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Popular Topics in The Arts
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In Memoriam
 
In Memoriam: Alan Sues (1926-2011)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 12/02/11
Last updated on: 12/02/11
 
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Alan Sues. Video still courtesy Todd Lampe.

Comic actor Alan Sues died in Los Angeles on December 1, 2011, apparently as the result of a heart attack.

Sues gained fame as a member of the cast of the seminal comedy-sketch television show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. He joined the cast in 1968, its second season, and remained with the show until 1972, the year before it went off the air.

Laugh-In launched the careers of such television stars as Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn, Ruth Buzzi, Jo Anne Worley, and Flip Wilson.

On the show, Sues played a number of flamboyant characters, most of whom displayed stereotypically gay mannerisms. They included a hung-over children's entertainer; an effeminate sportscaster; and a drag impersonator of Jo Anne Worley.

Sues never officially came out during his period of fame, fearing that doing so would have ended his career. "It wasn't because he was ashamed of being gay; it was because he was surviving as a performer," his friend Michael Michaud told the New York Times.

Michaud added that Sues was an inspiration to many gay viewers. "Many gay men came up to him and said how important he was when they were young because he was the only gay man they could see on television," he said.

Sues, who had been trained as a dramatic actor, found himself typecast as an over-the-top comedian as a result of the success of Laugh-In.

 
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