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Berlanti, Greg (b. 1972)  
 
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The openly gay writer-director-producer Greg Berlanti has had a prolific career in television, successfully incorporating realistic and non-sensationalized glbtq characters and storylines into prime time network shows.

Joseph Weisberg, writing in the New York Times, noted that Berlanti's "desire to use television to help people grow and change seems like the animating force behind his shows."

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Berlanti's career in television began with the groundbreaking teen soap opera Dawson's Creek, in which Berlanti and the show's creator, Kevin Williamson, introduced the first romantic kiss between two gay male characters on network television. He has also served as creator, writer, director, or producer on such hour-long dramas as Everwood, Jack & Bobby, Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, and Brothers & Sisters.

He has also written and directed feature-length films, beginning with the semi-autobiographical The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, about a group of gay friends in West Hollywood, which he both wrote and directed at the age of 26. He also directed Life As We Know It, a more conventional, heterosexual romantic comedy. Recently, he produced and co-wrote the script for Green Lantern, a film version of the popular DC Comics superhero series of the same name.

The only son of an Irish-Italian family, Greg Berlanti was born on May 24, 1972 to Eugene Berlanti and the former Barbara Moller, in Rye, New York.

Indications that he would eventually have a career in writing and directing first surfaced when Berlanti was still a child. In his youth, he used to design and build puppets and even had a small business performing puppet shows at local children's birthday parties.

A day or two before each party, Berlanti would "sit and design a story based on the little facts of the birthday boy or girl's life." He remembered as a child beginning each story by staring at a blank sheet of loose-leaf paper and thinking, "I hate this . . . stupid party . . . I'm never gonna think of anything." But then, eventually, a "small idea" would come to him, which would lead to the next idea, and the next, and in a few hours he had a full story. At which point, Berlanti recalled, he would think to himself, "I love this! I'm a genius!"

In his early adolescence, Berlanti realized he was gay and sought out, surreptitiously, whatever bits of gay culture he could find. He recalled, in an interview given much later in his life, sneaking home copies of The Village Voice from a local delicatessen when he was about 13 years old after discovering that the alternative New York weekly newspaper contained gay-themed articles.

Later, when he worked part-time at a local video store after school, he would watch films starring Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson just to see other gay people.

Berlanti attended Rye High School and later studied acting and playwriting at Northwestern University. At Northwestern, he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

He graduated from Northwestern in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater.

Soon after graduating, Berlanti moved to Los Angeles with the expectation of landing a writing job in either television or film. Ultimately, however, he found employment in a string of temporary office jobs and in his off-hours wrote a series of scripts, all of which were roundly rejected.

Although he lived in the Beachwood Canyon area of Los Angeles, beneath the iconic "Hollywood" sign, Berlanti thought he had "never been further from Hollywood" in his whole life.

It was also around this time that he came out to his parents. In the summer of 1996, his parents were in San Francisco on vacation and Berlanti travelled up to join them. He recalled one night sitting in his parents' hotel room, watching the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics on television. Suddenly, and without planning to, he turned off the television set and told his parents he was gay. They were quite taken aback by this unexpected announcement, and "the next year was bumpy for us," Berlanti explained in an interview.

However, his parents eventually accepted his sexuality. In fact, when his first film, the gay-themed The Broken Hearts Club, premiered in New York City in 2000, his parents hosted a party at a gay club to celebrate the event, and invited not only their son's friends, but their own friends as well.

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Greg Berlanti at Comic Con in 2010.
  
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