Rudy de la Mor, a cabaret entertainer who performed in Chicago for decades before working on boat cruises and in venues in California, died at Kaiser Permanente Irvine Medical Center in Irvine, Calif. He was 73, according to friend Craig D. Goldsmith.
Word spread of de la Mor's death March 5.
de la Mor, a classically trained pianist, entertained the LGBT community for decades. Growing up, he was part of the the Orange County Symphony Orchestra and the Denver Symphony Orchestra, according to his official website.
He was well-known in Chicago, where he performed for at least 20 years and was a favorite at the gay bar Gentry on State. Outrageous hats became his trademark, thanks to the late comedian Martha Raye: After catching one of de la Mor's early sets, she first told him that he had more of a comedic voice than a singing voice. "What's more, she suggested that I wear some of the curtains my mother might have had and change hats all night long," says de la Mor on the website.
He was set to take part on a cruise March 9.
On Feb. 5, he posted on his official Facebook page, "To all my dear friends: Thank you all so much for your kindness and support as I slowly recover from my illness. Your thoughts and prayers have given me strength and encouragement. I shall see you soon!! Woooosh! Love Rudy."
Goldsmith, a fellow entertainer, posted on Facebook, "A great many tears will be shed for the loss that we feel right now. A great amount of joy must also be spread to have know someone so special! Also to know that his was a life well lived and lived well!
"Farewell for now my sweet friend. Till we meet again at the big lounge in heaven. Please say hello hello hello to my Mom as well, she was also a big fan! I miss you both very much!"
Among de la Mor's works was the album I'm Just Kidding, with songs such as "Send in the Clowns" and "Noche de Ronda."
A Celebration of Life, Remembering Rudy through Music and Word is planned for Sunday, April 7, 3 pm at 3160, Chicago's Piano & Cabaret, 3160 N.Clark St.773 327-5969. More information at www.3160chicago.com/Special_Events.html .