For nearly forty years, actor-writer-
Michael is an American actor, writer, director, teacher, producer, and activist. He is noted for being the first openly gay actor, and after an announcement on Entertainment Tonight in 1991, he became the first openly gay and HIV positive actor in Hollywood. Michael’
In one of the Twentieth Century’s most notorious hoaxes, Kearns was hired by Warner Books in 1974 to play the role of Grant Tracy Saxon, a fictitious character depicted in The Happy Hustler. The promotional blitz, Along with Kearns’ guest stint as John-Boy’s college “Big Brother” on The Waltons, spanned over two years and resulted in Kearns’ title as “the first openly gay actor in Hollywood.” Kearns continued to establish himself as a mainstream actor (Murder She Wrote, Cheers, Body Double, Beverly Hills 90210, And The Band Played On) while engaging in the worldwide theatre scene. Besides achieving international acclaim as a solo performer (Intimacies, Rock, Attachments, Tell Tale Kisses, Make Love Not War, Once Upon a Time in South Africa), his award-winning theatrical resume includes an international tour of Dream Man as well as west coast appearances in Camille, Bill and Eddie, Rubicon, the tenth year anniversary reading of The Normal Heart and the twentieth anniversary reading of The Boys In The Band. Kearns directed the world premieres many well-known theatre pieces, locally and abroad. He’s the author of six theatre books published by Heinemann. As an artist-activist he’s the recipient of several Lifetime Achievement Awards and Humanitarian Awards. Kearns is presently the Co-Artistic Director of the Katselas Theatre Company. To learn more go to: www.MichaelKearns.net
Kearns was born in St. Louis, Missouri. As a young man he attended the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated in 1972 and moved to Los Angeles. For more than 25 years he has been active in the Los Angeles art and politics communities, maintaining a mainstream film and television career with a prolific career in the theatre. His activism is deeply integrated into his theatre works, and he has received grants from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the Brody Foundation, and PEN Center USA West. In 1984, along with playwright James Carroll Pickett, he co-founded Artists Confronting Aids (ACA), and is a current commissioner of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
Kearns is a regular contributor to a number of magazines and newspapers, including the Frontiers, Los Angeles Times, L.A. Parent, IN Magazine, and L.A. Weekly. He is also author of five theatre books: T-Cells & Sympathy, Acting = Life, The Solo Performer's Journey, Getting Your Solo Act Together, and Life Expectancies. Both T-Cells & Sympathy and Acting = Life were nominated for Lambda Literary Awards.
To learn more, listen to Debbi Dachinger as she interviews Michael Kearns on Dare to Dream radio, as it airs live or on podcast at: http://www.deborahdachinger.com/