ITVS and WETA present a film by Alan and Susan Raymond LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY

November 3, 2002

(San Francisco, CA) -Independent Television Service (ITVS) and WETA present a new film by Academy Award winning filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond, LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY that will premiere nationwide on PBS on January 6, 2003 at 9:00pm (check local listings). Immediately following the broadcast of LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY, please watch a rebroadcast of Episode 2 of AN AMERICAN FAMILY in which Pat Loud visits Lance living in New York City. LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY is being produced and directed by Alan and Susan Raymond in association with the Independent Television Service and WETA-TV with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service. LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY is a co-presentation of the Independent Television Service and WETA-TV.

Before THE OSBOURNES, before THE REAL WORLD and SURVIVOR, there was a 12-hour PBS documentary series that changed television history. AN AMERICAN FAMILY premiered in 1973 and every week an audience of ten million viewers watched in fascination the unfolding real life drama of the William C. Loud family of Santa Barbara, California. The series challenged conventional views of middle class American family life with its depiction of marital tensions that led to divorce, an elder son’s gay lifestyle and the changing values of American families. Prior to AN AMERICAN FAMILY, the staples of televisions family programs such as THE BRADY BUNCH profiled a model of the perfectly happy family that seldom faced any crisis. The broadcast of AN AMERICAN FAMILY in 1973 proved to be a groundbreaking watershed that forever changed American television programming and lead the way to more complex family portraits such as ROSEANNE, ONE DAY AT A TIME and even THE SIMPSONS.

On December 21, 2001, at age 50, Lance died of liver failure caused by a hepatitis C and HIV co-infection. LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY explores the legacy of this charismatic and unique individual who forever changed people’s lives. Alan and Susan Raymond, the filmmakers of the original AN AMERICAN FAMILY PBS series, remained friends with the Loud family and have continued to chronicle their lives for the past 30 years. They produced and directed AMERICAN FAMILY REVISITED in 1983 and now bring PBS audiences this “final episode” of the Loud family saga.

Lance Loud asked the Raymonds to return for the filming of the documentary several months before his death. He wanted to show his family as a strong and united group who stood by him in a loving and caring manner. One of Lance’s last requests was to have his parents, Bill and Pat Loud, reunite 30 years after their divorce. Bill and Pat agreed and they are now living together. The core of LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY will center around material filmed with Lance in the last months of his life. It will also show the memorial service held for him at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles in January 2002 in which singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright performs a heartfelt version of “Over The Rainbow” for Lance.

The one-hour documentary will include scenes from the original AN AMERICAN FAMILY series featuring Lance. Beyond examining Lance’s role in AN AMERICAN FAMILY as America’s first gay icon on television, the documentary will also delve into his years as a rock and roll performer in his punk rock band The Mumps during the 1970s and his later years as a writer and columnist for The Advocate, Details, Vanity Fair and other publications. LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY will explore the friendship Lance had with Andy Warhol, including an interview with Warhol videotaped by Lance.

He signed his name LANCE LOUD! in block capital letters, punctuated by an exclamation point. He was the first reality TV star just for being himself, and was an inspiration to legions of young people, both gay and straight, to feel free to be who they were and who they wanted to be. He received major obituaries in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. His passing was recorded in a full page People magazine “Farewell” piece. He was remembered on Time magazine’s “Milestones” page as the person who famously said, “Television ate my family.”

In the end, Lance Loud found his particular kind of fame rather hollow. Nothing could ever measure up to that initial burst of fame and notoriety. It was a hard act to follow and he spent years struggling to find himself. He went to some dark places in his life as a result, including years of substance abuse. Lance wanted the documentary to be, in part, a cautionary tale. He saw himself as a role model of what not to do in one’s life.

In fact, Lance often spoke of not wanting to be perceived as a gay icon and a publicly homosexual figure. He preferred to be seen as an outsider, a rebel, someone always living on society’s edge. His life was a comic tragedy that spoke volumes about pop culture, sexuality, fame and family life. Producers and directors Alan and Susan Raymond’s LANCE LOUD! A DEATH IN AN AMERICAN FAMILY celebrates this unique individual and the legacy he left behind.

Biography of Alan & Susan Raymond

Academy Award and Emmy-winning filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond have produced and directed feature length documentaries for Home Box Office, PBS, ABC News and the BBC in England.

The filmmakers’ most recent work is Children in War, a feature length study of the tragic consequences of war and terrorism for the children of Bosnia, Israel, Rwanda and Northern Ireland premiered on HBO January 31, 2000. Children In War received a 2000 Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Special. The film also received the 2000 UNESCO Award presented by the United Nations for outstanding achievement in television programming which best exemplifies the ideals and goals of the U. N. The Raymonds wrote a companion book Children In War published by TV Books and distributed by HarperCollins.

The Academy Award-winning film I Am A Promise: The Children of Stanton Elementary School chronicled a year in the life of a troubled inner-city elementary school in North Philadelphia. This film was produced for Home Box Office and has been honored with an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary l993, a Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Information Special, a George Foster Peabody Award, an Alfred I. Du Pont award from the Columbia School of Journalism, a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for First Prize in Television Reporting and a Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association.

The Raymonds specialize in long form social issue documentaries. They have produced films on education and schooling (I Am A Promise), mental illness (Into Madness), policing in America (The Police Tapes, Police Chiefs), juvenile justice (Bad Boys), prison reform (Doing Time: Life Inside The Big House), the British Army and the IRA in Northern Ireland (To Die For Ireland) as well as historical documentaries on the urban blues music of Chicago (Sweet Home Chicago) and the early days of rock and roll in their documentary


The Raymonds were also the filmmakers of the landmark 12-hour cinema verite PBS documentary series An American Family. The Raymonds later produced American Family Revisited for HBO, a look at the Loud family ten years after they appeared in the original series and their reflections upon that experience. The Raymonds are currently in production on a new documentary on the Loud family centered around the life and death of their oldest son Lance entitled Lance Loud! A Death In An American Family. The film is intended for broadcast on PBS in 2003.

Many of the Raymonds films are in the permanent collections of museums and libraries, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City as well as the Bibliotheque National in Paris. In 1995, the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles held a retrospective screening of the Raymonds films. The Raymonds have previously been the recipients of an artist’s grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, received eleven Emmy Awards and have twice been awarded the George Foster Peabody Award and the Columbia School of Journalism’s Du Pont Award.

About WETA

WETA is the third-largest producing station in the public broadcasting system and the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital. WETA productions and co-productions include “Washington Week” and “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” as well as documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “JAZZ” and, most recently, “Mark Twain.” Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. For more information on WETA and its programs, visit the Web site at

About ITVS

Unique in American public broadcasting, the Independent Television Service (ITVS) presents award-winning documentaries, dramas and series on public television, and innovative new media projects on the Web. ITVS was established by Congress to fund and present programs that “involve creative risks and address the needs of underserved audiences,” while granting artistic control to independent producers. ITVS is proud to present Independent Lens, a weekly cure for the common TV show, debuting in February 2003 on Tuesday nights at 10 P.M. on PBS. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have transformed and revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. Contact ITVS via e-mail at or



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