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  • Lance Loud at age 21

    Lance Loud at age 21

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The Film

Decades before reality programming took over primetime television, PBS made television history with the documentary series An American Family. Ten million viewers tuned in to watch the real-life drama of the everyday at the Santa Barbara home of the Loud Family. Lance Loud, the eldest son, might be considered America’s original reality TV star. He inspired and shocked a generation of viewers as the first openly gay man on TV — and he wasn’t just a fictional character. His fame catapulted him into a life of hobnobbing with arts luminaries like Andy Warhol, and forming a popular band called The Mumps that regularly sold out CBGB and other New York clubs. After settling into a life as a writer, Loud was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and HIV, which would cost him his life in 2001 at age 50. Lance Loud! A Death in an American Family examines a life of quiet inspiration that speaks volumes about pop culture, sexuality, fame, and family.

The Filmmakers

  1. Alan RaymondProducer
  2. Susan RaymondProducer

As the filmmakers of the seminal 1973 PBS cinema vérité series An American Family, Alan and Susan Raymond captured the daily life of the Loud family that foreshadowed America’s rising divorce rate and the emergence of the gay liberation movement. The Raymonds continued a friendship with the Loud family that spanned 30 years and produced two additional films: American Family Revisited (HBO 1983), and Lance Loud! A Death in An American Family. The Raymonds won the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary for I Am A Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary SchoolDoing Time: Life Inside the Big House.