Jack Doroshow, 78, Drag Pageant Impresario, Dies

“Flawless was the single most influential person in my development as a human being and artist,” Zackary Drucker, a transgender artist and a producer of the Amazon show “Transparent,” said by email. “I can’t imagine anyone else believing in me with the passion and dedication that she did.” Ms. Drucker met Mr. Doroshow in 2001.

The performance artist Taylor Mac first met Flawless Sabrina in 2002 and also found her influence pivotal. “She came around at the right time with the right tough love,” he said by email.

“She basically said to me what I’d heard many other people say over the years,” he added, “but coming from her (perhaps because her tough love always felt more like an offering than a scolding, or perhaps because she was the embodiment of living an authentic artistic life) it made such clear sense, and I could see how the advice was something she herself was living. She said, ‘You have to commit to yourself before other people will commit to you.’ ”


Flawless Sabrina, left, at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival alongside Rachel Harlow, the winner of the 1967 drag contest depicted in the film “The Queen,” which was shown at the festival. The others are unidentified.

Jack Allen Doroshow was born on Sept. 10, 1939, in Philadelphia. His father, Martin, was an antiques dealer who died when Jack was a boy. His mother was the former Eleanor Lynch.

Diana Tourjée, a staff writer at Vice who, with Ms. Drucker, had been helping Mr. Doroshow organize his archive, said that in the late 1950s, on a trip to Manhattan from Philadelphia, Mr. Doroshow and two friends were staying at the Sloane House Y.M.C.A. when two drag queens from Pittsburgh, who were also staying there, encouraged the three to come to a show they were part of — a new experience for Mr. Doroshow.

Curiosity, Ms. Tourjée said, was always one of Mr. Doroshow’s defining traits, and he persuaded his two friends to give it a try, despite the steep-seeming $5 ticket price.

“What really amazed Jack,” she said in a telephone interview, “was that there were so many people in this room and they all paid $5 to get into the show. So for him it started very much as a business venture.”

He and his two friends staged a drag pageant in Philadelphia in 1959.

“That first pageant happened, and he and his buddies hosted it as men, dressed in suits,” Ms. Tourjée said. “What…

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