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Pierce, David Hyde (b. 1959)  
page: 1  2  3  

Tony Award voters agreed, and in June 2007 Pierce took the prize for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He ended his touching and heartfelt acceptance speech with thanks to his partner of twenty-four years, Brian Hargrove.

Pierce had long been reticent about speaking of his personal life. Fred Schruers of US magazine, who interviewed him in 1998, wrote that "if Niles is a gentleman who is really not that comfortable revealing his inner workings, well, . . . there are some similarities the actor just can't mask."

Rumors of Pierce's homosexuality swirled for years, and as early as 2000, the web site Mr. Showbiz, which no longer exists, named Hargrove as his partner. Pierce deflected questions from the press about any romantic attachments that he might have by saying, "My life is an open book, but don't expect me to read it to you."

The openness of the book is debatable. Pierce surely did not follow the lead of Dan Butler, a supporting actor on Frasier, who came out publicly in 1994 and began speaking out in support of glbtq rights. On the other hand, Pierce was out to many in the entertainment industry, and hosted parties with Hargrove at their home in Los Angeles.

Pierce's first apparent public reference to his relationship with Hargrove came in a May 2007 interview with the Associated Press in which he stated that his move to California in the early 1990s had been prompted by Hargrove's wish to pursue a career in writing for television. Pierce identified Hargrove simply as his "partner," leaving open the possibility of a professional connection between the two men. Pierce's publicist subsequently confirmed that Pierce and Hargrove are a couple.

They had already been treated as such in the mainstream press. In August 2006 correspondent Shelby Hodge of the Houston Chronicle mentioned "a benefit piano recital by Stephen Hough, held in the 1920s Spanish Revival manse of David Hyde Pierce (Niles on 'Frasier') and Brian Hargrove."

Pierce is known for his charitable work, especially in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease, with which his grandfather and father were both afflicted. A national board member of the Alzheimer's Association, he has testified before Congress to urge increased federal spending for research to combat the disease.

He has also participated in fundraising events for AIDS charities, Habitat for Humanity, and for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In 2008, after the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Pierce and Hargrove were married. A generous supporter of the campaign against Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, Pierce took part in the protests that took place after the Proposition was passed by a slim margin.

In an interview explaining his participation in the protests, Pierce declared, "this is not about being gay. This is about having the basic right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and having that put up for a vote, not only here in California but across the country, and that is just fundamentally not what this country is about."

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Situation Comedies

American television sitcoms have consistently reflected the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, often in distorted and stereotyped ways, but occasionally in ways that acknowledge our humanity and complexity.

arts >> Overview:  Film Actors: Gay Male

Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Musical Theater and Film

The musical has been a significant aspect of American gay male culture, manifesting itself both in diva worship and, more recently, in the presentation of openly gay characters and shows written by gay writers primarily for gay audiences.

arts >> Overview:  Stage Actors and Actresses

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual actors and actresses are among the elite of contemporary theater, but only recently have many come out publicly.

arts >> Batt, Bryan

Actor and designer Bryan Batt achieved fame playing a closeted advertising executive on television, but in his own life he has been active in affirming the naturalness of homosexuality.

arts >> Butler, Dan

Actor Dan Butler, best known for his portrayal of "Bulldog" Briscoe on the television comedy Frasier, not only came out as a gay man, but also authored and starred in the gay-themed play The Only Worse Thing You Could Have Told Me.

arts >> Feinstein, Michael

American pianist and singer Michael Feinstein has had a lifelong fascination with the popular music of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

arts >> Foster, Jodie

One of the most accomplished film actresses of her generation, Jodie Foster has been a glbtq icon for decades, though only recently has she obliquely acknowledged her lesbianism.

arts >> Harris, Neil Patrick

Child actor Neil Patrick Harris has made a successful transition to mature roles, showcasing his singing and dancing abilities along the way; he has also spoken out on behalf of glbtq causes.

arts >> Kander, John (b. 1927) and Fred Ebb (1932?-2004)

Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb are the musical poets of the poymorphous perverse; their works glorify the creativity inherent in sexual ambivalence and celebrate unorthodox forms of political activism.

arts >> Keenan, Joe

Best known for his work as a writer and producer for the hit television show Frasier, Joe Keenan is also the author of richly comic gay-themed novels.

social sciences >> Proposition 8 (California)

Proposition 8, also known as the California Marriage Protection Act, was the ballot proposition that amended the California state constitution to ban same-sex marriage; after prolonged litigation in both state and federal court, it was finally struck down in June 2013.

literature >> Shakespeare, William

As one of the key figures that western civilization has used to define itself, William Shakespeare stands in a complicated, fiercely contested relationship to homosexuality.


Al-Solaylee, Kamal. "Farewell, It's Been Fun." Globe and Mail (Toronto) (May 1, 2004): R7.

______. "The Play's the Thing . . . ." Globe and Mail (Toronto) (February 10, 2001): Television, 4.

Blanchard, James. "Jolly Good Fun in King Arthur's Court." Washington Times (March 23, 2005): B5.

Hodge, Shelby. "Party Time at Neiman Marcus." Houston Chronicle (August 24, 2006): 3.

Jensen, Michael. "David Hyde Pierce Joins List of Out Gay Actors." After Elton (May 30, 2007).

Orens, Geoff. "Pierce, David Hyde." Current Biography Yearbook. Clifford Thompson, ed. New York: H. W. Wilson, 2001. 415-417.

Rooney, David. "Curtains." Daily Variety (March 23, 2007): 6.

Schruers, Fred. "The 'US' Interview: David Hyde Pierce." US 249 (October 1998): 94-97.

Stockwell, Anne." "David Hyde Pierce Is Gay, Married, . . . and Marching against Prop. 8." (November 17, 2008):


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Pierce, David Hyde  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated December 1, 2008  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  


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