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Rocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien: ‘I should be dead. I’ve had an excessive lifestyle’

The creator of the cult show is not going quietly into his 70s. He talks about coming out as trans, going ‘loopy’ on crack – and speaking in tongues a

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The creator of the cult show is not going quietly into his 70s. He talks about coming out as trans, going ‘loopy’ on crack – and speaking in tongues after suffering a stroke

Richard O’Brien is 78, but his toothpick body and lightbulb head have always lent him a certain agelessness. A few months ago, however, the rakish Rocky Horror Show creator, Crystal Maze presenter and transgender parent-of-three received a stark reminder of his advancing years.

He was pottering around at home in New Zealand when he suddenly found himself lying on the floor. “I didn’t register that something was desperately wrong,” he says, speaking from the house he shares with his third wife, Sabrina, 10 miles outside of Katikati. “I just thought: ‘I wonder why I can’t get up.’” Struggling to his feet, he attempted to make a drink, only to discover he couldn’t put the top back on the milk. “I was in a dream-like state. Finally, I gave up with the milk, went to go back to the bedroom, slid down the wall and started speaking in tongues. That’s when Sabrina called the ambulance.”

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