When Brad Davis, another accomplished Hollywood actor, died of AIDS six years later, Michael appeared on NBC’s A Closer Look and chose to come out as HIV-positive, activating the controversy, casting a light on Hollywood’s insidious homophobia and AIDSphobia. That appearance was outdone the following night by the lead story on Entertainment Tonight which forever merged Kearns’ reputation as the first openly gay, publicly HIV-positive actor in Hollywood with his newfound spokesperson identity as someone determined to break through the barriers that have perpetuated homophobia at all levels within the entertainment industry for decades.
Activism equals leadership which Michael has proven throughout his career, beginning with the creation of two organizations in the early Eighties that he co-founded with his artistic partner, James Carroll Pickett: Artists Confronting AIDS (which Michael served as Artistic Director for ten years) and S.T.A.G.E. (the Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event), the longest running AIDS benefit on record which raised over $5 million during its thirty-three year run.
Most recently, Michael founded QueerWise, an artistic-activist Spoken Word collective entering their eleventh heralded year. In 2022, he oversaw the conjoining of QueerWise with the Purple Circuit.
Video Interviews and Podcasts
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