April Ashley was a British model, actress, and author who was born a boy with the birth name of George Jamieson. She is known for being one of the earliest British people to have gender reassignment surgery. She was outed as a transgender woman by The Sunday People newspaper in 1961. “April Ashley’s Odyssey”, a biography by Duncan Fallowell, was published in 1982. He printed her autobiography titled “The First Lady” in 2006. She had made TV appearances on Channel Five News, This Morning and BBC News.
What did April Ashley die of?
April Ashley died due to poor health condition which was her cause of death. She died at home on 27 December 2021, at the age of 86. Her death was confirmed by Tim Brunsden, a filmmaker whose video interview with Ms. Ashley was featured at the Museum of Liverpool as part of a year-long exhibition about her life that opened in 2013. She had been in poor health for some time, he said. Back then, she had a massive heart attack in London due to which she retired for some years to the Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye.
Following the news of her death, artist Daniel Lismore said Ashley was “a pioneer, hero and icon”, while ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly described her as “one hell of a classy lady”.
What was April Ashley Famous For?
- Being a British model, actress, and author.
- Being one of the earliest British people to have gender reassignment surgery.
Where was April Ashley From?
April Ashley took birth at 126 Smithdown Road (then Sefton General Hospital) in Liverpool, England with the born name of George Jamieson on 29 April 1935. She was one of six surviving children. She was born to her mother, Ada Brown, and her father, Frederick Jamieson. She holds British nationality and she is British-White by ethnicity. She had a struggling childhood, as she suffered from calcium deficiency and bed-wetting and has to take calcium injections per week, resulting in her being given her own box room, at the age of two, when the family moved house. She lastly celebrated her 86th birthday s of 2021.
April Ashley Career Timeline
- April joined the Merchant Navy in 1951 at the age of 16.
- She tried to attempt suicide due to which she was given a dishonorable discharge. For the second attempt, she was sent to Ormskirk District General Hospital psychiatric unit at the age of 17.
- In her book The First Lady, she tells the story of the rape she endured before transitioning. A roommate raped her, and she was severely injured. Prior to this book, her biography came out in 1982 titled April Ashley’s Odyssey. In her book April Ashley’s Odyssey she stated that Amanda Lear was assigned male at birth and that they had worked together at Le Carousel where Lear had used the drag name Peki d’Oslo.
- After her sex reassignment surgery, she began using the name April Ashley and became a successful fashion model
- She also appeared in British Vogue, for which she was photographed by David Bailey, and won a small role in the 1962 film The Road to Hong Kong, which starred Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
- A friend sold her story to the media in 1961 and The Sunday People outed Ashley as a trans woman. Due to this, her film credit was dropped.
- In the early 1990s, she worked for Greenpeace before taking a job in an art gallery.
- She talked about her life at St George’s Hall, Liverpool as part of the city’s Homotopia Festival on 15 November 2008, and on 18 February 2009 at the Southbank Centre.
- In 2012 Pacific Films and Limey Yank Productions announced a project to create a film about Ashley’s life.
Awards and Achievements
- Ashley was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to transgender equality.
- The exhibition ‘April Ashley: Portrait of a lady’ was held at the Museum of Liverpool from 27 September 2013 to 1 March 2015.
- Ashley was awarded a Lifetime Achievement honor at the European Diversity Awards 2014.
- In December 2016, Ashley was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liverpool.
Who was April Ashley’s Husband?
April Ashley was a married woman to her first husband, Arthur Corbett. In 1960, she met Arthur and got married after three years. Their married life ended in 1970 via annulment on the basis that Ashley used to be a man. Her husband knew she was a male before and this became the famous case known as Corbett v Corbett. Ashley’s lawyers wrote to Corbett in 1966 demanding maintenance payments and in 1967 Corbett responded by filing suit to have the marriage annulled. In the 1980s Ashley married her second husband, Jeffrey West on the cruise ship RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, US. The ceremony was performed in Long Beach, California and the wedding ended in the 1990s. They split but remained friends. She was single at the time of her death.
How much was April Ashley’s Net Worth?
April Ashley was a model, actress, and author whose net worth was estimated to have $1 million as of 2022. Whereas her exact salary and earnings are still to get disclosed yet. She had even tried out her hands on different business ventures and had opened a restaurant in 1970. She opened a restaurant named April and Desmonds. Her main source of wealth was the entertainment industry.
How tall was April Ashley?
April Ashley was a beautiful model standing at the height of 5 ft 10 inches and her body type was average. Her eye color was blue and her hair color was grey.
April Ashley Transgender
At the age of 25, after having saved £3,000, Ashley had a seven-hour-long sex reassignment surgery on 12 May 1960, performed in Casablanca, Morocco, by Georges Burou. Ashley has to suffer hair loss, dizziness, nausea, swelling, and significant pain but all was worth it. These side effects lasted for two years. Then after the passing of the Gender Recognition Act, she legally became a female. For this, John Prescott (former Deputy PM of the UK ) assisted her.