elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
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elisa_rolle

Merritt Butrick (September 3, 1959 – March 17, 1989)

Merritt R. Butrick (September 3, 1959 – March 17, 1989) was an American actor, known for his roles on the 1982 teen sitcom Square Pegs, in two Star Trek feature films, and a variety of other acting roles in the 1980s.

Butrick was born in Gainesville, Florida and was an only child. He graduated in 1977 from Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California. He attended the California Institute of the Arts for acting, but was dismissed from the school.

His first screen role was as a rapist in two 1981 episodes of the police drama Hill Street Blues.

He was cast as "Johnny Slash" Ulasewicz, a major supporting character in the 1982 teen sitcom Square Pegs, which received critical praise but was cancelled after 20 episodes (one season).

While Square Pegs was in pre-broadcast production, Butrick was cast to play David Marcus, the physicist son of James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his former lover Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch), in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He continued the role in the follow-up film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, in which the character was killed. He later appeared as T'Jon, the captain of a cargo vessel rescued by the crew of the Enterprise in "Symbiosis", a 1988 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Meanwhile he appeared in the 1982 comedy film Zapped!, the 1988 horror film Fright Night II, and as Barbara Hershey's hillbilly son in the 1987 drama Shy People. He had a variety of guest roles in episodic television and in TV movies.


AIDS Quilt



He received critical praise from Time magazine for his performance at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in the play Kingfish, in which he played a ditzy, petulant muscle-boy prostitute. It was his last acting role.

Butrick died of AIDS-related toxoplasmosis on March 17, 1989, at the age of 29. He has at least two panels dedicated to him as part of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, both referencing his role as David Marcus.

The 2008 release of Square Pegs on DVD included a featurette dedicated to Butrick, in which his co-stars, including Jami Gertz and Sarah Jessica Parker, and show creator Anne Beatts, paid tributes to and recounted anecdotes about Butrick.

Butrick's Star Trek III costar Robin Curtis offered similar praise on the DVD commentary for that film. Director Nicholas Meyer, who had directed him in Star Trek II, included a scene in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (filmed after Butrick's death), in which Captain Kirk puts a photograph of his murdered son on his desk.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merritt_Butrick

Further Readings:

Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press (January 14, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080707957X
ISBN-13: 978-0807079577
Amazon: Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality

The radical sexuality of gay American men in the 1970s is often seen as a shameful period of excess that led to the AIDS crisis. Beyond Shame claims that when the gay community divorced itself from this allegedly tainted legacy, the tragic result was an intergenerational disconnect because the original participants were unable to pass on a sense of pride and identity to younger generations. Indeed, one reason for the current rise in HIV, Moore argues, is precisely due to this destructive occurrence, which increased the willingness of younger gay men to engage in unsafe sex.

Lifting the'veil of AIDS,' Moore recasts the gay male sexual culture of the 1970s as both groundbreaking and creative-provocatively comparing extreme sex to art. He presents a powerful yet nuanced snapshot of a maligned, forgotten era. Moore rescues gay America's past, present, and future from a disturbing spiral of destruction and AIDS-related shame, illustrating why it's critical for the gay community to reclaim the decade.

More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics



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