|Hunter , Drag Queen Legend|
March 18, 1968
Valley Center , CA
|Died||July 15, 2007 (aged 39)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Head Injury complications|
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Years active||1988 through 2007;|
Hunter Smith (later changed legally to mono-name Hunter) (born 18 March 1968) was a renowned drag performer/queen for over two decades in Southern California’s drag circuit, He performed at several night clubs including the now defunct “Peanuts” and “Horizon”. He was also one of the 3 original performers in the longest running drag show in Los Angeles called Dreamgirls Revue. Chad Michaels was the host of this show up until 2012 when it was taken over by Delta Work (Gabriel Villarreal).
Born as Hunter Smith in Valley Center, where he grew up and graduated high school. He relocated to Los Angeles, California in approximately 1988.
As Hunter he performed regularly with more current famous drag queens such as Morgan McMichaels, and Raja (Sutan Amrull) as well as Delta Work (Gabriel Villarreal) and Chad Michaels, the current and previous producers of the long standing Dreamgirls Revue show held in mostly West Hollywood, CA. for nearly 35 years. He performed at Dillons(now Richs) in San Diego which is the home and start of the Dreamgirls Revue. It then moved to the Brass Rail in San Diego which is where Chad joined the show and met Hunter. For a two year period, he moved to NYC approximately 1997-99 and did clubs and shows in drag all over Manhattan. He also did a short time in Buloxi Mississippi working at a Casino in a show called La Cage. About 2000 until 2003, along with Miss Kiwi, he traveled to Lake Tahoe at Horizon Casino (run by Dan Gore) and was a regular cast member in “Carnival Cabaret”. He then returned to Dreamgirls in West Hollywood and in others venues around all of Southern California. Everyone wanted to book him and he was working almost full time. According to Chad it was several times per week as he was in great demand for his talent. He is drag mother to Chad Michaels and grandmother to Morgan McMichaels. The staff of Dreamgirls always was teasing him about his secret of not telling his real age. According to Chad, they never actually learned the real year except once when someone was able to grab his driver’s license. So the age above is an estimate and not verified. He was very into his craft and loved being very creative. His comedy was mostly influenced by people like Carol Burnett …simple yet not crude humor.
It is my understanding that his personal life was not a lot outside of the drag persona. Similar to another local queen called Tammie Brown, even though they identify as gay men, they rarely are outside of character. I need to find out if there is more that I am missing when I speak to Chad again. Oh and the history of both of them using real names: some clubs forced a performer to use real names versus a drag name. And like with Chad Michaels, this just stuck and everyone knew him simply as Hunter.
Hunter had a tragic accident during a rehearsal and sustained a very bad head injury. He went through about a two year period of attempts at rehabilitation and surgery to help keep him functional. After a long struggle and what was shall say was terrible conditions for anyone that is very ill, he ended at a hospice called Wealth House in Long Beach which was gay owned and well operated. Due to all of the wounds being just too complex to overcome, Hunter was lost due to the complications of the original head injury. He was dear to many local people in Southern California and we miss him more than a biography can express.