By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com October 01 2002 12:00 AM ET
The Los Angeles Times reports that openly gay actor Michael Greer died September 14 of lung cancer at a hospital in Riverside, Calif., at the age of 64. Greer was best known for his larger-than-life roles in the comedy The Gay Deceivers and the prison drama Fortune and Men's Eyes.
In his landmark book on gay cinema, The Celluloid Closet, critic Vito Russo wrote, "The saving grace of [The Gay Deceivers] is the comic performance of Michael Greer as Malcolm, the landlord. Greer not only wrote his own role as a flamboyant queen (complete with Bette Davis imitations) but apparently rewrote the screenplay in places, making it 'funnier and less homophobic than was intended' wherever he could. 'It was also one of the few films,' said Greer, 'in which the gays didn't end in suicide or insanity.' It was a good example of gay humor used in an oppressive situation. Malcolm was a stereotype with a sense of pride."