Gay co-producer of ‘Narnia’ films dies at 39

Posted on 21 Feb 2011 at 10:45am
Perry Moore

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Perry Moore, a co-producer of The Chronicles of Narnia film series and the author of an award-winning novel about a gay teenager with superpowers, was found unconscious in his bathroom and died later at a hospital, police said. He was 39.

His father, Bill Moore, told The New York Daily News newspaper in Saturday editions that an initial autopsy was inconclusive. “I have no clue what happened. The examiner said he was in good condition,” Bill Moore said. His father and friends said he suffered from chronic back pain.

Moore was found unconscious in the bathroom of his Manhattan home Thursday, and doctors couldn’t save his life, police said. The cause of death will be determined by the city’s medical examiner, but no foul play was suspected.

Moore had a varied career in television and in film, as producer, screenwriter and director. His 2007 novel, Hero, won the Lambda Literary Award for best novel for young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children or adults.

Moore, who was gay, said in an interview on his website that in writing the novel, he had wanted to tell the story of his father, a Vietnam veteran, “and his son.”

“Like most young people, I grew up feeling alienated and different — for very specific reasons in my case — in a place that didn’t value differences,” he said. “I also have this borderline-crazy belief in the power of literature to change the universe. So I’d always wanted to tell this story.”

Moore was an executive producer on all three hugely successful Narnia films, and authored a best-selling illustrated book for the first film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. He directed a 2008 drama with Sissy Spacek called Lake City and co-directed a documentary about children’s book author Maurice Sendak with Hunter Hill and Spike Jonze. He scored a “Sexy Man of the Week” rating by People Magazine in 2007.

But it was his novel about a super-powered teenager that seemed to focus his passions. With Hero, he said he hoped to create a gay superhero who was not, he said, a supporting character, victim or token. “I decided I would write the definitive coming-of-age story of the world’s first gay teen superhero,” he said.

It was the death of one of the first prominent gay heroes in the Marvel Comics universe, Northstar, at the hands of X-Men‘s Wolverine, that spurred him to finish the book. He slaughtered the X-Men‘s token gay hero,” Moore said. “I found this story be disturbing, to say the least.”

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