Divine's Estate Illegally Taken From Family, Court Rules
This story first appeared in the Aug. 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The estate of gay icon and John Waters muse Divine (ne Harris Glenn Milstead) was illegally usurped from his cousins, who are his rightful family heirs, according to a U.S. District Court judgment out of Orlando on July 10. The ruling is a black eye for Michael O'Quinn, who had befriended Divine's mother, Frances, and become her business manager and later was named as a beneficiary to the estate in an addendum to Frances' will. (The estate reverted to Mom after Divine's death at 42 in 1988 from an enlarged heart.)
The court now has ruled that O'Quinn, who has worked as a costumer at Universal Studios' Florida theme park, willfully ignored Frances' will revision in 2008 that bestowed the estate to her nieces and nephews. Noah Brodie, a Warner Bros. studio lot VIP tour operator and O'Quinn's former business partner in Everything Divine, which was set up to leverage Divine's assets, discovered the shenanigans while in talks with a cosmetics firm in 2011 about a Divine-themed line.
"It's such a unique and unusual intellectual property," Brodie tells THR. "I was duped, but eventually [O'Quinn] got caught in lie after lie." O'Quinn could not be reached for comment.