Alan Sues, critically acclaimed actor/comedian, first appeared in a road tour of Happy Birthday before achieving attention on Broadway in Tea and Sympathy (1953-1955) with Deborah Kerr. Years of later work in films (The Americanization of Emily, 1964), on television (The Twilight Zone, 1964; The Wild Wild West, 1965; The Doris Day Show, 1968), and in theater led to his breakthrough appearances on the outrageously funny Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1972).
Few knew about Alan’s heartbreaking struggle with personal demons, including uncaring and alcoholic parents, his own alcoholism and depression, and his secret sexuality as a gay man. He hid his struggles behind a mask of comical antics and charm, and he continued amusing audiences throughout his later career in national tours of Good News (1972), Sugar (1974), Sherlock Holmes (1975-1976), Sugar Babies (1987), and Singin’ in the Rain (1986-1987).
Alan’s story of survival and resiliency of spirit imbues Michael Gregg Michaud’s richly researched biography that draws from dozens of hours of recorded interviews with Alan and his own years spent caring for him until his death. Discover Alan’s time with Leonard Nimoy, Lily Tomlin, Sammy Davis Jr., Tiny Tim, Goldie Hawn, Paul Lynde, Phyllis Diller, Ricky Nelson, Lucille Ball, and Jonathan Winters; his candid tales of underground gay clubs in Hollywood during the 1940s; the legendary Manhattan nightclubs of the 1950s; Broadway, summer stock theater, and early television; and Alan’s memories of behind-the-scenes squabbles on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
378 pages. Illustrated with more than 100 photographs including personal, family photos, scenes from television shows including Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and photos of Alan’s many stage characterizations. Appendices include several never before seen scripts and television pilot proposals written by Alan.
About the author: Michael Gregg Michaud is the author of the best-selling Lambda Literary Award-winning Sal Mineo, A Biography, and co-author with Diane McBain of Famous Enough, A Hollywood Memoir.
“Alan Sues was the funniest person I’ve ever known. Not just as a performer, but as a person.” – Ruth Buzzi
“When Alan dressed like me in curls, a boa, a dress and false eyelashes, he looked better than me.” – Jo Anne Worley
“Alan was so deeply, so genuinely funny that to just think of him makes me laugh.” – Barbara Sharma
“We all know how funny and bright Alan Sues was. What was more amazing to me was the sincere sweetness in his heart. He truly wanted to hand the whole world a big laugh.” – Joyce Van Patten
“Alan was a true comedy original.” – Fred Willard
“Alan was a very talented performer who everyone loved having around. He was hilarious. He was always funny, even when he wasn’t trying to be.” – Gary Owens
“Alan was a delight, a real upper. He was a happy force field of energy who had an outrageous look at life. He could take a straight line and make it funny as hell.” – George Schlatter, Executive Producer Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In
"Watched by over 30 million people each week, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In was the top-rated television show of 1969, and Alan Sues was one of its breakout stars. This compelling 378-page biography by longtime friend and colleague, Michael Greg Michaud, uncovers the complicated man beneath Sues’ manic persona, with the late comic actor (who passed away in 2011 at the age of 85) providing funny, vivid, and unflinching recollections about every imaginable aspect of his life and career, including horribly unsupportive parents, early showbiz ambitions, struggles with his homosexuality, and an ill-fated marriage, a string of odd jobs, and rat-trap crash-pads, plus the people he met, friends he made, and gay bars he frequented along the way. Alas, even early successes—his first Broadway role in Elia Kazan’s Tea and Sympathy, guest spots on The Twilight Zone and Honey West—couldn’t stem Sues’ personal problems with self-doubt, depression, overeating, and drinking. Of course, everything changed after joining Laugh-In for its second season and becoming an instant celebrity thanks to popular recurring characters like flamboyant sports announcer Big Al. But with this success came the difficulty in concealing is private life, behind-the-scenes conflicts and frustrations with the show’s increasingly homophobic humor. Sues’ post Laugh-In typecasting is also detailed, with years of crisscrossing the country in breezy regional stage shows and too-infrequent dramatic roles (e.g., Professor Moriarty in a Broadway revival of Sherlock Holmes), as well as his later failing health and final days. Filled with crazy anecdotes—like getting drafted into the Army and accidentally assigned to a “Negro” unit, or hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on live TV, accompanied by a foul-mouthed Mason Reese—this is a wonderfully engaging and touching tribute to Alan Sues’ rich and often troubled life. "
- Shock Cinema