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Lance Loud, known for role in PBS series


Los Angeles Times Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Lance Loud, the beguiling eldest son in a family whose conflicts were laid bare in a landmark 1973 public television documentary series, has died. He was 50.

Mr. Loud, a freelance journalist who had been living in Los Angeles, died Saturday morning at a hospice of complications from hepatitis C, his sister Delilah said Monday. In addition to Delilah, his mother, Pat, and sister Michele were with him at the time of his death.

Mr. Loud emerged as a protagonist in "An American Family," the controversial PBS series that was a progenitor of today's reality programming. A real-life soap opera, it was the television sensation of 1973.

It examined the Louds of Santa Barbara, who allowed filmmakers to trail them in their daily lives for seven months in the early '70s.

The result was a prime-time, 12-part series that drew record audiences for public television stations with its revelations, from father Bill Loud's philandering and wife Pat's kicking him out of the house, to then-20-year-old Lance Loud's declaring himself gay in a rundown New York hotel.

His public avowal, bold for the times, made him a hero in the gay community.

But in other quarters, Mr. Loud and the rest of the family were ridiculed for participating in what has been called the most expensive home movie in history.

"In 1970, television ate my family," Mr. Loud wrote many years later. "The Andy Warhol prophecy of 15 minutes of fame for any and everyone blew up on our doorstep."

By the time the series was aired, the elder Louds were divorced. Family members publicly were ridiculed for their inability to communicate with one another and went on the talk-show circuit to defend themselves.

-- (, December 26, 2001


Thus answering that aching question: "whatever happened to the Louds", the angst-ridden whitebreads from the Santa Barbara ghetto who bravely bared their dysfunctional family linen to the EST-sensitived denizens of 1970s PBS-land.

-- (, December 26, 2001.

I remember Lancelot from the Mine Shaft. A wonderful fellow. The TV show was excellent sociology but, at times, heart-rendering for those of higher sensitiviy.

-- (Algernon C. Braithewait III @ Cambridge.MA), December 27, 2001.

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