Monday, August 24, 2020

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Sub-lebrity by Leon Acord @Sub_lebrityLeon @GoddessFish

by Leon Acord
GENRE: Memoir


A droll, oddly inspirational memoir from the actor Breitbart once called "a gay leftist activist," SUB-LEBRITY by Leon Acord (Old Dogs & New Tricks) is an honest, sometimes bitchy but always sincere story about growing up (very) gay in rural Indiana, achieving acting success outside the closet, and generating headlines with his very-public smackdown with Trump-loving Susan Olsen (Cindy, The Brady Bunch)


One of my nemeses from the jock clique, Rick Sisson, was slumming, playing the bit part of an “Old Man” about to be poisoned by two murderous old ladies in Arsenic & Old Lace.

As Mortimer, I was to rush on stage, see the Old Man about to drink a glass of poisoned elderberry wine, grab him by the jacket, and shove him out of my crazy aunts’ house.

That was how we’d been playing it.

For closing night, he and his jock buddies thought of a hilarious prank. Instead of setting his glass of fake wine on the table before I grabbed him, he’d throw the full glass of Hawaiian Punch into my face! It was closing night, why not? Smear the queer!

The sizable high-school auditorium was packed with a rowdy closing-night crowd of parents, faculty and friends, unaware they were about to witness my humiliation.

The moment arrived. I entered, rushed to the Old Man with the glass near his lips, and SPLASH!

I was stunned. Rick rushed through the door and off stage before I could do a thing.

The audience erupted with laughter. Erupted! And didn’t stop!

I’d seen it on sitcoms all my short life. Actors forced to hold for a laugh. I lived for the moments on the Carol Burnett Show when something went wrong or when the actors tried not to laugh. And now, I was experiencing that myself. It felt wonderful!

Rick wanted me to feel like Carrie White. Instead, I felt like Cary Grant.

The two teenaged actresses playing my aunts just watched, trying not to laugh themselves.

I felt myself about to smile. I turned my back to the audience and fumbled through a desk on stage, pretending to blindly look for a handkerchief – a cover until I could wipe the now-gigantic smile off my face. The audience found this hilarious and continued howling.

Back in character, I gave up at the desk and turned to face the audience just as the laugh was softening. I instinctively yanked off my clip-on tie and began dabbing my wet face with it.

The audience screamed with laughter again – this time, the laughter morphed into applause.

The song from the Broadway musical Applause is right – it’s better than pot, it’s better than booze. Waiting out a long laugh break, instinctively finding ways to prolong it, riding it like a surfer on a wave, then crashing against the shore in a loud burst of applause, is the best feeling in the world.

I had flirted with the idea of being an actor, among other creative pursuits, all though childhood.

But in this moment, I knew. I’d spend the rest of my life chasing that feeling.

Interview with Leon Acord
    For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
    The subject of SUB-LEBRITY* is, basically, me. (laughs) Or, more broadly, about being an openly gay actor. So, I guess, to learn more about me, they can visit my website ( or watch my series Old Dogs & New Tricks [on Amazon Prime].

    To learn generally about LGBTQ portrayal vis a vis films, read Vito Russo’s wonderful classic Celluloid Closet. There’s also a great book called Open Secret by David Ehrenstein that explores “Gay Hollywood” from 1928 to 1998. As for theatre, you can’t go wrong by starting with Acting Gay: Male Homosexuality in Modern Drama by John M. Clum.

    If the question is, how should people start if they want to write a memoir? They should just start. Just start writing your stories. Don’t worry about structure yet, or even the tone or “voice.” Just write. Most of that stuff will become clear or fall into place as your book comes more into focus.
    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
    Well, its basically my life story, so I guess when I became involved with the subject on the day I was born! (Laughs) Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like a smart ass – it just happens!

    I started thinking about writing SUB-LEBRITY* about two years ago. Several former colleagues had written books. I thought about writing my story, but a voice immediately shouted, “Who cares? You’re not a famous actor!” So, I began wondering, how does one make a Hollywood memoir” by a non-famous actor interesting and engaging? I love a good challenge.
    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
    Well, since I’m not a famous actor, I knew the book would have to be good, a fun read, and generate good “word of mouth,” if it were to be seen. It had to be well-written and draw the reader in immediately. I hope I achieved that.

    I also hope I inspire folks to follow their dreams, to realize that success isn’t necessarily defined by dollar signs. If you’re doing what you want, and you’re happy doing it, then you are successful, in my book. Oh, no pun intended! So far, the feedback I received would suggest I pulled that off.
    Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
    Yeah, a big fat “thank you!” SUB-LEBRITY* has already exceeded my expectations, both in terms of sales and reader feedback. I’m so grateful to everyone who is reading or who read my book, and for those who shared their thoughts with me. I’m really enjoying hearing from others about the challenges they faced while growing up.
    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
    I’m not much for “living in the past.” I tend to always be thinking about what I can do next, what’s ahead, what’s the next challenge. So, it was kind of cool to go back, and to stroll down memory lane at a leisurely pace. Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living,” and he was right. I discovered certain patterns in my behavior that I’d never really owned up to before. For example, I used to have a bad habit of creating drama in situations that contained none. At least back before I was working consistently as an actor. Nowadays, I keep the drama on the stage. Or now, on the page!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Leon Acord is an award-winning actor and writer who has appeared in over 35 films you've never seen and 30 plays you've never heard of. Possible exceptions include the digital TV series Old Dogs & New Tricks on Amazon Prime Video (which he created, wrote & co-produced), and the stage hit Carved in Stone (in which he played Quentin Crisp in both SF and LA productions). His memoir, SUB-LEBRITY: The Queer Life of a Show-Biz Footnote, is now available in paperback & e-book on Amazon. He wrote his one-man show Last Sunday in June (1996) and co-authored the 2014 play Setting the Record Gay. He was a "Take Five" columnist for Back Stage West throughout 2009 and a former contributor to Huffington Post. He has also written for San Francisco Examiner and the journal Human Prospect. He currently lives in West LA with husband Laurence Whiting & their cat Toby. Learn more at


$50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Leon Acord said...

Thanks for hosting me and my book, and for the fun Q&A!!!

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post - thanks for sharing!