Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Michael Kearns papers
Bulk Dates: 1990-2000
Collection number: Coll2008-009
Kearns, Michael, 1950-
Collection Size: 3 archive cartons, 4 archive
half-cartons, 1 records box, 2 oversize boxes, 1 shoebox. 5.3
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.
Los Angeles, California 90007
Abstract: Clippings, programs, flyers, posters, and VHS
videotapes, of the works, theatrical performances, and appearances of Michael
Kearns; a parent, playwright, producer, director, actor, author, and activist,
who is openly gay and HIV-positive.
Languages represented in the collection: English
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Box #, Folder #, Michael Kearns Papers, Coll2008-009, ONE National Gay
and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.
Gift of Michael Kearns, date unknown.
Collection processed by Michael C. Oliveira, with assistance from
Sócrates Silva, May 3, 2008.
Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the
National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Michael Kearns was born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1950. He attended the
Goodman Theater School in Chicago before making his way to Los Angeles in the
early 1970s where he has acted on the stage, in television, and in motion
pictures. Since the 1980s he has grown into the profession as director,
producer, acting teacher, playwright, and author. Hollywood’s first openly gay
actor, Kearns has been involved in various theater productions throughout Los
Angeles addressing HIV/AIDS while also appearing in mainstream television. In
addition to more than a dozen produced plays and solo pieces including;
The Truth Is Bad Enough (1983),
More Intimacies (1990),
Attachments (1996), and
Tell-Tale Kisses (1998) his writings have
appeared in a wide variety of publications, including the
Los Angeles Times, the
LA Weekly and the
Advocate. He is the author of three theater
books, published by Heinemann:
T-Cells & Sympathy (nominated for a
Lambda Literary Award),
Acting = Life (also Lammy nominated), and
Getting Your Solo Act Together. He received
the 2002 Playwright’s Arena Award for Outstanding Contribution to Los Angeles
Theater acknowledging three decades of his work as an actor, writer, producer,
director, teacher, and fundraiser. In addition to his artistic contributions
Kearns has been honored for his philanthropic endeavors by numerous
organizations. Among his philanthropic accomplishments is the creation of
Southland Theater Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE), which since 1984 has raised
millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS services and charities throughout Southern
California. Kearns lives in Los Angeles with his daughter Tia.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Michael Kearns collection documents his theatrical and charitable
contributions to the community from the early 1970s. He organized and produced
various benefits and awareness raising events for political, HIV/AIDS, and
community organizations including an annual event in commemoration of World
Primarily the collection consists of clippings, flyers, programs, and
VHS videotape cassettes of interviews and performances, along with some
performance still photographs and scripts from his theatrical works as a
playwright, director, and actor.
The collection is arranged into five series, Theater; Emcee, Model, and
Speaker; Writings; Awards, Commendations, and Honors; and Biographical. The
Theater Series and the Writings Series are divided into subseries. The Theater
Series includes the subseries: Playwright, Director, Actor, and Producer and
the Writing Series includes the subseries: Author, Poet and Journalist, and
Columnist. Each of these series and subseries are arranged alphabetically by
the title or name of the performance, publication, or organization. With the
following exceptions, readings by Kearns at ONE, Spoken Interludes and the West
Hollywood Book Fair were placed at the end of the Actor subseries; and the
folders of Editorials and Letters to the Editor along with articles about
Family were placed at the end of the Journalist, Columnist subseries.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection in the library's online public access catalog.
AIDS activists--California--Los Angeles
Gay men's writings
Homosexuality and theater