Onetime Advocate columnist Lance Loud, who died in Los Angeles on December 21 from AIDS and hepatitis C complications, was remembered by fellow journalists in Friday's edition of Daily Variety. Known as the first person to come out on TV, thanks to his role on PBS's 1973 documentary series An American Family, Loud wrote a final commentary on his life and death in The Advocate's year-end issue. To the last, Loud maintained a sense of humor about his lifelong image as a hard-partying gadfly, but according to critic David Ehrenstein, Loud's charm masked deceptive strengths.
"His homosexuality was completely accepted by the family, which was another first for TV,'' comments Ehrenstein, author of Open Secret, a study of gays in the media. "When the parents split up, there was an undertone of criticism from the media that what was wrong with the marriage was that they had a gay son. On the contrary, Lance held the family together."
At Loud's request, Alan and Sally Raymond, the team who filmed the original American Family, recently documented his day-to-day life at the Carl Bean House, the L.A. hospice where the writer died. Loud is survived by his brothers, sisters, father, and mother, Pat Loud—who played her own part in gay history as the literary agent of writers Felice Picano (Like People in History) and Andrew Holleran (Dancer From the Dance). A memorial service for Loud is planned for late January in Los Angeles.