Key West mourns popular drag queen
Call her a true hooker!
Popular Key West drag queen RV Beaumont lost her battle to cancer on Wednesday, Oct. 13. She was 47.
Raised on an Ohio farm, Beaumont, whose real name was Timothy Swain, waited tables at a Key West T.G.I. Friday’s before she became one of the original "801 Girls" at what is now 801 Bourbon Street on Duval Street. Beaumont performed in Provincetown, Mass., New York City and on Fire Island, N.Y., but she became synonymous for performing "A Spoonful of Sugar" as Mary Poppins and closing her Sunday night show at 801 Bourbon Street as a man.
Beaumont earned her eponymous nickname because she called everyone hooker. Sushi, a drag queen who drops onto Duval Street in a ruby-colored high heel shoe at midnight on New Year’s Eve, recalled Beaumont’s final moments.
"I got there around 7:30, I held her hand and said ’Oh my God’ your nails are filthy," said Sushi, who hired Beaumont at 801 Bourbon Street. "Rebecca (a local manicurist and hair stylist) came in and did her nails. Two breaths before she passed, Rebecca said ’have a safe trip hooker’."
The Key West Citizen reported Beaumont raised more than an estimated $10,000 for local LGBT and HIV/AIDS service organizations when she called Bingo at the 801 on Sunday nights. Her fellow queens fondly recalled Beaumont.
"I love you," wrote Porsche on her Facebook page. "See you up there girl... smokin’ a joint with Jesus..."
Sushi further recalled a show she and Beaumont did at the University of California-Santa Barbara nearly a decade ago. Nearly 1,500 students packed the auditorium. And while Sushi said Beaumont "felt like a real star," she said her protégé particularly enjoyed California’s medical marijuana law.
"It was legal, she could walk around with it [pot] in her pocket," said Sushi.
Steve Smith of the Florida Keys Tourism Office mourned Beaumont as a "special person that always makes us smile... regardless of how rough the day". He added her death has left a void on the island.
"We lost a star, but there is a new one in the sky," Smith told EDGE.
A memorial service and "pot" luck for Beaumont will take place at 801 Bourbon Bar (801 Duval St.) on Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 5-7 p.m. A walking parade will leave the bar at 7 p.m. and head towards the Southernmost Pier at the end of Duval Street to scatter Beaumont’s ashes.