Carlotta’s colourful life has been a whirl of feathers and sequins for over five decades and, as Australia’s most famous sex swap showgirl gets set to ring in her 75th birthday, it’s now a double celebration after recently overcoming a cancer scare.
‘It terrified the tripe out of me and I’m a strong person,’ Carlotta says of her diagnosis.
‘You hear that dreaded C word and automatically fear the worst. I said to the doctor: “Tell me honestly how long I’ve got to live and I’ll get the party started!”’
For the former Beauty And The Beast panellist, the tumour was found early.
‘I’m in the all-clear and feeling better than ever, but it was a big wake-up call to get things checked out the moment you feel something isn’t right.’
Carlotta’s cancer ordeal began in March this year, with what she suspected was a simple urinary tract infection.
‘When it didn’t clear up, I saw a specialist and that’s when a cancerous tumour was discovered in my bladder.’
As a result, Carlotta underwent surgery to have it removed.
‘Mercifully, the disease hadn’t spread because my oncologist said it was discovered early,’ she explains
Renowned for her witty one-liners and politically incorrect, outrageous sense of humour on screen, Carlotta was born Richard Byron before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 1972.
Using the stage name Carlotta, she’d become a bejewelled and bedazzling sensation in the ’60s performing at Sydney’s world-famous Les Girls cabaret revue.
‘It was bloody hard work dragging up in all of those fabulous frocks and dancing around in mountainous high heels, but they were great times,’ she recalls fondly.
‘Fifty-six years on, I’m still here and still throwing on the feathers and entertaining packed houses,’ she purrs over a celebratory glass of champagne at her Gold Coast home.
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