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Sean Sasser, who was Pedro Zamora’s partner during “Real World: San Francisco,” has died

I’m so very sad to have learned that Sean Sasser has died at the age of 44.

Viewers of MTV’s The Real World during the classic 1994 season in San Francisco remember Sean as the partner of Pedro Zamora, an HIV-positive Cuban-American whose time in the Real World house on Lombard Street brought a face to the AIDS crisis.

Pedro learned he was HIV-positive while a junior in high school. He was just 17 and decided to spend the rest of his life educating people about the disease that claimed his life just five years later.

We learned during the show that Sasser was also HIV-positive but he enjoyed far more robust health than Pedro.

Dan Renzi, an alumnus of Real World: Miami, has written a tribute for Queerty. Here is an excerpt:

… He did not live his life in the limelight after the show. But his one brief turn in front of the cameras was enough to make a major impact. Long before “Ellen” or “Will & Grace” showcased gay people on TV living mainstream lives, and before the magic of protease inhibitor “cocktails” turned HIV into a manageable disease, Sasser gave a brave face to both issues and brought those taboo topics to educate millions of young Americans.

And perhaps his early death is a stark reminder that for many, HIV is still a disease, a lesson he undoubtedly would not want anyone to forget and be proud survives him.
Below is the memorable episode of The Real World: San Francisco when Pedro and Sean had a beautiful commitment ceremony:

The Real World: San FranciscoFull Episodes

Dustin Lance Black calls on Hollywood to use its clout against Vladimir Putin and Russia’s anti-gay laws

Since Dustin Lance Black regularly juggles his entertainment industry career with political activism, who better than this Oscar winning screenwriter to tell Hollywood to take off its blinders to what is going on in Russia when it comes to LGBT people.

Here are some excerpts from a call to action he’s written published in The Hollywood Reporter:

Just days after the Supreme Court made so many of us feel more American with a pair of favorable marriage-equality rulings, on the other side of the globe, Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted some of the most vehemently anti-gay laws the world has ever known. The most dangerous weapon he has against his own LGBT citizens is the apathy that may spring from international ignorance and our own potential domestic contentment.

Last week, my friend Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, sent a letter to six major studios and the Motion Picture Association of America, urging them to speak out about the ongoing atrocities in Russia. So far, every one of them has avoided comment. The truth is, there is virtually no other industry that can make a greater impact than ours. In 2012, annual box-office returns for the top 50 films in Russia topped $900 million. Nearly every one of those movies is a product of Hollywood. Our business matters to Russia, our voices are heard in Russia, and the combination of these avenues of influence can absolutely help end these dark days there.

Because the truth is, the other thing that will soon be noted by Putin and LGBT Russians alike is our industry’s silence and apathy. And LGBT Russians living in fear and putting their lives on the line deserve better than our inaction and silence.

FILE UNDER: Human Rights

Greg In Hollywood on Equality Radio: We talk Jay Leno, George Takei, Raven-Symone and more!

George Takei wants Olympics moved from Russia

There has been talk of boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi because of Russia’s draconian anti-gay propaganda law.

George Takei has another idea: Move the Olympics from Russia entirely while there is still time.

In a column posted on his website, Takei writes in part:

There have been urgent calls for boycotts of the Olympics and of Russian exports like vodka. These are understandable: It just doesn’t seem right to see any of our dollars flowing to that nation. But a boycott of the games would punish athletes who have trained for years to participate, and a boycott of Russian vodka isn’t going to effect the kind of change needed. Besides, with Russia’s confirmation that it will enforce its law, our LGBT athletes are in real danger, and their safety must be paramount.

Many believe that such a call to move the Olympics out of Russia goes too far. Would this be their opinion if the law instead called for the arrest of any Jews, Roman Catholics or Muslims should they display any sign of their religion, such as a wearing a yamaka or praying while facing Mecca? Discrimination in any form is a blight upon the Winter Games, and it must not be tolerated.

Nations are not judged merely on their might, but also by how they treat their most vulnerable. Russia’s cynical and deplorable actions against the LGBT community have given license to hate groups within its borders to act with violence and impunity against a group, based solely on whom they were born to love. It now seeks to spread that hate abroad through its tainted Olympics. If Russia hopes to stand with the International Community, it must accept and adopt international principles of equality and non-discrimination.

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

See Archie Comics character kiss boyfriend

I don’t know how many moms are really in the anti-gay group One Million Moms but they did Archie Comics all kinds of favors last year when they announced the boycott of an issue featuring the wedding of gay character Kevin Keller.

The issue, of course, sold out.

Today, an issue of the comic featuring the younger Kevin goes on sale and in it, he kisses his boyfriend at the diner.

A woman sees it and causes a scene and this leads to a public debate over public displays of affection and should they be okay for some people and not for others.

Here’s a little preview:

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Wednesday Morning Man: Brett Dalton!

Last Sunday, during ABC day at the TV Critics Association Press Tour, we were shown the pilot episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which should make fans of all those Marvel Comics movies like Avengers and Iron Man very happy.

One of the members of the cast is this handsome fellow, Brett Dalton!

Brett plays the character of Grant Ward. The series is a big break for this young actor who graduated from Yale School of Drama in 2011.

He had previously done guest spots on Blue Bloods and Army Wives and had a role in the TV movie Killing Lincoln.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013

Obama to Leno on Russia: “No patience” for countries that try to intimidate or harm LGBT people

President Barack Obama was in town today to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jay had this question for the prez about Russia and its ant-gay propaganda law: “Suddenly homosexuality is against the law. I mean, this sounds like Germany with let’s round up the Jews. Let’s round up the gays. It starts with that. You round up people who you don’t like. I mean, why is not more of the world outraged by this?”

Obama replied that he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays of lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

In regards to the 2014 Olympics scheduled to be in Sochi, Russia, Leno asked Obama how the laws might impact the event, its participants and its spectators.

Said Obama: “You know, I think Putin and Russia have a big stake in making sure that the Olympics work, and I think that they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn’t tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently. They are athletes. They are there to compete. And if Russia wants to uphold the Olympic spirit, then every judgment should be made on the track or in the swimming pool or the balance beam and people’s sexual orientation shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”

FILE UNDER: Politics

Video: A terrific interview with the remarkable Billie Jean King about coming out in pro sports

Readers know I worship Billie Jean King and have since I was a kid. She’s represented so much of what I wanted to be in terms of being a fighter, a leader and achieving your dreams.

This HuffPost Live interview with BJK captures her now – so wise, such great perspective, so self-aware.

When it comes to people coming out in sports, she knows what she’s talking about.

Take a look.

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Still loving Lucy on 102nd anniversary of her birth

It was 102 years ago today that Lucille Désirée Ball was born and went on to make our lives just a little bit happier through her comedy genius.

I can’t tell you how many times this year – and every year – my friends and family members end up talking about how something or another reminds us of an I Love Lucy episode.

From friends who are newspaper foreign correspondents to my 11 year old nephew, I have a lot of Lucy lovers in my life.

It’s a love that will never end!

FILE UNDER: Birthdays

His appendix removed, Elton John is on the mend

In no time at all, the bitch will be back!

Elton John is now at his home in Nice, France, recovering after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix.

The 66-year-old star was forced to put a halt to his European concert tour last month after being diagnosed with an appendix abscess.

He told The Sun that he performed 10 shows ‘in agony’ before he sought medical attention. The surgery took place last Thursday at Monaco’s Princess Grace Hospital.

‘I was a ticking time bomb,’ Elton said. ‘I guess I could have died at any time. I feel so lucky and grateful to be alive.’

But he is expected to be well enough to go back out on tour this fall to promote his latest album The Diving Board due out Sept. 24.

He is grateful for the outpouring of support from fans during his illness and has posted a message for them on his website:

“I would like to thank the literally thousands of people who have sent me get well cards and messages over the past two weeks. Your well wishes have touched me deeply and will play a big part in my recovery.

I cannot wait to see you all and thank you in person when I resume my concert schedule later this year. In the meantime, please know that I consider myself a very blessed man to have such caring and considerate fans.


Ben Whishaw who played Q in James Bond film “Skyfall” comes out as gay – and married!

Love it whenever anyone comes out publicly and how cool to have it be Ben Whishaw who played the role of gadgets guru Q in the most recent James Bond film Skyfall.

The 32-year-old actor got married last year to Australian composer Mark Bradshaw.

His spokesman confirmed this because of growing speculation.

“Ben has never hidden his sexuality, but like many actors he prefers not to discuss his family or life outside of his work,” the spokesman said. “Due to speculation, I can confirm that Ben and Mark entered into a civil partnership in August 2012. They were proud to do so and are very happy.”

Whishaw will reprise the role of Q in the next Bond film which will, of course, again star the fabulous Daniel Craig.


Greg In Hollywood chats with Casey Deidrick about leaving the role of Chad on “Days of Our Lives”

Casey Deidrick has been one of my favorite actors on NBC’s Days of Our Lives ever since I started watching the show a few years ago.

My interest in the show came with the introduction of the gay character of Sonny Kiriakis then, of course, the coming out of Will Horton and all that led to the daytime supercouple of WilSon.

Casey’s character of Chad DiMera was good friends with the gay characters from the beginning and established himself right away as a straight ally who was supportive and protective of his friends.

So I was sad to learn that Casey had decided to leave the show and the role of Chad which he had played for more than four years. His last episode airs on October 31.

I’m not sure what will happen to Chad but on recent episodes, he’s been having headaches and the doctor said he might have a brain tumor.

This would be a terrible development because not only is Casey incredibly tall and handsome, but he has the best head of hair in all of daytime TV and a tumor would probably mean they would have to shave it off!

Anyway, I chatted with Casey recently about his decision to leave Days and about Chad’s loyalty to Sonny and Will.

‘I’m kind of bummed because they kind of dropped the Will and Sonny and Chad storyline,’ he says. ‘A lot of the fans were responding to it. I so enjoyed working with those two. It was so much fun. It just kind of went away. i know the fans enjoyed our scenes together, liked the three of us together. I thought that was one of the cool things about Chad because you were gay, so what? No matter what you are my friend, I love that they wrote my character that way.’

Chad has had plenty on his plate besides his bromance with Will and Sonny. He was the object of Gabi’s affection to the point where she hired a fake stalker who then kidnapped his then-girlfriend Melanie. After Chad found out what Gabi had done and Melanie had left him, the usually upbeat character turned dark and ruined Gabi’s wedding to Nick by announcing to the entire church that Gabi was pregnant with someone else’s baby (he did not know that someone else was his gay friend Will!)

“That was the most fun I think l’ve had on the show,’ Casey admits. ‘Everyone wants to play someone they are not. I’m such a chill, relaxed guy. I got to do a lot of cool stuff. I’m thankful they gave me a chance to play that.’

But it wasn’t enough for him to want to extend his time on the show.

‘I basically just wanted to pursue other opportunities,’ he says. ‘I feel like I learned everything that I could from the soap opera, it was my boot camp. It was never my end game in the first place But I’m thankful for the time I had and the people I got to work with.”

Since he taped his final episode earlier this summer, Casey is now adjusting to days of his life without the soap.

‘It’s a transitional period,’ he says. ‘Change is always hard and weird at first. I’m keeping myself busy with auditions and my music.’

He has signed with the United Talent Agency and is looking to land roles in feature films and prime-time shows and ideally sees himself on one of the younger-skewing shows on The CW.

“I feel like that’s my calling, the CW,’ he says. ‘I’d also love to get on an HBO show. I’m obsessed with Walking Dead.

Casey did a guest spot on Glee last season and it turned out to be the last episode that series star Cory Monteith ever appeared in. Monteith wrapped up his season a bit early in order to enter a drug rehab. He died last month from a toxic mixing of heroin and alcohol.

“He was a super down to Earth, a really fun guy to be around,’ Casey says. ‘When I first heard the news I was in shock. It was so much fun to work with him. We got to talk a bit and he made my experience enjoyable.’

Casey is also keeping busy with his heavy metal band called The Last of Us whose members also include Chandler Massey who plays Will Horton on the soap. They will soon begin production of their first video for the song Sixty-Five Roses about the experiences of someone living, loving and dying with the tragic illness.

Let’s hope that’s not Chad’s fate!

FILE UNDER: Days of Our Lives

Tuesday Morning Man: Lincoln Palomeque!

So last Friday evening, I had dinner at my dad’s house in Huntington Beach and we ended up watching one of the Spanish language telenovelas after our meal.

I don’t remember what it was called but I do remember making a mental note to myself: the actors on these shows are amazingly hot – Morning Men material left and right!

So today I present to you this stunner: Lincoln Palomeque!

According to We Love Soaps, he’s just signed on to play Willy Delgado in Santa Diabla, Telemundo’s new original telenovela premiering Tuesday, August 6.

He will play a passionate musician named Willy who marries his childhood sweetheart named Santa Martinez with whom he has a son. But something must go very awry between the couple because Willy becomes the reason why Santa devotes her life to plotting justice and revenge.

Lincoln is 36 and was born in Columbia and is a two-time TVyNovelas Awards winner for best actor and best villain.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013

See video of a rare reunion between Motown pioneers Diana Ross and Mary Wilson with Berry Gordy

Back in April, I posted a photo of Diana Ross and Mary Wilson – childhood friends, one-time singing partners and at times bitter enemies – together on the same stage on the opening night of Motown, the Broadway musical about the history of the legendary Detroit-based record label that launched their careers.

That posting generated 44 comments and let me know there are still plenty of people out there interested in the love-hate relationship between these two former Supremes.

Here is footage of their first time together in 30 years on the red carpet. I like seeing them smiling and on their best behavior. At Saturday night’s Hollywood Bowl concert, Miss Ross flashed photos of the Supremes and other Motown alums during a Supremes number. It was a nice touch that I had not seen before.

FILE UNDER: Icons, Music

Will Arizona and Callie’s marriage be able to survive infidelity on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” ?

I have to confess to no longer watching Grey’s Anatomy very often if ever anymore but I’m glad to see it is still going strong.

I’m mostly glad because it prominently features a lesbian couple!

But fans were shocked at the end of last season when Jessica Capshaw’s character of Arizona cheated on her wife Callie played by Sara Ramirez.

Creator Shondra Rhimes said this week that the storyline will play out dramatically when the long-running medical drama returns in the fall.

‘We’re going to get to see a very interesting journey for both women. I’m excited about it,’ Rhimes tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Rhimes isn’t revealing which way things will go but does say this: ‘I feel like one of two things will happen: They’ll end up getting back together and we’ll see this journey and watch them fight through it, or they won’t and we’ll get to see what happens when there’s more than one major lesbian relationship on a big television show.’

Rhimes says that wherever the story goes, her goal is to not have Callie and Arizona be in what she refers to as ‘a lesbian ghetto’ and have them experience some of the same situations the heterosexual couples on the show do.

‘We let all the other characters on Grey’s Anatomy go through everything,’ she says. ‘It puts Callie and Arizona in a lesbian ghetto the way it does when there’s a black character on TV and they always have to be good and can’t do anything wrong. It puts them into a lesbian ghetto if they can only be happy and perfectly married.’

‘Let’s let them be complex,’ Rhimes adds. ‘Let’s let them have the same three-dimensional story lines that every other character on television has. Let’s let people root for them to get back together or root for them to grow apart. Let’s let them have everything that everybody else has; why do they have to be perfect?’

When Callie was married the first time on the show, it was to a male doctor (played by TR Knight) who had also cheated on her. Rhimes says that will play into how the infidelity impacts her.

‘It’s one thing to be cheated on by a spouse once, it’s another thing to have it happen a second time,’ she says.

FILE UNDER: Television

Cher’s “Women’s World” #1 on Billboard Dance Chart: See some of her terrific new radio interviews

I’ve just watched some of these recent radio interviews (WCBS-FM 101.1 and Z100) that Cher has done and she is so relaxed, animated and cool that it shows you why she is such a beloved superstar for 50 years or so.

These are great interviews that are a lot about music like the first time she heard herself on the radio (it was KFWB and the song was Baby Don’t Go w/Sonny Bono). Before that, she was a background singer who sang on such hits as Be My Baby and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.

We learn that Cher will probably tour next year, that one of her big career regrets was not being well enough to take the role that eventually went to Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise.

There’s a lot of heat around Cher even more than a month before the release of her new album because her single Woman’s World is number one on the Billboard Dance Chart.

This marks the eighth time Cher has topped this particular Billboard chart. The first time was with Believe in 1998 followed the next year with two singles from the Believe album: Strong Enough and All or Nothing.

In 2002, she topped the dance chart again with Song for the Lonely and A Different Kind of Love Song then again the next year with When The Money’s Gone. Then after a eight-year hiatus from recording, Cher’s single You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me from her movie Burlesque brought her back to the top of the chart in 2012.

Her latest success is the continuation of a legendary career that dates back 48 years ago to her first number one single, I Got You Babe, with then-husband Sonny Bono. While she and Bono had other hits such as The Beat Goes On, most of her recording successes have been solo and have been spread across six different decades.

They include Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), Half Breed, Gypsies Tramps and Thieves, Dark Lady, Take Me Home, I Found Someone, If I Could Turn Back Time, Just Like Jesse James, among many others.

Woman’s World is the lead single off of Cher’s forthcoming album Closer to the Truth to be released 24 September. It’s her first full album of new material in 11 years.


Raven-Symonè elaborates on coming out tweet

Okay, so Raven-Symonè didn’t actually write the words ‘I am a lesbian’ in a tweet last week but we got the message loud and clear.

She wrote: ‘I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you.’

Didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure she was referring to gay marriages beginning taking place in Rhode Island and Minnesota last week.

Through her representatives, the former star of Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven and the popular Cheetah Girls movies, issued a statement elaborating on her tweet and clarifying that she is not getting married.

‘I am very happy that gay marriage is opening up around the country and is being accepted,” she states. “I was excited to hear that more states legalized gay marriage. I, however am not currently getting married, but it is great to know I can now, should I wish to.’

Yay Raven!

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Lady Gaga has message for Russian gays: ‘You are not alone. We will fight for your freedom’

Lady Gaga is taking on the Russian government and its anti-gay law that prohibits anyone from showing support for LGBT people.

The singer defied the law when she performed in the country last December when she said during her performance: ‘Tonight, this is my house Russia. You can be gay in my house.’

On Twitter this afternoon, Gaga issued this challenge to the government: ‘Why didn’t you arrest me when you had the chance, Russia? Because you didn’t want answer to the world?’

She also sent out support to the gay community in Russia.

‘Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia,’ Gaga tweeted. ‘The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?’

‘The Russian government is criminal,’ she added. ‘Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom.’

FILE UNDER: Uncategorized

Monday Morning Man: Kevin Bishop!

Yesterday was ABC day at the TV Critics Association Summer Press Tour and this good looking blond was there as part of the cast of the new comedy Super Fun Night.

He’s Kevin Bishop and I remember him from the 2002 film Food of Love in which he played a music student who is offered the chance to be the page turner for an acclaimed pianist and they begin an affair.

While that film was a drama, the 33-year-old Bishop is an English comedian best known for a series of comedy roles including a well-known satirical spoof on Tom Cruise from the series Star Stories.

He then went on to star in hos own sketch comedy series for two seasons called The Kevin Bishop Show.

Kevin’s first big break came back in 1996 with his first film role in Muppets Treasure Island.

FILE UNDER: Morning Men - 2013

Diana Ross dazzles at the Hollywood Bowl

At 69, Diana Ross doesn’t dance and run around the stage the way that she used to and has the costume changes down to about three or four.

But that marvelous voice and larger-than-life stage presence is still intact as the crowd at last night’s sold out concert at The Hollywood Bowl was happy to discover.

We were in the cheap seats way in the back at The Bowl – a completely new experience for me. Back where we sat, people did not hold back – there was unabashed dancing and singing from the first number to the last and a wonderful camaraderie that seemed to instantly develop.

One of my favorite moments from last night was when my friend, David Trudell, leaped up and started dancing to Diana’s classic disco hit The Boss – pointing his finger at the lady in the row in front of us who was also dancing and had been channeling Miss Ross from the very first number.

We all did the Supremes choreography during Stop! In the Name of Love and boogied during Love Hangover, Take Me Higher, I Will Survive and Upside Down.

Other Supremes hits performed last night were Love Child, Where Did Our Love Go, You Can’t Hurry Love, My World is Empty Without You and Baby Love.

A real highlight of the show was Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Miss Ross’s first number one hit as a solo artist. She also performed her next solo number ones: Touch Me in the Morning and Theme From Mahogany.

She did a beautiful Don’t Explain from Lady Sings the Blues but did not perform the sublime Good Morning Heartache.

When you have as many hits as Miss Ross, there is not time to do them all. The group of women in front of us were waiting to hear Muscles and I had to tell them she has not done song that in concert in years.

She also long ago stopped doing Reach Out and Touch during which she would wade into the audience and have some real touchy feely moments. These days Miss Ross doesn’t talk much to the audience except when introducing band members.

But we were surprised she did not perform the big hit ballads Missing You, It’s My Turn or Endless Love or the dance song Chain Reaction which she used to open concerts with at one point.

The show was a family affair with the star’s actress daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross, serving as a charming and funny hostess. She introduced the opening act which was her sister, Rhonda Ross as well as her brother, Evan Ross.

Both are talented and solid but nowhere near as unique or charismatic as their famous mom who, let’s face it, is one of a kind.

FILE UNDER: Greg's Reviews