Lance Loud, America’s First Gay Reality Star, Subject Of New Biography

In 1973, the first real reality show, An American Family, hit the airwaves and audiences were introduced to the Loud family—including in-your-face gay son, Lance Loud.

After decades as a provocative writer and rock musician, Lance died of AIDS-related illness in 2001, but the Loud family came back into focus last year in the HBO docudrama Cinema Verite.

Now Lance’s mom, Pat Loud, has gathered original correspondence, writing and photos from her son—as well as recollections from friends like Debbie Harry, Rufus Wainwright and Andy Warhol—for the new biography Lance Out Loud.

Pat worked closely with artist and editor Christopher Makos, a longtime friend to Lance, on the book. “I have known Christopher since he was a kid,” she told PBS 13. “Lance met him in New York and he came to stay with us in ’72 for a week, so I’ve known him that long.”

She also recalls Lance’s friendship with Warhol, which began when her son was only 13: “One time, Lance told me he was going to run away and go to New York. He got downtown in Santa Barbara and he called Andy, and Andy talked him out of it. He came home and waited a few more years! I’m sure [Andy] was thinking, ‘I don’t want this kid hanging around my house!’”

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh will be holding an author signing for Lance out Loud on November 9.



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  • Cam

    In your face gay as a young guy on TV in 1973. Brave guy. It’s a shame that something so brave and out there didn’t get him more well known when now all Kim Karsashian had to do was get pissed on in a sex tape to get famous.

  • hephaestion

    I admired Lance so much when “An Ameican Family” aired in the 70’s. I was his age, but I was years from having the courage to come out. Only a tiny percentage of gays came out of the closet in those days. Lance’s bold & unapologetic gayness dazzled me and gave me my first notion of how it could be to actually come out. He was a charming force of nature.

  • Scott Johansen

    Is anyone else ever fascinated about how rich our LGBT story is? Just how many fascinating stories of organizations, couples and in this case, individuals there are out there. So many unsung heros and triumphs. Everytime I geek out online and have free time to do research on LGBT history, I’m sincerely blown away by some INCREDIBLE stories and people. There’s so much to learn, and I swear, the more I learn about LGBT, the more proud I am to be part of such a historic and courageous community.

  • NotStr8Acting

    Thank you Lance Loud and all the gay men and women who came before us who didn’t apologize for who they were. Who were proud of who they were. Who didn’t hide it or play a straight role. It’s thank to you all that we have this site, and are able to be ourselves today. And we as GLBT of this generation owe it to the next generation to make it a far more accepting environment for GLBT than it is today as well. It comes with being open, out, and proud of who you are and your significant other, and working for a goal.

  • alterego1980

    I am too young to have watched the show. I wish some more context was provided for the 9 minute video i just watched…

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