Glenn Burke
Jamie Lee Curtis Bringing Life of First Gay Baseball Player to Big Screen

By Patrick Yacco

Originally published on Advocate.com March 06 2014 6:48 PM ET

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is making progress on her project of producing a film version of the life of the first openly gay baseball player, Glenn Burke, reports Deadline. Laramie Project producer Ross Katz just signed on to write the film, which the Halloween star has been endeavoring to develop for some time. Titled Out at Home: The Glenn Burke Story, the picture is based on the memoir of the same name, written by Burke with Erik Sherman; the book came out in 1995, the same year Burke died of AIDS complications.

Curtis noted the similarities between Burke’s groundbreaking revelation in the early 1980s with the recent landmark coming out of other prominent athletes: "With Michael Sam’s brave and bold statement, he joins the trifecta of American sports — Glenn Burke, MLB; Jason Collins, NBA; Michael Sam, NFL — dealing with gay athletes, and forcing open the door permanently. … Our film will clearly honor the force and the struggle to get there." (Sam is actually not yet in the NFL, but the University of Missouri star is likely to be drafted by a team soon.)

Burke played for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics in the late 1970s. While he openly discussed his sexuality with his teammates, he did not come out to the public as gay until a 1982 interview with Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s Today show. In addition to his role in increasing the visibility of LGBT players in sports, he is credited with inventing the high-five in 1977.

Contributor: 
Patrick Yacco