Search - List of Books by Vito Russo
Vito Russo (born July 11, 1946, New York City — died November 7, 1990, New York City) was an American LGBT activist, film historian and author who is best remembered as the author of the book The Celluloid Closet (1981, revised edition 1987).
Total Books: 6
Russo developed his material following screenings of camp films shown as fundraisers for the early gay rights organization Gay Activists Alliance. He traveled throughout the country from 1972 to 1982, delivering The Celluloid Closet as a live lecture presentation with film clips at colleges, universities, and small cinemas such as the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco. In both the book and in the lecture/film clip presentation, he related the history of gay and lesbian moments — and the treatment of gay and lesbian characters — in American and foreign films of the past.
In 1983, Russo wrote, produced, and co-hosted a series focusing on the gay community called Our Time for WNYC-TV. This series featured the nation's first GLBT hard news and documentary video segment produced and directed by social behaviorist D. S. Vanderbilt.
Russo's concern over how LGBT people were presented in the popular media led him to co-found the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a watchdog group that monitors LGBT representation in the mainstream media and presents the annual GLAAD Media Awards. The Vito Russo Award is named in his memory and is presented to an openly gay or lesbian member of the media community for their outstanding contribution in combating homophobia. Russo was also actively involved in the AIDS direct action group ACT UP.
Russo appeared in the 1989 Academy Award-winning documentary Stories from the Quilt as a "storyteller," relating the life and death of his lover Jeffrey Sevcik.
In 1990 Vito Russo spent a year in California at the University of California, Santa Cruz, teaching a class, also entitled "The Celluloid Closet". He enjoyed being a professor, spending lecture breaks smoking and joking with his students.
Also in 1990, Merrill College at UC Santa Cruz established Vito Russo House to promote Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered awareness and provide a safe and comfortable living environment for queer, straight-supportive and all students who value and appreciate diversity. The house tailors its programming to meet the needs of GLBT students and offers all an opportunity to build understanding and tolerance.