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This documentary takes a reflective look at the life of Lance Loud, the eldest child of the Loud family from the 1973 PBS documentary series "An American Family." According to the documentary, Lance, who died of a Hepatitis-C and HIV co-infection in December 2002, was "the first openly homosexual person to appear on television as an integral member of American family life" and the first reality television celebrity. The first part of the film reviews Lance Loud's celebrity and public image as a gay man, interspersing archival footage (including a 1973 televised critique by anthropologist Margaret Mead) and segments from "An American Family." Loud discusses his 20-year speed addiction and explains his reasons for requesting that filmmakers document the end of his life. Pat Loud and Lance Loud (in 2001 interviews) reflect on Pat's fateful 1970s visit to New York City to see Lance, which became episode two of the television series and was the vehicle by which Lance "came out" as a homosexual to the American public. This section includes segments from "An American Family," Lance's 1973 appearance on "The Dick Cavett Show," and his seminar at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in 1996. Pat and Lance recall Lance's interaction with Warhol through his teens and early twenties. A clip of Warhol commenting on Lance and his punk band, The Mumps, introduces the next section of the film which briefly reviews Lance's music career in the 1970s; this portion of the film includes footage from The Mumps performances in the mid-1970s and interviews with Lance, The Mumps keyboardist and songwriter Kristian Hoffman, and Pat regarding Lance's talent, the rise and fall of the band, and the effect the band's break-up had on frontman Lance. Pat's description of the band's breakup as the low point in Lance's life and the root of his crystal-meth addiction introduces the next portion of the film, which covers Lance's move to Los Angeles following the breakup of The Mumps, his subsequent writing career, and his burgeoning speed addiction; commentary on these topics is provided by former "Details" magazine editor David Keeps, Lance, editorial assistant Bobby Mayhem, and fashion designer Gregory Poe. The final section of the film looks at the development of Lance's relationship with his family from the time of the "An American Family" series through his death; Lance, sister Michelle, father Bill, and mother Pat contribute commentary in clips from "An American Family," HBO's 1983 documentary "An American Family Revisited: The Louds Ten Years Later," and interviews in 2001 and 2002. The film ends with highlights fromÊ"Remembering Lance," the memorial service held after Lance Loud's death in 2002 featuring eulogies by the Reverend John McLean and writer Vicky Galvez and a performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by singer Rufus Wainwright and keyboardist Kate McGarrigle. After the end credits, Lance performs a short send-up of his family's chronicled life entitled "300 Years of Louds in America."

(This program is a press preview copy and contains production and direction credits only.)

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 2003.


  • DATE: January 9, 2003 Thursday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:56:57
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:78339
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Homosexuality (See also: Gays); LGBT Collection; Television - Reality programs
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV, 2003


  • Alan Raymond … Producer, Director, Direction (Misc.), Cinematographer
  • Susan Raymond … Producer, Director
  • Mark Brownstone … Production (Misc.), Editor
  • Dick Cavett
  • Vicky Galvez
  • Kristian Hoffman
  • David Keeps
  • Bill Loud
  • Lance Loud
  • Michelle Loud
  • Pat Loud
  • Bobby Mayhem
  • Kate McGarrigle
  • John McLean
  • Margaret Mead
  • The Mumps
  • Gregory Poe
  • Rufus Wainwright
  • Andy Warhol
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