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Shores, Del (b. 1957)  
page: 1  2  3  

Shores followed that up with another success, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife (2003), the story of a woman physically and psychologically abused by her husband. The dark theme was a departure for Shores, but the play does include some of his characteristic humor as Willi, the housewife of the title, struggles to cope with the horrors of her life. The play, originally staged in Los Angeles, brought awards to both Shores and the cast members.

Shores was delighted by the opportunity to work as a writer and producer on the cable series Queer As Folk (2003-2005). He told Edan, "It's a wonderful thing to be on a show like Queer As Folk because there's not a lot of censorship at all, and I was able to continue my journey."

Shores was taking that journey in the company of actor Jason Dottley. After two years together, the couple became domestic partners in October 2003 and celebrated their union with a ceremony that they considered their wedding although they could not marry in California at the time.

Shores brought Sordid Lives to the small screen in 2008 with the LOGO network production Sordid Lives: The Series, for which he served as writer, director, and executive producer. A number of cast members from the film, including Jordan, Newton-John, Beth Grant, and the Alexanders, reprised their roles. Dottley and veteran character actor Rue McClanahan were among the new players. The show immediately because the network's biggest hit.

Three months after the debut of the series, on October 26, Shores and Dottley had the real wedding for which they had been longing. Almost immediately, however, they saw with horror that polls showed that California Proposition 8 might pass in the rapidly approaching election.

Together with Shores' daughters, the couple marched in demonstrations and spoke out for marriage equality, including posting youtube videos. All were devastated when the pernicious measure passed and same-sex couples had the right to marry taken away. Shores resolved to become more vocal and visible in working for glbtq rights.

Shores soon saw a professional setback as well. Both he and the LOGO network were eager to produce a new season of the extremely popular Sordid Lives: The Series, but the production company, Once Upon a Time Films, which had not even paid Shores, the cast, and the crew residuals for the first season, could not possibly finance a second. Shores attempted to buy back the rights but was unable to do so.

Without the income that he had expected to receive from the production company, Shores lost his house to foreclosure. At the suggestion of his husband, who was about to begin a tour to promote a record, he took to the road with a one-man show, Del Shores: My Sordid Life. The experience—especially the warm response from the fans that he met—revitalized him, and the project helped him get back on his feet financially.

Shores' most recent play is Yellow (2010). Set in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Yellow once again deals with family dynamics, but this time the family seems to be the American ideal—parents with rewarding careers, and their two bright teen-agers, a son who excels at sports and a daughter who is the star of the high school drama club. Their comfortable existence and relationships are shaken when the son contracts a potentially fatal form of jaundice.

While facing the possible loss of their own son, the family takes in another boy, the daughter's Broadway musical-loving best friend Kendall, whose Bible-thumping mother cannot accept what she perceives as sinful tendencies in her son. Bob Verini of Variety observed that "Shores typically dramatizes the clash between fundamentalism and flamboyance, but by putting them in the same family, he achieves blazing dramatic effects."

Of the Kendall character Verini wrote, "It's not easy to play a holy fool type, utterly without vanity, devoted only to making things better for those he loves. [Under Shores' direction,] in [actor Matthew Scott] Montgomery's hands, Kendall stands at the play's center while remaining utterly real."

Impressed by Yellow as well as the rest of Shores' oeuvre, he concluded, "This idiosyncratic playwright clearly has even more surprises up his sleeve."

Shores' legions of fans await these, perhaps none more eagerly than the glbtq members of his audience. In interviews, Shores has repeatedly mentioned getting messages from people who found affirmation in his work.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Shores cited the example of a 44-year-old Oklahoma native who discovered the strength to go home and come out to his Southern Baptist family after seeing the play Sordid Lives. "He felt that if I could share my story with so much humor, that exposing this part of himself to his family wouldn't be so bad," stated Shores, recalling the man's words to him: "Your play changed my life. . . . The laughter will heal so many people . . . like it healed me and my family."


In November 2011 Shores announced through a posting on Facebook that he and Dottley were divorcing.

In an April 2012 op-ed piece in The Advocate Shores described the divorce as "pretty painful," but he resolved to remain optimistic and offered encouragement to others going through difficult situations, writing, "Know this, my friends, it is very possible that if you are going through a hard time right now, a time where you feel lost and defeated, that you may just look back one day and realize that that dark period is your blessing. It happened to me once and I'm counting on it--again."

Shores has returned to the stage, starring in

Del Shores: My Sordid Life

and the stand-u

With his gift for touching people and his strong commitment to the cause of equality, Shores has a singular but important voice to raise for glbtq rights.

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.

literature >> Overview:  Comedy of Manners

The Comedy of Manners, which flourished on the Restoration stage, has been particularly amenable to twentieth-century gay male writers as a vehicle for social satire in both dramatic and nondramatic works.

literature >> Overview:  Contemporary Drama

Since Stonewall, gay and lesbian drama has flourished, especially in the United States.

arts >> Overview:  Film

Since cinema began, Hollywood has been fascinated with finding ways of representing homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Film Directors

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual film directors have been a vital creative presence in cinema since the medium's inception over one hundred years ago.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

arts >> Overview:  Screenwriters

Although film may be a director's rather than a writer's medium, gay and lesbian screenwriters have made significant contributions to both mainstream and independent film.

social sciences >> Overview:  Southern Baptists

The Southern Baptists have become the most intolerant of the major American religious denominations, especially (but not exclusively) for their opposition to equal rights for gay men and lesbians.

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.

arts >> Star, Darren

Responsible for such pop culture touchstones as Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Sex and the City, writer-director-producer Darren Star has had a prolific career in television.


Edan, Brian. "Dude, Meet the Real Del!" (2003):

Gildens, James. "Sordid Lives Creator Del Shores Sets the Record Straight." Daytime Confidential (April 17, 2009):

Jacobs, Tom. "Daughters of the Lone Star State." Daily Variety (May 25, 1993): Review.

Knutson, Karen. "'Daddy's Dyin' Full of Life." Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock) (May 4, 1990).

O'Steen, Kathleen. "Shores Floats a 'Lone.'" Daily Variety (April 22, 1993): 10.

Shirley, Don. "Let's Just Get This All Out in the Open." Los Angeles Times (July 7, 1996):

______. "The Gospel According to a Nonbeliever." Los Angeles Times (January 14, 2001):

Shores, Del. "Healing Through Laughter." Huffington Post (July 22, 2008):

______. Official Website:

______. "Op-ed: How I Healed My Crippled Spirit." The Advocate (April 9, 2012): http://

Verini, Bob. "Yellow." Variety (June 27, 2010): 23.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Shores, Del  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2010  
    Date Last Updated April 12, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2010 glbtq, Inc.  


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