Michael Kearns Tells THE TRUTH
In A Revelatory Autobiography
“We are all lucky to still have Michael Kearns with us,” Sir Ian McKellen says “now recording his private and public story with an honesty and humor that put most other show-biz autobiographies to shame.” The launch of Kearns’ autobiography, THE TRUTH IS BAD ENOUGH, What Became of the Happy Hustler?, will be held at Los Angeles’ Skylight Books on Saturday, June 16 at 5:00 PM.
From the Seventies’ sexual revolution to the gay parenting boom of the Twenty First Century, Michael Kearns has defined nearly a half a century of American life: culturally, politically, and sexually. In many instances, he was not only at the forefront of the historical milestones, he created them.
- Ushering in the sexual revolution, starring in the L.A. production of Tom Eyen’s The Dirtiest Show in Town (1972).
- Hoaxing the public by “becoming” Grant Tracy Saxon, the bisexual author of The Happy Hustler (a deliberate spoof of Xaviera Hollander’s The Happy Hooker) which sold more than 250,000 copies and resulted in Kearns’ nationwide notoriety.
- Coming out as the first openly gay actor in Hollywood, while juggling a mainstream television career (Cheers, Murder She Wrote, The Fall Guy) with a revolutionary theatre career at the legendary Déjà Vu Coffeehouse Los Angeles.
- Responding to the AIDS crisis in the mid-Eighties by co-founding two AIDS organizations (with partner James Carroll Pickett): Artists Confronting AIDS and STAGE (Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event, the longest running theatrical benefit in the world).
- Accusing the television and film industry—as the “only openly gay actor in Hollywood”—of homophobia on ABC’s Nightline upon Rock Hudson’s death in 1985.
- Creating intimacies, a solo performance piece, depicting people with AIDS, that garnered international acclaim for the writer-performer; the first of a series of one-person shows including Rock in which Kearns revealed his dalliance with Hudson.
- Disclosing his HIV-positive status on Entertainment Tonight upon the death of actor Brad Davis in 1991.
- Appearing in the New York Times, after making television history as the first publicly HIV-positive actor in primetime (Life Goes On).
- Bolstering the notion of gay marriage, Kearns wed his longtime partner, Philip Juwig, in a public ceremony (1992).
- Adopting Katherine Kearns in 1994: the first openly gay, publicly HIV-positive, single man to become a father.
- As the Twenty-First Century unfolds, the theatre artist as teacher has emerged and flourished, aligning with numerous non-profits (Downtown Women’s Center, Katselas Theatre Company, Art Division, and Housing Works among them) while the soloist continues to perform (a twentieth anniversary tour of intimacies in 2009 and the premiere of Torch in 2012).
THE TRUTH IS BAD ENOUGH covers this rich life of extremes, lived out loud—from its roots in the Midwest to his family life in Los Feliz where Kearns presently resides with his daughter.
McKellen asserts that “this extraordinary life, lived on the edge of death…won’t depress, rather uplift you.” The book traverses more than a half of century—from Kearns’ roles as ribald party boy to impassioned artist-activist to toting father.
Skylight Books is located at 1818 North Vermont. For further information: http://www.skylightbooks.com/ or 323 660 0075.