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Remembering the Enduring Legacy of a Gay Drama Teacher

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Philadelphia.“I would not be standing here if it weren’t for two very important men in my life,” he began, saying later, “Mr.

Rawley Farnsworth, who was my high school drama teacher.” He then cited a classmate and added, “Because they are two of the finest gay Americans, two wonderful men that I had the good fortune to be associated with, to fall under their inspiration at such a young age.”Hanks had called Farnsworth, who he hadn’t spoken to in 20 years, before the Oscars and asked his permission to mention the fact he was gay, and Farnsworth agreed.Hanks’s revelation about his drama teacher spawned a movie, In & Out, in which closeted drama teacher Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) is outed by his former student Cameron Drake, played by Matt Dillon, during Drake's Oscar acceptance speech.And NBC’s drama Rise was inspired by the true story of closeted high school drama teacher Lou Volpe and based on a nonfiction book about him, Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town and the Magic of Theater.

In the series NBC made Volpe straight, perhaps much to the detriment of the success of the show since it only lasted one year.Mr.

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