Photography by Danielle Levitt
“I wanted to be who I am,” says Vilanch — judging from his career, it’s clear that if he’d dreamed of doing something else, he’d have achieved it. “I wanted to star on Broadway,” he says — and he has, as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. “I wanted to win an Oscar,” but in the meantime he’s written for 23 Oscar telecasts. “I’ve won Emmys...” — six, all told — “but I’ve always wanted a life of variety.” Having penned jokes for just about everyone — Paul Lynde, Donny and Marie Osmond, Dolly Parton, and every imaginable Oscar host and presenter — he’ll have plenty of variety — and dish — for his upcoming memoir.
Photographed at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on October 4, 2013