Monday, June 06, 2011

Harvey Fierstein

Harvey Fierstein born 6 June 1952

Harvey Fierstein is a Tony Award-winning and Emmy Award-nominated American actor, playwright, and screenwriter.

Born Harvey Forbes Fierstein in Brooklyn, New York, the gravelly-voiced actor perhaps is known best for the play and film Torch Song Trilogy, which he wrote and in which he starred. The 1982 Broadway production won him two Tony Awards, for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play, two Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play, and the Theatre World Award, and the film earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Male Lead.

Fierstein also wrote the book for La Cage aux Folles (1983), winning another Tony Award, this time for Best Book of a Musical, and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Book. Legs Diamond, his 1988 collaboration with Peter Allen, was a critical and commercial failure, closing after 72 previews and 64 performances. His other playwriting credits include Safe Sex, Spookhouse, and Forget Him.

Fierstein made his acting debut in Andy Warhol's only play, Pork's. In addition to Torch Song Trilogy, Fierstein's Broadway acting credits include Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (2003) [left], for which he won another Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (joining Tommy Tune as the only people to win the award in four different categories), and Tevye in the 2005 revival of Fiddler on the Roof.

Fierstein's film roles include Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, Robin Williams' maskmaker brother in Mrs Doubtfire, a Parade of Hope spokesman in Death to Smoochy, Garbo Talks, Duplex, and the blockbuster hit Independence Day. He also narrated the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk and voiced the role of Yao in Walt Disney's Mulan (1998), a role he later reprised for the video game Kingdom Hearts II.

On television, Fierstein was featured as the voice of Karl, Homer's assistant, in the Simpson and Delilah episode of The Simpsons, and the voice of Elmer in the 1999 HBO special based on his children's book The Sissy Duckling, which won the Humanitas Prize for Children's Animation.

Additional credits include Miami Vice, Murder, She Wrote, the Showtime TV movie Common Ground (which he also wrote), and Cheers, which earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Fierstein is an occasional columnist writing about gay issues. His careers as a stand-up comic and female impersonator are mostly behind him.

1 comment:

Shephard said...

I thought I'd share with you a quote from Harvey Fierstein. It speaks volumes about why he's such a talented writer and under-rated voice of our times. For a lot of Americans, Torch Song Trilogy was the first real cinematic voice of dignity. My partner animated Yao in Disney's Mulan, and we have met Harvey a couple times (years apart, and he actually remembered us). He's a warm and dear man.

But it's the following quote of Harvey's I love so much:

Harvey Fierstein's Benington College Commencement speech:

"A special word to all of the gay and lesbian graduates: As it was in the beginning, it will probably be in your time, too. From Plato to Walt Whitman, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Sappho -- we are the cultural and social parents of ungrateful children. We give them the houses they live in, the clothes they wear, the art and music and food they enjoy. Do not wait for their thanks, but do the work for yourself. Art must be enough in itself."