Set in 1962, two years before the Civil Rights Act, Hairspray centers on Tracy Turnblad (Ricki Lake), a “pleasantly plump” teenager who attempts to racially integrate a local teen dance program, The Corny Collins Show. Considered John Waters’s most commercially successful film, and his only dance film, Hairspray was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival and received six Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. In 2002, the film was adapted into a hit Broadway musical, winning eight Tony Awards, and in 2007, was remade into a musical film. Hairspray was Divine’s last Dreamland role, passing away shortly after the film’s premiere at the age of 42.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: John Waters. WITH: Ricki Lake, Divine, Jerry Stiller, Ruth Brown. 1988. 92 min. USA. Color. English. Rated PG. 35mm. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

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