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Harris, Sam (b. 1961)  
 
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Harris subsequently spent fifteen months starring in a national touring company production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat before returning to Broadway in 1997 in The Life (book by David Newman, Ira Gasman, and Cy Coleman, music by Coleman, lyrics by Gasman). His work earned him a Drama League Award as well as nominations for Tony and Drama Desk Awards.

He also developed a cabaret act in which he mixed humor and politics and music, a formula that has since characterized many of his subsequent appearances on stage and video.

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The cabaret act that Harris and musical theater actress Laurie Beechman performed at New York's Rainbow and Stars in July 1996 was honored with a MAC award for outstanding achievement in cabaret by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs.

Harris came out publicly as a gay man in 1999. He explained to Epstein that he had been reluctant to speak out earlier, stating, "In the late '80s I saw a lot of people who were made poster boys because they were gay, and I didn't want to become that."

In addition, there had been pressure from Motown Records not only to remain closeted but also to project a heterosexual image. "I was asked to lie. I was asked to give a radio interview and talk about my girlfriend. But I never would do that. I couldn't do it," he declared.

At the time of his coming out, Harris was under contract to Finer Arts Records and had just released the album Revival, which included his twist on classics like Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and new works, including some he wrote himself, such as the title song and "Holding On," as well as a moving performance of David Friedman's "I'll Be Here with You," which he recorded in memory of his friend and collaborator Laurie Beechman, who had recently died of ovarian cancer.

He called the album a celebration of "openness and fearlessness." Embracing these qualities made his coming out inevitable.

"At this point in my life," he told Epstein, "I felt that to avoid the subject [would be] sort of shameful."

In addition to making the album, Harris affirmed his identity by playing a gay character in Michael Rauch's indie comedy film In the Weeds (2000).

In 2000, Harris released a well-received Christmas album, On This Night.

Although he is an Oklahoma native and has mostly resided in Los Angeles, Harris became memorably associated with New York when he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to sing "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

In 2003, Harris came to terms with the threat of alcoholism and decided to stop drinking.

In 2006, he released a collection of love songs, Always; and also returned to television, co-starring in the CBS ensemble situation comedy The Class, which ran for only one season. On the show Harris played a man who was married to a woman and had children but whose flamboyant style and demeanor suggested that he was gay.

Harris became a married man himself on November 1, 2008, when he wed Danny Jacobsen, a director and presentation coach for several Blue Chip companies and his partner since 1994.

The couple soon became parents as well, adopting a son whom they named Cooper Atticus Harris-Jacobsen.

Harris had wanted to be a father for some time, especially since he gave up alcohol in 2003, but Jacobsen resisted for a while, despite encouragement from friends like Rosie O'Donnell. Finally, on September 17, 2007, he decided he was ready. The next day the couple consulted their lawyer and began the arduous process of qualifying to be adoptive parents.

Five months later, Harris and Jacobsen were chosen by an expectant mother planning to give up her child to be the parents of the baby. Both men were present in the delivery room and cut the umbilical cord after the birth. Harris described the profound emotion of the event, writing, "At the exact moment in which we were experiencing the greatest gift of our lifetime, this woman was experiencing the greatest loss in hers."

Harris also stated that once they had decided to adopt, "Danny and I fell more in love than ever . . . . We were going to be parents and we had to unite on a deeper level than we'd known." Of their lives as fathers, he wrote, "I could never have imagined the joy that is in my heart. It is the most important and unexplainable experience I've ever had."

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