Lou Maletta, RIP

Categories: Gaaaaayyyyyy

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Brooklyn-born Lou Maletta was that bearish guy in a leather harness whom you'd see on TV being openly gay, openly fetishy, and openly himself.

In 1982, he founded the Gay Cable Network (and hosted Men in Films), which carried on for 18 years, growing from unabashed erotica obsessing to AIDS coverage and beyond as Lou realized the importance of educating the community as well as titillating it.

In 1995, he was hired as the off-camera voice for Calvin Klein jeans commercials, but when Calvin found out Lou hosted a racy public-access show -- as complaints came in about the campaign's kiddie-porn undertones -- the whole thing was pulled, creating the kind of hoopla money can't buy.

(A photo from the print campaign is below.)

Lou just died of liver cancer, but he leaves behind a legacy of closet-door flinging that was very major, especially since he came off as an affable mix of Larry Kramer and Uncle Fester.

Bye, Uncle Lou.


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22 comments
Eric E.
Eric E.

R.I.P my old friend. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Lou from 1985-1991 not to mention spending many many weekends at the cottage in upstate. I knew him VERY well and he was the best of the best with a heart BIGGER than the Gay community could handle sometimes! I met more famous and important people through King Louie than in ALL my years in CA. and I miss him dearly!! I'm glad his many years of hard work covering our community has been preserved and wait for the day they do a Documentary about the Gay Cable Network and the man who had the courage to do what nobody would or could. 

Jerico DeAngelo
Jerico DeAngelo

My Heart goes out to family and freinds. I have many years of memories of great times and adventures with him in the 90s, I Haven't seen lou in 10 years, BUT When You Lose someone who is a link to your past.., and  to the ones you use to know, who are there no more. it's like having a keeper of those memories gone too. RIP Lou.

TomWeise
TomWeise

RIP, Lou! Remembering you from the days of Hustlaball, The Studio and Gay Pride Parades! You have always been a supporter of my work and I have always admired you and your legacy!!

DanielP
DanielP

Lou was one of the first people I met when I first went to NY back in the early 90's. He was warm and welcoming and had an amazingly wicked sense of humor. At first I thought he was just the center of a party culture but I quickly found he was a smart guy who had a vision and was making it happen... for everyone. And while his after hour parties were infamous, there's no doubt the Gay Cable Network was of huge importance to the community as it continued to evolve and grow providing information and entertainment to a LARGE segment of the population. I had never seen anything like it on television coming from a closed-minded place like Chicago!No doubt, there will be people who will want to vilify him for what he was and how he lived his life, but it's really not about Lou... Lou was a great guy. It's about their sick need to exclude a group of folks from the experience of life. Maybe they should go off and live on an island alone somewhere.And then it sinks.

latenitebump
latenitebump

wow! he leaves behind a daughter! and double wow! bette midler was at gay pride 1973?!thank you! lou!outstanding (now historical) gay footage! he´s even got footage of jesse jackson. lol

Barkley
Barkley

He & his entourage would start at the Lure and then proceed to the Eagle and The Spike, then he had his famous afterhours parties which drew celebs.  He was a nice guy, I'll miss seeing him around.

Patchouli
Patchouli

Someone writes a nice obit and then some asshole comes in screaming "Your mother sucks cocks in hell, you ugly bastards" and THAT's supposed to be the one seeking respect for Lou and the one we're supposed to take seriously as a respectful voice???

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

I am sorry that I never was aware of this guy but he sounds like a real pioneer.  It is sad that guys/gals  that think outside of the gay box  are treated with far less respect than some money grubbing exec from GLAAD or HRC. 

Bklynqueen72
Bklynqueen72

This one is for ICK. I don't thing he was being disrespectful on anyone sayin good things about LOU. He was more upset because Michael Musto, out of respect should have contact the close and dear family member of Lou. Which he didn't and thats what upset him. Michael knows as well as others that are writing about Lou's death and life who to contact out of respect. May we all take this moment and pray for Lou Maletta and ask our lord to have mercy on his soul. Uncle Lou,May you rest in peace. You will be missed, but never forgotten.. Love Sebahat

Jaja
Jaja

Huh? Writing a lovely eulogy is disrespectful? Lou was a TV star and gay public figure and his death is certainly reportable. And it was written up on many gay sites. Are they mad at them too for eulogizing Lou? 

Viv
Viv

Agreed. And how was Musto supposed to know who Lou's family are and how to reach them? He was simply putting out  the word and giving Lou some lovely press.

markpkessinger
markpkessinger

Believe me, Musto knows Luke just as he knew Lou.

LOUGCNTV
LOUGCNTV

GO FUCK YOURSELF FOR ALL THAT TALK BAD I HAVE KNOWN LOUIS FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS AND ALL THE NASTY THINGS POSTED ABOUT HIM BY YOU SENSELESS MOTHER FUCKERS.YOU WERE PROBABLY UGLY BASTARDS TRYING TO GET IN THE CLUB FREE BECAUSE YOU SPENT ALL YOUR MONEY ON TINA.YOUR MOTHER SUCKS COCK IN HELL.

Ick
Ick

You're psychotic and illiterate. Everyone posted nice things. Shut the fuck up. You're the one desecrating Lou's memory.

Marvin Taylor
Marvin Taylor

Michael, The Fales Library at NYU holds the complete video archive of the GCN. Thought you'd like to know.

Marvin

Robertangelo Coppola
Robertangelo Coppola

I knew Lou back in 1982...As a matter of fact me and my partner Rich Hendlowitch were interviewed on his first program. I think it was called the Way We Were. I'm so sorry to hear of his passing. I knew he was in the documentary film Vito. Lou was a very talented sweet person...He will be missed... 

Quills
Quills

Did Men in Films inspire that In Living Color spoof?

Sedge
Sedge

I always thought he came off a little creepy, but glad to hear he was important and nice.

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