which Canadian nightclub performer Craig Russell becomes a star in New York by impersonating his favourite females — Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand, Carol Channing, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Midler and Judy Garland.
10.    To help her father, French lace smuggler Henry Scarlett (Edmund Gwenn), Sylvia becomes "Sylvester," and together they become involved with a Cockney coalman named Jimmy Monkley (Cary Grant). In the 1936 movie Sylvia Scarlett, who plays Sylvia?

11.     Following the death of her father, the progressive Rebbe Mendel, orphaned Yentl leaves the shtetl and poses as a man to pursue her religious studies in the local yeshiva. Who plays the title role in the 1983 musical drama Yentl?  

12.    Name the 1970 film in which Hollywood rock promoter Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell (John LaZar) goes into an apocalyptic rage and attempts to kill everyone in sight. First, though, he reveals that he is really a she.

    Between 1942 and 1978 this popular screen character starred in nine feature films and a long-running TV series (1954-1971) that all featured her name in their titles. Always portrayed as a bitch, she is invariably played by a male. Name her.


1.    Charles Ruggles,(1930); Jack Benny (1941); Ray Bolger (in the 1952 musical adaptation Where's Charley?)

2.    Peter Sellers, who also played a third character in the film, the ordinary soldier Tully Bascombe.

5.     The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).

4.    Michael Caine.

5.     Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971).

6.     Tony Curtis; Jack Lemmon; and Marilyn Monroe (as Sugar).

7.    Old Mother Riley, whose daughter Kitty was played by actor Lucan's wife, Kitty McShane.
8.     Cary Grant.

9.     Outrageous (1977).

10.    Katharine Hepburn.

11.    Barbra Streisand, who also produced, co-wrote and directed the film.

12.    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970).



The above is a restored version of a Province quiz feature by Michael Walsh originally published in 1983. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

Afterword: None of the three gender-bending performers named in the introduction to the above quiz — Dustin Hoffman, Julie Andrews and John Lithgow — actually won an Oscar in 1983. A year later, though, the Academy Award for best supporting actress was won by Linda Hunt, for playing a male in The Year of Living Dangerously.