Lance Loud! A Death in an American Family

Take an inside look at the eventful life and tragic death of this hero of the gay liberation movement who came out on national television in 1973.

Premiere Date
January 6, 2003
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects

Alan Raymond


Susan Raymond

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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.