February 28th & 29th People

February 28th

02-28-1977 Kehinde Wiley – Born in Los Angeles, California. His father is from Nigeria and his mother is African-American. He is a New York City-based portrait painter known for his naturalistic painting of African-Americans. In October 2017, Wiley was commissioned to produce a portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. He and Amy Sherald, who was chosen to paint the portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, are the first black artists to paint official portraits of the president and the first lady. Wiley identifies as gay.

02-28-1903 – 07-25-1986 Vincente Minnelli – Born in Chicago, Illinois. He was an American stage and film director. Minnelli directed two musical movie classics, Meet Me In St. Louis and An American In Paris. Married to Judy Garland from 1945 to 1951; father of Liza Minnelli and Christiane (her mother was Georgette Magnani married to Minnelli from 1962 to 1971) . He was openly gay while living in New York. Upon arriving in Hollywood he was known to be “bisexual.”

02-28-1939   Tommy Tune – Born in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is an American actor, dancer, singer, theatre director, producer, and choreographer. He has won ten Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts. Tune is the only person to win Tony Awards in the same categories (Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical) in consecutive years (1990 and 1991), and the first to win in four categories. He also won a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. In his 1997 memoir Footnotes, he wrote about what drives him as a performer, choreographer, and director; tells stories about being openly gay in the world of theatre; and talks about his partners, David Wolfe (March 1, 1915 – September 23, 1994), and Michel Stuart. (Photo taken in 1977)

02-28-1990   Steve Grand – Born in Lemont, Illinois. He is an American singer, songwriter, and model. In July 2013, his You Tube video, All American Boy, went viral in less than a week. By the age of 13, Grand realized that he was gay. He struggled to gain acceptance of his sexuality by his Catholic family. Grand underwent 5 years of counseling. In an interview Grand said, “I want to make it clear that it’s been misrepresented that I went through what most people know as conversion therapy. I saw a Christina therapist who, among many other beliefs, believed I’d be happier in a straight life. He didn’t shame me for being gay. In no way, shape, or form…do I condone ex-gay therapy. I think it’s a horrible practice. A person’s sexuality is a part of who they are. And I certainly suffered for not having my sexuality affirmed.” Grand has become active in the LGBT equality movement. In 2013, he appeared on Out magazine’s “Out 100” list of prominent LGBT people. In 2014, he was one of the performers at the opening ceremonies of WorldPride in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

02-28-1952 Pete Williams – Born in Casper, Wyoming. He is an NBC News television correspondent based in Washington D.C. He was outed as gay in August 1991 by Michelangelo Signorile.

02-28-1963 Rosie Mendez – Member of the New York City Council from Manhattan, representing the 2nd District. She is the child of Puerto Rican parents. Mendez graduated from New York University and Rutgers School of Law – Newark. She is openly lesbian.

02-29-1972 – 11-11-1994 Pedro Zamora – Born in Diezmero, Cuba. He was a Cuban-American AIDS educator and television personality. As one of the first openly gay men with AIDS to be portrayed in popular media, he brought international attention to HIV/AIDS, LGBT issues, and prejudices through his appearance on MTV’s reality television series, The Real World: San Francisco. President Bill Clinton credited Zamora with personalizing and humanizing those living with HIV with his activism, including testifying before Congress.

 

02-29-1920 – 01-22-2010   James Mitchell – Born in Sacramento, California. He was an American actor and dancer. He is best known for his role as Palmer Cortlandt on the tv  soap opera All My Children from 1979 to 2010. Mitchell was also one of Agnes de Mille’s leading dancers. His last film appearance was in The Turning Point (1977) with Anne Bancroft. Mitchell’s partner of thirty-nine years was the Oscar-award-winning costume designer, Albert Wolsky. Mitchell died in 2010, after suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complicated by pneumonia.

 

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