The Unsinkable Tracey

This week I spent a couple of delightful hours interviewing the phantasmagorical Tracey Bell. Tracey is a gifted mimic and performer who has a bevy of alter-ego divas in her road show bag. She has been booked into everything from birthday parties to conventions and has crisscrossed North America at a rate that would make your head spin…no matter how big your wig.

I met her twenty years ago and though my television career has taken a detour or two, Tracey is still at it. She’s still Liza and Cher, Tina and Celine.  She’s added Lady Gaga to the portfolio (how could she resist?) and she has a very strange outfit that combines the front half of Dolly Parton and the backside of a llama..something she calls her ‘Dolly Llama’.

 

Tracey and Dave circa 1988

 

I have an old photo of the two of us at an art auction. I’m basically playing a French idiot in a cape and beret..and Tracey is all platinum curls and flashing teeth as Marilyn. Tracey and I, as Sonny and Cher, once lip-synched our way  through `I Got You Babe`on a Vancouver late night television show. Frankly, I thought we did a bang up job.

 

Still Cher...but this Sonny's moved on.

 

I hung up the beret and the fur vest a long time ago but Tracey never got out of dress-up mode. And she still has the kind of drive that could power your average klieg light. She’s as effervescent as a Mentos in a can of Diet Coke.

How does she do it?  I’m not sure she knows the answer herself.  But it is just about the only job she’s ever had as an adult…an adult, one must admit, who has all the energy and spontaneity of a child at play.

I envy her.

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2 Responses to “The Unsinkable Tracey”

  1. Mark Fuller Says:

    How dare you. That wasn’t just any French idiot. That was ART NOUVEAU, a legend on both sides of the Atlantic (top and bottom). Ha Ha. I kid. Born to kid. Try the veal and all that jazz…

    But anyway – is it true that Tracey Bell was briefly married to crooner Vinny Chesterfield? I keep hearing that they may be reuniting to record a bouncy version of ‘Muskrat Love’. Fingers crossed.

    Who’s your set designer btw?

    • Readers should know that Mark Fuller and I once worked on a somewhat other-worldly Vancouver production called UTonight. It was the kind of show where you could walk by the dressing room and see (among other things) a fully uniformed Scottish bagpiper, a pot-bellied pig with clip-on reindeer antlers and someone like Tracey Bell, bedecked in fishnets and butt tattoos, as Cher. Did we think it odd? No. Did we know we’d never likely work on another show like that? Sadly, yes.

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