Monday, 6 June 2011

June 6th: Harvey Fierstein, Actor, playwright and screenwriter

b. June 6, 1952
“Prejudice tolerated is intolerance encouraged.”

Distinguished by his signature gravelly voice, Harvey Fierstein is a celebrated playwright, actor and producer. He is the only entertainer to have won Tony Awards as an actor and writer in both dramatic and musical categories.

Fierstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a handkerchief manufacturer and a school librarian. He graduated from Pratt Institute of Art with a B.F.A. in painting.

Fierstein wrote “Torch Song Trilogy,” one of the first Broadway shows to feature a gay theme. It focused on a gay family and their struggle for acceptance and love. Anne Bancroft and Matthew Broderick starred in the film adaptation, which was among the first mainstream movies to address gay issues.

His play “Safe Sex” (1987), another trilogy, was written in response to the AIDS crisis. “Tidy Endings,” the third of the short plays, was adapted for an HBO television movie.

Fierstein narrated “The Times of Harvey Milk” (1984) and appeared in the films “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993), “Bullets Over Broadway” (1994) and “Independence Day” (1996), among others. He was featured in the television series “Ellen,” “Miami Vice,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “Cheers.” He develops commentaries for the GLBT documentary series “In the Life” and writes op-ed articles on gay themes that have been published in The New York Times. Fierstein also authored “The Sissy Duckling,” a children’s book about a duck who is teased for being a sissy, but ultimately demonstrates his bravery. In 2001, its film adaptation won a Humanitas Prize. 

Fierstein has received four Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards and a Theatre World Award for acting and writing.

Clarke, Gerald. “No Opened Doors for Me.” Time. June 20,1983,9171,926075,00.html
Collins, Glenn. “In ‘Safe Sex’ Harvey Fierstein Turns Serious.” The New York Times. April 5, 1987
Fierstein, Harvey. “Our Prejudices, Ourselves.” The New York Times. April 13, 2007
Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein.” The Gallery Players. November 2, 2006       
Welsh, Anne Marie. “The Harvey ‘Affair’” The San Diego Union Tribune. September 16, 2007
“Times Topics: Harvey Fierstein.” The New York Times.
La Cage aux Folles (1984)
Torch Song Trilogy (1983)
Safe Sex (1987)
Hairspray (2003)
Hair (2005)
A Catered Affair (2008)

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