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James Robert Baker
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    (October 18, 1946-November 5, 1997)
    Born in Long Beach, California
    Author of gay-themed/transgressive fiction
    Wrote 'Adrenaline' (1985), 'Fuel-Injected Dreams' (1986), 'Boy Wonder' (1988), 'Tim and Pete' (1993), 'Testosterone' (published posthumously, 2000) and 'Anarchy' (2002)
    Committed suicide by carbon monoxide inhalation in his garage
    He described himself as an 'out of control teenage speed freak.'
    He blamed his drug use and drinking on being closeted, but even after coming out his substance abuse 'still had a life of its own.'
    He spent five years in Hollywood writing screenplays without any being produced.
    After the publication of 'Tim and Pete,' which featured 'AIDS Kamikazes' assassinating right wingers, he said, 'I have to admit that if I clicked on CNN and heard somebody had blown Patrick Buchanan's head clean off, I'd be elated, and to say otherwise would be a lie.'
    After the controversy over 'Tim and Pete,' he had trouble finding a publisher.
    He said, 'If blacks and Latinos want my respect, they have to deal with their own homophobia. I'm not playing guilty liberal anymore.'
    His father hired a private detective to try to catch him having gay sex.
    He kicked drugs and alcohol before going to college.
    At UCLA film school, he won a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award.
    He had eclectic tastes, citing literary influences ranging from Marcel Proust to Jim Thompson.
    He said about the often graphic sex scenes in his novels, 'I want to write like Keith Richards plays guitar..... Using genteel prose to describe sex is the equivalent of doing a Stones album on a harpsichord.'
    Britain's 'Gay Times' declared, 'Baker's suicide is particularly tragic because it robs American gay writing of a refreshingly distinctive voice quite unlike the po-faced prose of so many of his contemporaries.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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