Tonight, Miley Cyrus takes the stage at the 2017 VMAs to perform her song “Younger Now” and she has some drag queens in tow … Well, there’s one drag queen, who is said to be the focus, and he is 85-year-old James “Gypsy” Haake. Haake also appears in Cyrus’ music video for “Younger Now” and he has been featured in many prominent projects over the years. According to USA Today, he has been in movies like Mel Brooks’ film To Be or Not to Be, Troop Beverly Hills and The Morning After with Jane Fonda and Jeff Bridges. He still takes on gigs and he previously managed the legendary La Cage Aux Folles supper club in Los Angeles. He also was the owner of a Bar in NYC called “Gypsy’s”.
Over the years, Haake has retired several times and his GoFundMe page for his star among the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, it says that in 2009, he retired again when he was diagnosed with cancer. According to an interview he did in 2014 with PalmSprings.com, Haake said that his prostate cancer diagnosis is “inactive,” and that his cancer has been “put on hold”, so he is back in action.
Haake is a Jersey boy and told the Daily Record in an interview that:
I grew up in Denville, but Denville didn’t have a high school. But my mother wanted me to go to Morristown because they had a great chorus director. So she paid extra for me to go to Alfred Vail School for ninth grade, then I was at Morristown for sophomore, junior and senior years … There are only a few people left who call me Jimmy, a couple of girls I went to Morristown High School with who are now widows.
Haake got his nickname from his Broadway days, telling PalmSprings.com that Broadway actors are known as “gypsies” because they travel from show to show. Check out a video from many years ago, of Haake being introduced by the late Milton Berle.
When it comes to tonight’s VMAs performance, Haake says that there will be dancing and he gets to kiss Cyrus a bit. He also sang Cyrus’ praises to USA Today, gushing:
This is a very smart woman. She’s 24 years old. She looks 18 and she’s tiny. She’s beautiful and very, very smart.
If you would like to see Haake outside of the VMAs, he appears regularly at Omar’s Cafe and Bar in Palm Springs, according to Instinct Magazine.