Flamboyant singer Margarita Pracatan ‘dies aged 89’: Star of The Clive James Show has passed away in New York, friends reveal
- Pracatan was adored by fans of ITV’s late night chat show in the mid-90s
- Her Hispanic versions of crooner classics and banter with guests was hysterical
- She died at her home in Manhattan. The cause is not yet known
- Thousands took to social media today to remember the larger-than-life star
Singer and star of the Clive James Show Margarita Pracatan has died aged 89 in New York, it has been reported.
The Cuban, who rose to fame in the mid-90s on ITV’s late night chat show, died in Manhattan on Tuesday, friends revealed.
Known for her flamboyant dresses and hilarious covers of classic hits by Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, Pracatan was fondly remembered by thousands today on social media.
Broadcaster Matthew Sweet tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear of the death of Margarita Pracatan, social media star before social media.
Margarita Pracatan poses backstage at the second annual “Big Gay Out”, Europe’s biggest Gay music festival, at Finsbury Park on July 23, 2005 in London, England
‘We got her live on @BBCRadio3 once, to the faint annoyance of Clive James.
‘In 2017 I saw her live in Catford & was delighted to discover she still considered the right notes unnecessary.’
Clive James arrives for the 1995 Comedy Awards with Margarita Pracatan
Pracatan’s cause of death remains unknown.
Born in Cuba in 1931 to a school teacher and union leader, Pracatan was one of eight children.
The family fled to New York City when Communist revolutionaries took over the country in the 1950s.
Pracatan started singing in nightclubs while working in a men’s underwear store during the day to make ends meet.
She was later discovered by James through a public-access television cable TV program broadcast from Manhattan.
He invited her to perform on his chat show, performing alongside major names such as Boy George Liza Manelli, and joking with his celebrity guests.
In one classic introduction James gave the star, he told the audience: ‘Now to end the show, and possibly my career, will you once again put your seats in the upright position and your head between your knees for Margarita Pracatan.’
He would once say of the singer: ‘She never lets the words or melody get in her way. She is us, without the fear of failure.’
Pracatan was known for her flamboyant dresses and keyboard cover version of timeless classics
Pracatan and James had an enduring bond and tweeting after his death in 2017, she’d written: ‘Saying goodbye is so shocking. Makes you quiet rewinding the memories. So many. Years and years of that intelligence and the talent and beautiful way of living, always to do excellence.
‘Thank you, #CliveJames from the bottom of my heart. You live forever with us. #CliveJamesRIP.’
In recent years, Pracatan had continued live performances and appeared on episode of Real Housewives of New York last year.
She was a constant feature at Gay Pride festivals across the world, including in London, Manchester and in Sydney.
Pracatan had continued bringing joy to many through her Twitter account where she was posting performances from her apartment just two weeks ago.
She captioned the video: ‘Be happy! Why? It’s good for your heart and your espirit!!’
She was surrounded by friends when she celebrated her 89th birthday in New York last year.
BBC presenter Lizo Mzimba tweeted today: ‘So sad to see the social media reports saying that Margarita Pracatan has died aged 89. Her performances on the Clive James show were beyond wonderful.’
Peter Andre poses backstage with Margarita Pracatan at the second annual “Big Gay Out”, Europe’s biggest Gay music festival, at Finsbury Park on July 23, 2005 in London
‘Big Gay Out’, Finsbury Park, London, Britain – 23 Jul 2005, Margarita Pracatan