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The Truth is Bad Enough: What Became of the Happy Hustler? Paperback – May 17, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475067550
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475067552
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kearns is unsparing in recounting his addictive days, candid about how his queer and AIDS activism impacted his Hollywood career and - in the final chapters - luminous in imparting the love he shares with his daughter, who now aspires to be an actor, just like dad. This multi-textured memoir shimmers."
Richard Labonte, Book Marks

"As an author, Kearns stays on his path and writes what he feels. I like Michael Kearns for who he appears to be, based on this memoir. My perception of him is that he is an enigmatic, quirky, free spirit--all traits that I admire in people."
Joseph Yurt, blogcritics

About the Author

Beginning in the early seventies with his appearance in the Los Angeles production of Tom Eyen’s The Dirtiest Show In Town, Michael Kearns has been a significant figure in the world of art and politics. In one of the Twentieth Century’s most notorious hoaxes, Kearns was hired by Warner Books in 1974 to play the role of Grant Tracy Saxon, a fictitious character depicted in The Happy Hustler. The promotional blitz, encompassing a guest stint as John-Boy’s college “Big Brother” on The Waltons, spanned over two years and resulted in Kearns’ title as “the first openly gay actor in Hollywood.” Kearns continued to establish himself as a mainstream actor (The Waltons, Murder She Wrote, Cheers, Body Double, Beverly Hills 90210, And The Band Played On) while immersing in the worldwide theatre scene. He has achieved international acclaim as a solo performer (intimacies, Rock, attachments, Tell Tale Kisses, Make Love Not War, Once Upon a Time in South Africa). His award-winning theatrical resume includes an international tour of Dream Man as well as Los Angeles appearances in Camille, Bill and Eddie, Rubicon, the tenth year anniversary reading of The Normal Heart and the twentieth anniversary reading of The Boys In The Band. Kearns directed the world premieres of Eric Bentley’s Round Two, Robert Chesley’s Jerker, James Carroll Pickett’s Bathhouse Benediction and the Off Broadway solo pieces, The Porcelain Penelope Freak Show and Elevator Sex. Kearns has also directed an international tour of Dream Man (Spain, Ireland, Scotland, America). In addition to having more than a dozen plays produced (Myron, Robert’s Memorial, Barriers, Blessings, and Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee? among them), he also co-wrote the screenplay of Nine Lives, based on his play, complications. He has achieved international acclaim as a solo performer (intimacies, Rock, attachments, Tell Tale Kisses, Make Love Not War). The author of six theatre books published by Heinemann (T-Cells & Sympathy, Acting = Life), his most recent—The Drama of AIDS, My Lasting Connections with Two Plays that Survived the Plague—was released in the fall of ’09 in conjunction with the 20th anniversary tour of intimacies. Openly gay and publicly HIV-positive, the artist-activist is the recipient of several Lifetime Achievement Awards and Humanitarian Awards. Kearns is presently the Co-Artistic Director of the Katselas Theatre Company. He lives in Los Angeles with his daughter, Katherine Kearns.

More About the Author

Everything you want to know about Michael Kearns--theatre artist, teacher, activist, father--can be found in his 2012 autobiography, THE TRUTH IS BAD ENOUGH, What Became of The Happy Hustler?
Beginning in the early seventies with his appearance in the Los Angeles production of Tom Eyen's The Dirtiest Show In Town, Michael Kearns has been a significant figure in the international world of art and politics. In one of the Twentieth Century's most notorious hoaxes, Kearns was hired by Warner Books in 1974 to play the role of Grant Tracy Saxon, a fictitious character depicted in The Happy Hustler. The promotional blitz, encompassing a guest stint as John-Boy's college "Big Brother" on The Waltons, spanned over two years and resulted in Kearns' title as "the first openly gay actor in Hollywood." Kearns continued to establish himself as a mainstream actor (Murder She Wrote, Cheers, Body Double, Beverly Hills 90210, And The Band Played On) while immersing in the worldwide theatre scene. He has achieved international acclaim as a solo performer (intimacies, Rock, attachments, Tell Tale Kisses, Make Love Not War, Once Upon a Time in South Africa). His award-winning theatrical resume includes an international tour of Dream Man as well as Los Angeles appearances in Charles Ludlam's Camille, Bill and Eddie, Rubicon, the tenth year anniversary reading of The Normal Heart and the twentieth anniversary reading of The Boys in the Band. Kearns directed the world premieres of Eric Bentley's Round Two, Robert Chesley's Jerker, James Carroll Pickett's Bathhouse Benediction and the Off Broadway solo pieces, The Porcelain Penelope Freak Show and Elevator Sex. Kearns has also directed an international tour of Dream Man (Spain, Ireland, Scotland, America). In addition to having more than a dozen plays produced (Myron, Robert's Memorial, Barriers, Blessings, and Who's Afraid of Edward Albee? among them), he also co-wrote the screenplay of Nine Lives, based on his play, complications. The author of six theatre books published by Heinemann (T-Cells & Sympathy, Acting = Life, among them), his most recent--The Drama of AIDS, My Lasting Connections with Two Plays that Survived the Plague--was released in the fall of '09 in conjunction with the 20th anniversary tour of intimacies. Openly gay and publicly HIV-positive, the artist-activist is the recipient of several Lifetime Achievement Awards and Humanitarian Awards. Kearns is presently the Co-Artistic Director of the Skylight Theatre Company. As a director, he continues to work with Minerva Vier on her evolving Lucky piece and he has directed various incarnations of David Trudell's In Heat In Hollywood. He lives in Los Angeles with his daughter, filmmaker Katherine Kearns. He will again direct Trudell in Night & Dave, opening at Highways Performance Space in May.

Customer Reviews

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A fascinating read.
Raymond L. Thompson
The Truth is Bad Enough is so good you won't want to put it down.
M A in LA
It's funny, irreverent and heartwarming.
Millie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gayle on June 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well we now know what became of the Happy Hustler. Michael Kearns is truly an inspiration. He has overcome so much in his life and has written an honest book that speaks from the heart and soul. A candid story of a difficult life, which has come full circle in the love he has given to his daughter. Be sure to read this book, it will make you laugh, cry and think. Like a fine wine Michael Kearns has gotten better with age. The world is a better place having Michael a part of it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Trevor 'WC' Norris on June 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just finished `The Truth is Bad Enough' (an apt title if ever there was one) by Michael Kearns and I'm sad. Not because the book wasn't good but because it was SO good. I had heard a little of Kearns'as an actor/activist but knew nothing at all about his early life, particularly the Happy Hustler times, strange times indeed.
Mr. Kearns tells his tale with fierce honesty and integrity. I was a little titillated by the names of the Hollywood celebs he has known. Kearns however, never `drops' their names gratuitously. These are the people he has either worked with or had a personal relationship with. It is all in context. `Just the facts ma'am' is all he gives us, well, maybe just a little jab in the ribs added here and there, why not? He does call Hollywood to account for it's ongoing homophobia but only factually, never with much vicious intent, just some long needed expression of justified impatience. It's a dirty job but thank God someone, Mr. Kearns in this case, is doing it.
I am always impressed by anyone with the courage to just `tell all' about their life. And all that Mr. Kearns tells us in this book is not necessarily pretty. To tell it all so generously, not-to-mention with humor, must have taken tremendous courage.
This book is a mix of easy reading and some extremely gritty realities. These gritty realities include his `maniacal' family life; early acting career, coming out and his struggles with the plague and the consequent heartbreaking losses of many loved ones.
But it's in the last part of the book, when we get to know his adopted daughter Katherine (Tia) that Mr. Kearns shines, nay beams. This is also the part when I stopped holding my breath and came up for air. Mr.Kearns calls being a father his `greatest role'.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debbi Dachinger on September 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Because I'm in media I have to read a lot of books before meeting people, I'm quite sincere when I share that this book is a must read. "The Truth Is Bad Enough," by Michael Kearns is brilliant and a page-turner. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story of Michael's life, written much as this actor has lived his life: unabashed, unapologetic, with great humor, and loads of heart and courage. He's an excellent writer and one feels an intimate homage to his need to put his life on paper, both as his legacy and as his gift to his daughter. I was touched, moved and laughed many times out loud; ultimately I got to know an artist and man who has dared to live his life out loud.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hudson Riley on July 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
You know those few and far-between films you see that take you on the best emotional roller-coaster ride of your life? Well, that's what this book does. Never in my life have I found myself laughing and crying simultaneously as often as I did when reading this book. I could already see the movie in my mind. Kearns writes with such raw poetic honesty, that the picture was constantly vividly clear. This book is not a typical Hollywood tell-all in any such way. We learn that throughout Michael's life, he beautifully vacillates between pleasure and pain, success and stalemate, fame and failure, and everything in between. The final Act of the book reveals the most intrinsic part of Michael's core self: Fatherhood. Block out an entire day because, cliche or not, you will not be able to put this book down.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gene Franklin Smith on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Michael Kearns certainly takes the title of his memoir to heart. SPOILER ALERT: I hate celebrity tell-alls. Really, who wants to spend the time slogging through pages of half-lies, half-truths, and countless pats-on-the-back? The Truth Is Bad Enough, however, is different from any memoir you might have read. Kearns generously shares many riotous stories of his youth and wild, reckless early years as a budding director (in elementary school, no less!), a rising -- and randy -- New York theater actor, and a full-out glam Hollywood star. Oh, yes, he does spill a few secrets about his trysts! (Hum "Mandy", anyone?) But Kearns also examines himself mercilessly about his own behavior in his intimate relationships, and at times, finds himself wanting. This soul-searching leads to his realization about the emptiness of the career he worked so hard for, and it serves as the bridge to the second section of the book about his political activism, his observant and always controversial solo stage work, and, of course, his health challenges as an HIV-infected person. Kearns -- an innate dramatist -- saves the best for last in the third section of the book: his deeply moving relationship with his adopted daughter Tia Katherine. He charts the harrowing adoption process and the difficulty of balancing the rearing of his daughter with his career and activism. In the end, Kearns comes to understand that Tia Katherine is his most fulfilling (and honest) relationship and most significant achievement. So, all in all, The Truth Is Bad Enough is a love letter from father to daughter. Read, laugh, cry, love!
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