Local female impersonator Joanne Krienes, also known as Joey Daniels to some friends and family, died Sept. 3 after a battle with lymphoma. She was 63. Friends and family gathered for a memorial service at Sanutti Funeral Home, followed by a Mass at Our Lady of Consolation.
Krienes’ friend Franny Price recalled watching the transgender woman perform at shows and fundraisers in the 1970s and ‘80s.
“She was so beautiful,” Price said. “She was probably one of the best Marilyn Monroe impersonators.
“Her ‘Liza Minnelli’ was also flawless,” Price added. “She was a perfectionist when she performed. When she performed [or] impersonated somebody, Joey did her homework and it was a lot harder back then because you didn’t have YouTube or a video you could pop up. You had to wait until the person came on TV to get the characteristics or, if you were lucky enough, they were a movie star where you could study them.”
Her brother, Tony S. Daniels, recalled her career as a dancer, singer and lip-syncer. He said she began performing with the Fabulous Fakes and then later with Joey’s Girls.
“That was when [drag-performers] only [performed as] characters,” Daniels said. “Nobody just got up [and performed] in a dress like they do now. You had to look like somebody. It was a lot tougher back then because you would be there and you would either look like the person or you didn’t. Joey could look like Liza, Streisand [and] Marilyn.”
Daniels recalled that the funeral director stated how his sister “died with a smile on her face.”
“I guess her whole life was fighting for what you are, especially back then — fighting the cancer, and living as a woman.”
While Krienes enjoyed working as a florist and as a barmaid at Harrah’s, Daniels noted that his sister was happiest when she was on stage.
“I think that was the only time Joey was happy.”
Krienes is survived by Daniels and predeceased by her sister, Janice Daniels, and her mother and father, who went by Mickey and Doc, respectively.