His directing credits include Guilty as Charged, Oblivion, Elvira's Haunted Hills, and three entire seasons of the television series Dante's Cove. His other credits include co-executive producing Bill Condon's Academy Award-winner Gods and Monsters; associate producing Brian DePalma's Home Movies; and serving as the historical consultant on the Tony Award-winner Liza's at the Palace. Irvin also wrote the acclaimed biography Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise (Simon & Schuster). Between projects, Irvin teaches graduate courses on directing at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
Sam Irvin was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1964, when he was eight years old, Irvin went on a family trip to California where he was able to tour various movie studios. At Warner Brothers, he watched an elaborate sequence being filmed for Blake Edwards's The Great Race starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood. In a giant water tank on a sound stage, Irvin watched with wide eyes as a nighttime storm scene unfolded, featuring antique cars floating across the Bering Strait on icebergs. From that moment on, he decided he wanted to direct movies. Commandeering his father's Super 8mm home movie camera, Irvin directed numerous horror movie shorts, including one starring his younger brother, Tim, as Dracula wearing a black beach towel for a cape, plastic fangs, and lots of ketchup.
Sam Irvin (born June 14, 1956) is an award-winning film and television director, producer, screen writer, author, and film teacher. He resides in Los Angeles with Gary Bowers (born August 11, 1946), his partner since 1982. "My family: my partner since 1982, Gary Bowers and our kids: Teddy, a Poodle, and Spike, a Chihuahua. We live in a condo in Van Nuys, California -- a section of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. My lover is a hairdresser and we have a poodle... Can’t get much gayer than that!" Their anniversary is on February 14, 1982.
Like the young boy in Cinema Paradiso, Irvin spent much of his youth in movie theaters. His grandfather, Warren Irvin, was the district manager for Wilby-Kincey Theaters, a chain of cinemas throughout the Southeast. And his father, Sam Irvin Sr., co-owned Irvin-Fuller Theaters, a competing chain with cinemas in North and South Carolina. During his youth, Irvin worked in these theaters in every capacity, from popping popcorn to tearing tickets to organizing horror movie kiddie matinees (with an emphasis on Vincent Price, Roger Corman, and Hammer Films). Later, during his college years, he worked for Irvin-Fuller Theaters as its Advertising and Publicity Manager, spearheading a record-breaking year-long run of Silver Streak starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor at the Gamecock Cinema in Columbia, South Carolina.
As a teenager, he edited and published four annual issues of Bizarre (1972–75), a fanzine on fantasy, horror and science fiction films, for which he twice traveled to England to conduct in-person interviews with the likes of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee (on the set of the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun), Peter Cushing, Diana Rigg, Ingrid Pitt, Jane Seymour, Joan Collins, Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis, and Sir James Carreras and his son, Michael Carreras (of Hammer Film Productions), among many others. (See retrospective 13-page spread on the history of Bizarre in Richard Klemensen's Little Shoppe of Horrors, issue number 27, October 2011.)
In 1978, Irvin graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts. While attending the university, he was the film critic for The Gamecock, the campus newspaper, and won a student film award for his thesis short film. He was also chairman of the University of South Carolina Film Committee that ran a year-round cinema program at the campus theater.
During his summer break in 1977, Irvin interned on the Chicago location shooting for Brian De Palma’s The Fury starring Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Amy Irving and Charles Durning. He worked on the feature as a production assistant and extra, and also wrote a journal on the making of the movie that was published in Cinefantastique magazine, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1978. Irvin also conducted an exclusive interview with Amy Irving in which, for the first time anywhere, she discussed her relationship with Steven Spielberg; it was published in Cinefantastique, Vol 6, No. 4 / Vol. 7, No. 1, a special double Star Wars issue, 1978.
After graduating from the University of South Carolina in May 1978, Irvin worked as the Associate Producer and Production Manager on Brian De Palma's Home Movies starring Kirk Douglas, Nancy Allen, and Keith Gordon. Then, Irvin worked as De Palma's assistant on Dressed to Kill starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon.
He also worked closely with De Palma on several projects in development, including Blow Out (which eventually De Palma directed, starring John Travolta and Nancy Allen), and Prince of the City (which was originally going to star Robert De Niro from a script by David Rabe, but was ultimately directed by Sidney Lumet starring Treat Williams).
Irvin gave up his position as De Palma's assistant to produce The First Time, a coming-of-age comedy for which De Palma served as a credited Creative Consultant. Released by New Line Cinema, the film starred Tim Choate, Wendie Jo Sperber, Wallace Shawn, Cathryn Damon and Jane Badler.
During the 1980s, Irvin served as Vice President of Marketing for three film distributors: United Artists Classics, Spectrafilm, and Vestron. During this period, Irvin won Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards for designing the movie posters for Francois Truffaut’s Confidentially Yours and Paul Verhoeven’s The Fourth Man. He also helped spearhead the record-breaking year-long run of Jean-Jacques Beineix's Diva in New York City.
Irvin's first directorial effort, which he also wrote and produced, was the 1985 dark comedy short Double Negative, which starred Bill Randolph, Justin Henry, Wayne Knight, and William Finley. It premiered as an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently played theatrically in New York and Los Angeles. Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that it was "an exceptionally promising first effort."
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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