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Born: May 12, 1981
Los Angeles, California, USA
Born: September 5, 1946
Birthplace: Stone Town, Sultanate of Zanzibar
Death: November 24, 1991, London, England, UK (Bronchopneumonia as a complication of AIDS)
Born: November 24, 1983
London, England, UK
Born: July 19, 1947
Birthplace: Hampton, London, UK
Bio: Queen Guitarist 1970 - Present
Born: January 2, 1991
Bournemouth, Dorset, England, UK
Born: July 26, 1949
Birthplace: King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, UK
Bio: Queen Drummer 1970 - Present
Born: September 21, 1983
Rhinebeck, New York, USA
Born: August 19, 1951
Birthplace: Leicester, England, UK
Bio: Queen Bass Guitarist 1971 - 1997
Born: January 17, 1994
New York City, New York, USA
Birthplace: Fulham, London, UK
Bio: Freddie Mercury's One Time Girlfriend and Lifelong Friend
Born: April 24, 1968
Born: September 9, 1949
Birthplace: Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK
Bio: Queen's Manager 1975 - 1978
Born: August 25, 1967
Bristol, England, UK
Born: March 1942
Birthplace: Gloucester, UK
Bio: Queen's Manager 1978 - Present
Born: May 18, 1981
Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland
Death: August 1991 (complications from AIDS)
Bio: Freddie Mercury's Personal Manager 1977 - 1986
Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, UK
Born: January 4, 1949
Birthplace: County Carlow, Ireland
Death: January 1, 2010 (lung cancer)
Bio: Freddie Mercury's Partner
Yes. The Bohemian Rhapsody true story reveals that he was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946 in Stone Town, Sultanate of Zanzibar (now Tanzania) in eastern Africa. He started going by "Freddie" while attending St. Peter's School, a British-style boarding school near Bombay (now Mumbai). It wasn't until he formed the band Queen in the spring of 1970 that he decided to also change his surname, switching it from "Bulsara" to "Mercury". On Freddie's birth certificate, his parents listed their nationality as "British Indian" and under race they put "Parsi", an ethnic group rooted in Persia.
Though he had been in a band called The Hectics while in primary school, his first performance in front of a paying audience was on August 23, 1969 as a vocalist for the band Ibex, who had been looking for a singer. Freddie sung Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock". Future Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor were then part of a band named Smile. They knew Freddie and traveled to Liverpool to see him perform with Ibex, even joining Ibex on stage. This marked the first steps toward the birth of Queen. Freddie convinced the other members in Ibex to change the band name to Wreckage. Not long after, the band began to fall apart due to outside obligations by the members, including college, day jobs, and the drummer relocating to America. -Bio Channel
Fact-checking Bohemian Rhapsody confirms that Freddie Mercury was known for having an eye for detail and being a perfectionist. By May 1970, his desire to create the perfect band had contributed to the demise of the first two groups he was in. It was around this time that Brian May and Roger Taylor's band Smile had lost member Tim Staffell, who left to join the band Humpy Bong. Freddie came on board and persuaded the remaining members to change the band's name to Queen. They did recruit John Deacon to play bass, but not until 1971. He wasn't the band's original bassist like in the movie, nor did he play at the first Queen concert in 1970. He was actually the fourth bassist they tried.
No. Mike Myers (pictured below) portrays Ray Foster, an executive at the EMI record label. The character is fictional. We found no evidence of a real-life Ray Foster while researching the Bohemian Rhapsody true story. At best, he is very loosely based on EMI chief Roy Featherstone, but unlike Foster in the movie, Featherstone was a big fan of Queen. However, he did complain that their song "Bohemian Rhapsody" was too long to be released as a single. That's the only similarity. -Rolling Stone
Yes. This is true and is why his front teeth protruded, a characteristic that fueled a lifetime of insecurity. He didn't want to have the extra teeth removed because he feared that it would change the resonance of his voice, believing that the extra teeth stretched his palate and helped give him his sound. During the 1970s and 1980s, Freddie led Queen to a slew of hit songs, many of which he composed, including 10 of the 17 on their Greatest Hits album. This includes their biggest hit, "Bohemian Rhapsody", after which the movie is named. -Bio Channel
Not exactly. Although their self-titled 1973 album Queen put them on the recording map, it didn't receive critical acclaim and its reception was largely subdued. The album didn't help the band take off in the way they had hoped. After accepting a gig at London's Hammersmith Odeon as the opening act for rockers Mott the Hoople, Queen used onstage theatrics to help raise their public profile, particularly Freddie Mercury's outlandish costumes and over-the-top performances. It gradually became clear that they were no longer just a supporting act. Their label, EMI, took notice and the band recorded their second album, Queen II, which was released in March 1974. It was a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Their third album, Sheer Heart Attack, was released in November of the same year and contained the hit single "Killer Queen". To hear all of their hits, check out the Queen Greatest Hits Album.
Yes. In the movie, Rami Malek's Freddie comes out to Mary (Lucy Boynton) and tells her that he's bisexual. She responds by telling him that he is gay. This is fairly accurate to real life, except for the fact that the movie never challenges Mary's assertion. In reality, Freddie refused to ever label himself and continued to have both male and female lovers. German actress Barbara Valentin was one such prominent female lover of Freddie's.
Yes. Released as part of their fourth studio album, A Night at the Opera (1975), Freddie Mercury's vision for "Bohemian Rhapsody" was an equally risky endeavor in real life too. At 5 minutes 55 seconds in length, the unconventional rock song was long and risked being rejected by radio stations. In order to reach the most people possible, they recorded a flashy, kaleidoscopic video to accompany the song. It proved to be a genius promotional strategy, well before the days it was done regularly on MTV. The Bohemian Rhapsody music video helped to make them overnight global superstars and the song remained at number one on the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks.
Yes. The Bohemian Rhapsody true story supports that Freddie met Mary Austin when he was a starving musician. They moved in together and she supported him for a time. She was the one person he trusted. They remained friends even after they broke up in 1976 when he was coming to terms with his sexuality. During a 1985 interview, Freddie said of Mary, "All my lovers asked me why they couldn't replace Mary, but it's simply impossible. The only friend I've got is Mary, and I don't want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that's enough for me." She was the one person he trusted most throughout his career.
Mary was a comfort to Freddie during his final years as well. He left Mary the bulk of his estate (his house and recording royalties worth more than $10 million) when he died from AIDS complications in 1991. He reasoned that if he had kept living as a straight man, they would have married and had a life together. Leaving her the estate was his way of acknowledging that, in addition to the fact that she remained a true friend through thick and thin. Mary Austin still lives in Freddie's home in Kensington, England with her family.
No. A fact-check of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie reveals that Freddie Mercury's partner, Jim Hutton, had been a hairdresser in Ireland before moving to London, where he met Mercury at a nightclub. The movie instead has them fictionally meeting when Hutton is working as a server at a hedonistic party hosted by Mercury. Despite Hutton rejecting him, they talk late into the night. In the movie, they part ways and Mercury tracks Hutton down after looking him up in a phone book years later. In an interview Hutton did with The Times of London, he said that he did reject Mercury after Mercury offered to buy him a drink at the nightclub. He hadn't recognized the superstar. They saw each other again about a year and a half later at, once again, a nightclub. Mercury again offered to buy him a drink, and this time, Hutton accepted.
In reality, Hutton was then working as a hairdresser at London's Savoy Hotel. His seven-year relationship with Mercury had begun by 1985 and they remained together until Mercury's death in November 1991. After revealing to Hutton that he had AIDS, Mercury told him that he'd understand if he wanted to leave. Hutton replied, "I love you, Freddie, I'm not going anywhere." Hutton himself was diagnosed with AIDS in 1990, and it took him a year to break the news to Mercury. Hutton is not featured prominently in the Bohemian Rhapsody movie because the film concludes with Queen's 1985 Live Aid performance, which happened not long after his relationship with Mercury began. -IrishCentral.com
It is widely believed that Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987, two years after Live Aid. The film has him telling the band during rehearsals for Live Aid in 1985. This was added for dramatic effect and is almost certainly not true. He gave his final filmed interview in 1987 but mentioned nothing of the illness. He revealed the truth to his family and close friends in 1989. He didn't publicly acknowledge he had the sexually transmitted disease until he released an official statement on November 23, 1991, the day before his death. It read:
Following the enormous conjecture in the press over the last two weeks, I wish to confirm that I have been tested HIV-positive and have AIDS.
I felt it correct to keep this information private to date in order to protect the privacy of those around me.
However, the time has now come for my friends and fans around the world to know the truth and I hope that everyone will join with me, my doctors and all those worldwide in the fight against this terrible disease.
He is believed to have contracted the virus via sexual encounters he had as a gay man. -Bio Channel
During the two decades from 1970 to 1990, Freddie Mercury helped steer Queen through 18 albums and dozens of hit songs.
Yes. Queen bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor spent eight years trying to get the biopic made. "We’re very conscious that we get one shot, and if we don’t do it, someone else will do it badly," May said in an interview with TeamRock. "We will do it without avoiding anything – any aspect of Freddie. But we will try to keep it all in balance. I think if we get it right it will crystallize the way the world understands Freddie."
In 2010, comic actor Sasha Baron Cohen was attached to play Freddie Mercury, but he walked away from the project in 2013 over creative disputes with May and Taylor. Director Bryan Singer was fired in December 2017 over several missed days and a tense relationship with lead actor Rami Malek. Dexter Fletcher (Eddie the Eagle) was brought in to finish the project.
Brian May and Roger Taylor spent time on set, in addition to longtime manager Jim Beach and others. Greg Brooks, the band's official archivist, worked closely with the filmmakers to make the movie as accurate as possible. This included details like the type of socks that John Deacon was wearing.
From Queen's 1985 Live Aid performance to candid Freddie Mercury interviews, the following list of videos will help to broaden your knowledge of the Bohemian Rhapsody true story.