When Gene Simmons Dressed as Lynda Carter For a Strange B-Movie
Fans may have been shocked to see Gene Simmons wearing a dress as a hermaphrodite movie villain in Never Too Young to Die. But the costume actually had a previous connection with Kiss, though it's a bizarrely indirect one.
When Simmons agreed to play the role of Velvet von Ragnar in the 1986 low-budget flop, it seems as if the intent was to depict him as a kind of Rocky Horror Picture Show character. Perhaps if it had worked, the light-hearted idea would have become part of the God of Thunder’s larger-than-life image. Instead, we find Simmons in a strangely designed dress, singing a song titled “It Takes a Man Like Me to Be a Woman Like Me” and referring to his street gang as his “little turdballs.”
Here's the larger plot, according to distributors Shout Factory: “When a top secret agent (George Lazenby) is murdered, his estranged gymnast son Lance Stargrove (John Stamos) teams up with his dad's seductive and deadly associate, Danja Deering (Vanity) to face his father's killer – the fiendish mastermind Velvet Von Ragner (Simmons). The hermaphroditic heel is hell-bent on a scheme to poison the city's water supply, and it's up to Stargrove to crush Velvet once and for all!”
Watch Gene Simmons in ‘Never Too Young to Die’
Simmons described taking the role as "the folly of youth" in a 2015 talk with the Hollywood Reporter. "I was offered two parts in Never Too Young to Die: the role of Marine commander and a hermaphrodite," Simmons said. "That'll teach me to read scripts before accepting roles.” Back then, Simmons said he’d been encouraging Stamos in his attempts to have the movie re-released, and that finally happened in 2017.
The story of his costume, however, goes back to an earlier performance by Lynda Carter. Best known as the star of ‘70s superhero show Wonder Woman, Carter indulged in a so-called “rock ’n’ roll fantasy” during an early-'80s TV variety special called Encore. Viewers saw her perform songs by Bad Company, Tina Turner and Bette Midler. Between the final two skits, she also sang Kiss' “I Was Made For Loving You,” appearing in an outfit that’s almost exactly the same as the one Simmons wore in Never Too Young to Die.
Watch Lynda Carter Perform 'I Was Made for Loving You'
The Encore clip – which is rounded out by a group of backup dancers who appear in the band's classic make up – is now making the rounds among Kiss fan groups. Of course, it's anyone's guess why Simmons subsequently dressed as Lynda Carter. Still, looking at his song-and-dance routine, it's clear that Gene Simmons was having fun at the time.
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