Harvey Fierstein Biography (1954-)

Surname is pronounced "Fire-steen"; full name, Harvey Forbes Fierstein; bornJune 6, 1954, in New York, NY; son of Irving (a handkerchief manufacturer) and Jacqueline Harriet (a school librarian; maiden name, Gilbert) Fierstein. Addresses: Agent: Innovative Artists, 1999 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067-6022.; Office: AGF, Inc., 30 West 21st St., Fl. 7, New York, NY10010-6905; c/o Green Siegel & Associates, 8730 Sunset Blvd., Suite 470,Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Harvey Fierstein, Tony award winning playwright and actor, is best known forhis 1981 Torch Song Trilogy, lauded by Newsweek's Jack Kroll as "the first stage work that has made gays and straights laugh and cry atthe upside-down similarities between the emotional and sexual hang-ups in both worlds." Credited with bringing a positive view of homosexuality to replacethe negative stereotypes previously presented in the theatre, Fierstein alsoenjoyed a large measure of success with his musical adaptation of French playwright Jean Poiret's La Cage aux folles. Both Torch Song Trilogy and La Cage aux folles had long runs on Broadway; Fierstein's 1987 response to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) crisis, Safe Sex, also achieved Broadway status, playing at the Lyceum Theatre.

Playwright, actor, producer, singer
Birth Details
June 6, 1954
New York, New York, United States

Famous Works

  • Stage Appearances
  • (Stage debut) Amelia, Andy Warhol's Pork, La Mama ExperimentalTheatre Club (E.T.C.), New York City, 1971
  • Arnold, International Stud, La Mama E.T.C., 1972 , then Players Theatre, New York City, 1978
  • Arnold, Fugue in a Nursery, La Mama E.T.C., 1973 , then Orpheum Theatre, New York City, 1979
  • (Broadway debut) Arnold, Torch Song Trilogy, Helen Hayes Theatre,1982
  • (London debut) Arnold, Torch Song Trilogy, Albery Theatre, 1986
  • Ghee and Arthur, Safe Sex, Lyceum Theatre, New York City, 1987
  • The Haunted Host, 1991
  • Toured in Haunted Host, U.S. cities.
  • Film Appearances
  • Himself, Underground and Emigrants, 1975
  • Bernie Whitlock, Garbo Talks, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists,1984
  • Narrator, The Times of Harvey Milk, Teleculture, 1985
  • Arnold Beckhoff, Torch Song Trilogy, New Line Cinema, 1988
  • Himself, Mama's Pushcart: Ellen Stewart and 25 Years of La MaMa E.T.C., 1988
  • Frank Hillard, Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993
  • Bob Lakin, The Harvest, 1993
  • Sid Loomis, Bullets over Broadway, 1994
  • Judy, Conversations, 1994
  • Yves DuBois, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, 1995
  • Interviewee, The Celluloid Closet (also known as Gefangen in der Traumfabrik), 1995
  • Marty Gilbert, Independence Day (also known as ID4), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1996
  • The Moyle, Everything Relative, Wolfe Video, 1996
  • Art, White Lies, Buena Vista, 1996
  • Juba, Kull the Conqueror, Universal, 1997
  • Voice of Yao, Mulan (animated), Buena Vista, 1998
  • Good Stuff Leo, Safe Men, October Films, 1998
  • Jump, Arrow Films International, 1999
  • Bennett, Playing Mona Lisa, Buena Vista, 2000
  • Film Work
  • Coproducer, Torch Song Trilogy, New Line Cinema, 1988
  • Television Appearances
  • Series
  • Dennis Sinclair, Daddy's Girls, CBS, 1994
  • Movies
  • Voice of demon, The Demon Murder Case (also known as The RhodeIsland Murders), NBC, 1983
  • Derelict, Apology, HBO, 1986
  • Arthur, Tidy Endings, HBO, 1988
  • Gary Millstein, Double Platinum, ABC, 1999
  • Don, "Amos and Andy," Common Ground, CBS, 2000
  • Specials
  • National AIDS Awareness Test: What Do You Know About Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome?, 1987
  • AFI Presents "TV or Not TV?," NBC, 1990
  • The Best of Nightline with Ted Koppel, 1989-90 , ABC, 1990
  • Andrew, In the Shadow of Love: A Teen AIDS Story, ABC, 1991
  • State of the Union Undressed '94, Comedy Central, 1994
  • Presenter, The 8th Annual American Comedy Awards, 1994
  • The 50th Annual Tony Awards, CBS, 1996
  • Easter Bunny, Elmo Saves Christmas, PBS, 1996
  • The Sci-Fi Channel's Invasion of Independence Day, Sci-Fi Channel, 1996
  • Voice of Elmer, The Sissy Duckling, HBO, 1999
  • Pilots
  • Norman, Those Two, CBS, 1993
  • Episodic
  • Benedict, Miami Vice, NBC, 1986
  • Voice of Karl, "Simpson and Delilah," The Simpsons (animated), Fox, 1990
  • Mark Newberger, "Rebecca's Lover ... Not," Cheers, NBC, 1992
  • Stan Hatter, "The Dead File," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1992
  • Dr. Lang, Loving, ABC, 1994
  • Voice of Mrs. Leaperman, "Thumbelina," Happily Ever After: Fairy Talesfor Every Child, HBO, 1995
  • Himself, "The Matchmaker," The Larry Sanders Show, HBO, 1997
  • Voice, "Alice and the Mystery of the Third Planet," Stories from My Childhood, PBS, 1997
  • Fame L.A., syndicated, 1997
  • Himself, "It's a Gay, Gay, Gay, Gay World!," Ellen, ABC, 1998
  • Voice, Disney's Hercules (animated), ABC, 1998
  • Also appeared in Stories from My Childhood (also known as Mikhail Baryshnikov's Stories from My Childhood).
  • Albums
  • (With Lenny Babbish) This Is Not Going to Be Pretty, Plump Records, 1995
  • Stage Plays
  • In Search of Cobra Jewels, produced in New York City, 1973
  • Freaky Pussy, produced in New York City, 1975
  • Flatbush Tosca, produced by New York Theatre Ensemble, New York City, 1975
  • The International Stud (one-act), produced at Theatre for the NewCity, New York City, 1976 , then La Mama E.T.C., 1978
  • Cannibals Just Don't Know Better, produced in 1978
  • Fugue in a Nursery (one-act), produced at La Mama E.T.C., 1979
  • Widows and Children First (one-act), produced at La Mama E.T.C., 1979
  • Torch Song Trilogy, produced at Richard Allen Center, New York City, 1981 , then on Broadway, Little Theater, published by Gay Presses of New York, 1981 , then Random House, 1983
  • (With Jerry Herman) La Cage aux folles (adaptation of the play byJean Poiret), produced at Colonial Theatre, Boston, MA, then Palace Theatre,New York City, 1983
  • Spookhouse, produced off-Broadway, 1983 , then Hampstead Theatre Club, London, 1987
  • Safe Sex, produced at La Mama E.T.C., then on Broadway, Lyceum Theatre, both 1987 , published by Athenaeum, 1987
  • Forget Him (one-act), produced off-Broadway at St. Clement's Church, 1988
  • (With Peter Allen and Charles Suppon) Legs Diamond, produced on Broadway, Mark Hellinger Theater, 1988
  • Screenplays
  • Torch Song Trilogy (adapted from his play of the same title), NewLine Cinema, 1988
  • Television Movies
  • Tidy Endings, HBO, 1988
  • "Amos and Andy," Common Ground, CBS, 2000
  • Television Specials
  • The Sissy Duckling, HBO, 1999
  • Also wrote Kaddish and Old Men, a television drama.

Recent Updates

December 9, 2004: Fierstein's musical La Cage aux Folles is revived on Broadway in a production that opens December 9th at the Marquis Theatre. Source: New York Times, www.nytimes.com, August 18, 2004.November 12, 2004: Fierstein will take over the role of Tevye in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof in January, 2005. Source: Associated Press, http://customwire.ap.org, November 12, 2004.December 5, 2005: Fierstein is in talks with Fox executives about developing a sitcom in which he would play a blue-collar mom. Source: Yahoo News, http://news.yahoo.com, December 5, 2005.

Further Reference


    • Contemporary Dramatists, June 26, 1983 6th edition, St. James Press, 1999.
    • Contemporary Popular Writers, St. James Press, 1997.
    • International Dictionary of Theatre, Volume 2: Playwrights, St. James Press, 1993.
    • Writers Directory, 14th edition, St. James Press, 1999.
    • Los Angeles Times, .
    • New York Post, July 15, 1982 .
    • New York Times, August 22, 1983 April 5, 1987, April 6, 1987.
    • Newsweek, June 20, 1983 August 29, 1983.
    • Theatre, February 23, 1998, Spring, 1983.
    • People Weekly, p. 45.
    • Women's Wear Daily, August 22, 1983 .

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