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Shores, Del (b. 1957)  
 
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Tom Jacobs of Daily Variety described the play as "sort of a cross between 'Steel Magnolias' and a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan's Ladies' Auxiliary . . . [a] look at the racial and social tensions so prevalent in modern-day America," but Shores was attempting to address another question as well.

"There's a real white/black dynamic in this play," he told Kathleen O'Steen of Daily Variety, "but the play is not just about prejudice. It also has to do with socio-economic divisions of people. This women's club's motto, after all, is the 'privileged helping the underprivileged.' So in order to even be a member, you had to be privileged."

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The question of privileged classes would take on special significance in Shores' later life and work.

Shores' career took a new turn in 1995, when he became a producer on the television comedy series Ned and Stacey and also wrote the script for three episodes.

The same year there was a much more dramatic change in Shores' personal life. He began a friendship with another man by e-mail, and the relationship soon became closer, progressing to telephone calls and then romantic encounters.

Shores at first denied his sexuality both in his own mind and to his wife, who opined that his comments about his new pen-pal suggested a homosexual attraction. When Shores left his computer turned on and his wife read the correspondence between the two men, she was no longer in any doubt.

Shores was initially hopeful of somehow saving their marriage but soon recognized that that was not to be. He and his wife broke the news of their impending divorce and the reason for it to their families.

The Alexanders were supportive and continued to regard Shores with affection. Shores' mother took the news without great surprise since she had long suspected the truth. His father, Shores told Don Shirley of the Los Angeles Times, was "very loving" but not ready to discuss the situation.

Shores moved on with his work in television, serving as co-producer of the show Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1996), to which he also contributed as a writer. In addition, he started writing a new play, Sordid Lives, which was first produced in 1998 and would eventually be adapted as both a film and a television series.

Like Shores' previous works, Sordid Lives is set in a small Texas town where there is no shortage of heterosexual shenanigans. He also introduced gay characters, however, including one based on his own experience of coming out to his conservative mother.

Shores took this step with some trepidation. "When I wrote the play, I thought this could be career suicide for me," he told Brian Edan of Hollywoodfyi, but he was eventually glad to have taken the risk because "Sordid Lives opened up my life creatively and personally."

Far from ending Shores' career, Sordid Lives enhanced it, running for thirteen months in Los Angeles and garnering numerous local theater awards.

Shores adapted his script into a screenplay and directed the cinematic version (2001). The cast included Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Olivia Newton-John, and both of Shores' former parents-in-law.

Leslie Jordan portrayed Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram, whose otherwise feuding sisters are united in their determination to spring him from the mental institution to which he has been confined for being homosexual rather than for the more troubling fact that he believes himself to be country singer Tammy Wynette.

Sordid Lives was well received at film festivals, winning many awards. As a low-budget, independent film, it had only a limited general release but it became a cult hit with glbtq audiences. In the Camelot Theatre in Pasadena, California, it was on the bill and well attended four times a day for an astonishing 96 weeks.

Shores returned to producing and writing for television with the comedy series Dharma and Greg (2001-2002) and also debuted a new play, Southern Baptist Sissies (2001), which explores the reactions of four friends who grew up singing in the church choir together and who must, as young men, confront the clash between the notions of faith, family, and sexuality instilled in them during their youth and the reality of their true identity as gay men and their place within all those relationships.

The play, the cast of which included both Rosemary and Newell Alexander and Leslie Jordan, ran for nine months—well beyond the original contract—in Los Angeles and received many awards.

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