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Star, Darren (b. 1961)  
 
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The openly gay writer-director-producer Darren Star has had a prolific career in television, responsible for such pop culture touchstones as Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Sex and the City.

He has also incorporated glbtq characters and issues into many of his primetime network and cable television shows.

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Born Darren Bennett Star on July 25, 1961 in Potomac, Maryland, he is the eldest of three children born to Debra, a freelance journalist, and Norman Star, an orthodontist.

He attended Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland and later studied at the University of Southern California before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Even from an early age, Star showed a keen interest in the entertainment industry. In fact, as his mother recalled in an interview, Star used his own bar mitzvah money to purchase a subscription to the entertainment industry trade publication Variety when he was 13 years old.

Therefore, perhaps not surprisingly, his goal, after graduating from college, was to land a writing job in either television or film. "I was desperate to be a writer--of anything," he later revealed. "I just wanted to be a writer and get paid."

Star's writing career was slow to take off. He first worked as a waiter and then as an assistant in a public relations firm, while spending his off-hours writing a series of television scripts and screenplays. He eventually sold a pilot script for an animated television series based on the 1989 movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure; unfortunately, the show remained unproduced.

He also wrote the screenplays for the comedy feature film Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988), about a teenager who believes he is a prince from an alien planet, and the teenage-spy spoof If Looks Could Kill (1991). Neither film was commercially or critically successful.

His career abruptly changed, however, when Star was approached by the Fox Broadcasting Company to help develop a television show that became Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000).

As Star explained in a 1994 interview for The Hollywood Reporter, given his reputation as a teen-oriented writer, executives at the fledgling Fox Network asked him if he was "interested in doing a show about high school." Star admitted that he had no experience in developing a show, but was intrigued by the concept. As he observed, "I realized that no one had done a show for high school that took kids at their own terms, that looked at lives from their perspective rather than through adult eyes."

Created by Star and executive produced by Aaron Spelling, the television mogul responsible for such successes as Dynasty, The Love Boat, and Charlie's Angels, the show premiered in October 1990. Although it struggled at first to find a sizable audience, Beverly Hills, 90210 eventually became a hit for Fox and made celebrities (and tabloid fodder) of its young cast.

The show chronicled the friendships, rivalries, and romances among a group of students at the (fictitious) West Beverly High School in the wealthy neighborhood of Beverly Hills, California. As it progressed, the show also followed its characters into college and the workplace.

Besides tackling such social issues as alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual assault, and teenage pregnancy, several episodes also addressed issues of special importance to the glbtq community, such as HIV/AIDS, , and gaybashing, and featured several, albeit peripheral, gay and lesbian characters throughout its ten-year run.

In addition to creating and producing the show, Star also wrote nine episodes and directed two.

The show was revised in 2008 by the CW Television Network, as 90210, with a new cast in a similar setting. Several actors from the original series made guest appearances reprising their roles. The new show was a moderate success and ran for five seasons, concluding in 2013.

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