Texas native Del Shores has worked as an actor, playwright, as well as a producer and writer of television and film. He has brought the public such shows as Sordid Lives, Dharma & Greg, Queer as Folk, Ned and Stacy, Touched by an Angel, and Maximum Bob. His work as a playwright has won him countless awards. His films Daddy’s Dyin: Who’s Got the Will? and Sordid Lives offer up a delightful look at life in the South. Shores work on Sordid Lives offers up a glimpse at the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender society in a way few could. It was my honor to have the chance to offer up this interview and show the man behind the work.
What was it like growing up in Texas?
I had a great childhood, crazy, fun relatives, raised in the church and theatre. Dad was a Southern Baptist preacher, Mom was the high school drama teacher.
Do you think the early influences of your life from there have played a major role in who you are today?
What were you like as a child?
I was a big fat liar. Harmless ones. My mother encouraged me to tell “stories”. Wild tales. I think that’s why I became a writer.
What first inspired you to become an actor?
The influence of my Mom, I suppose. She had me reading plays, watching her rehearsals from the time I was six. I was hooked!
Do you find your life in the South came in handy when writing Daddy’s Dyin and Sordid Lives?
I couldn’t have written them without growing up in Texas. Daddy’s Dyin’ was loosely based on my mother’s family and Sordid Lives was of course my coming out story – Ty and Latrelle, me and my mom.
Both shows seem to feature rather close families. Do you think family is an important thing to have?
Yes, of course. They are our foundation and reflect our “sum” in so many ways.
When doing Sordid Lives did you enjoy offering viewers a much more open minded view of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities?
Do you think society as a whole has become more open minded in regards to such things?
Yes, people coming out, putting a face on gay has had a huge positive reaction. The haters will die out and the new generation will take care of the damage that we’ve seen.
Why do you think there has been such a stigma on that?
Mainly, frankly, because of the church. The Bible has been used as a tool to justify hate and homophobia.
How does you work as a writer differ most from television to film?
TV is more controlled by the networks, by the buyers – at least in my career, because I have had more independent films. So, my stories are more “mine” in film and theatre.
Do you prefer one over the other?
No, they all have their benefits. I certainly prefer the money in TV, but enjoy the freedom and control of my storytelling in film and theatre.
Is there any one television show you have enjoyed working on more than the others? If so why?
I loved working on Queer As Folk and Sordid Lives: The Series the most. QAF was just fun, fun, fun and a great team of writers. Sordid was mine and LOGO allowed me the control I like.
You have also won countless awards for your work as a playwright. What does it feel like to have your work acknowledged in such a way?
I’m always stunned and appreciative!
Did you ever imagine you would be doing what you are career wise as successful as you are?
I never planned for failure, so I’ve enjoyed the journey and am grateful!
How do you think becoming a father changed your outlook on life most?
Huge! You are responsible for the livelihood of amazing children and must grow up! I’ll never be a conventional father, but the influence in my work, my life and how I have lived has been massive.
Are there any little known facts about you that you’d not mind sharing with our readers?
I can tell you who sang almost any song and how it charted from around 1972 to 1985.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you and who was it?
Be honest with yourself and don’t let anybody tell you that you are less than. I’ve told my children this and so many other young people – especially gay kids struggling with family and the church.
What do you think is the most important thing to remember on the journey called life?
Oh that’s too broad. There would have to be a list!
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m enjoying my tour Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality. and I’m in preproduction on a film version of the play Southern Baptist Sissies. Also, a mockumentary called The Happy Holloways, about a gospel music singing family.
Anything you’d like to say before you go?
Life is good these days! It’s been hard after the divorce, but it does get better.