WESLEY EURE is an American actor, singer, author, producer, director, charity fundraiser, and lecturer born on this date. He is best known for appearing as Michael Horton on the American soap opera Days of Our Lives from 1974 to 1981, during which he also starred on the popular children’s television series Land of the Lost. He later hosted the popular children’s game show Finders Keepers in 1987 and 1988, and co-created the children’s educational television show Dragon Tales in 1999. He subsequently published several books (for children and adults), and has produced plays and raised funds for HIV/AIDS and other causes.
Although Eure had relationships with women, he knew he was gay. He met movie star Richard Chamberlain in the early 1970s, and they entered into a serious relationship in 1975 when Chamberlain was 41 and Eure was 24. According to Eure, the two men lived together until their breakup in 1976, after which Chamberlain met his long-term partner Martin Rabbett. During this time, Eure says, he lived a fairly open life with Chamberlain, with many of his co-stars, producers, and crew aware of their relationship and Eure’s homosexuality. Eure says of the relationship, “It broke my heart. I was destroyed. I was a kid, and he was a much older guy. … I remember we broke up and I was on Days of Our Lives, I couldn’t stop shaking. I was crying so hard. I was a kid, comparatively. I went to the studio that day, and I was sobbing in the dressing room.”
During his time on Password, he became friends with host Allen Ludden and his wife, Betty White. His work on Match Game led to friendships with Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers, and Fannie Flagg. While working on Land of the Lost, Eure met actress Deidre Hall, who was working on the Krofft children’s superhero show Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. Eure learned she was auditioning for Days, and worked with her and coached her on her successful audition for the soap. Also while on Days, Eure supported his mother as she attended law school. After her graduation, he named her his manager and personal attorney.
Eure was fired from Days of Our Lives in 1981. According to Eure, he was given many reasons for the cancellation of his contract after nine years on the show. But Eure says he believes the real reason was his homosexuality, which attracted attention and threatened more deeply closeted producers and actors. He learned of his firing while his mother was in the hospital about to undergo surgery for colon cancer. Years later, Eure says he met Earl Greenburg, the head of NBC’s daytime programming division at the time he was fired. Greenburg, who was also gay, confirmed that Eure was fired because of rumours about his homosexuality. Eure also says one of the stars of Days of Our Lives confirmed that Eure’s sexuality was the cause of his dismissal.
Eure did not act in film or television for six years after leaving Days of Our Lives, falling back on his musical career, and attributes this difficulty to Hollywood gossip about his sexual orientation. During the 1980s, Eure lost most of his gay friends to AIDS—including one of his closest friends, the director John Allison.
When Chamberlain was outed by a French magazine in 1989, Eure (who had already been named in one book as a closeted homosexual) feared, in those days before the national consciousness changed, that he would be exposed as well. But with the assistance of a friend at the National Enquirer, Eure’s name was kept out of the American tabloid press.
Though still in the closet, Eure became a fund-raiser for a number of HIV/AIDS causes. It was during the premiere of the Land of the Lost film in 2009 that Eure decided to come out. He attended the premiere with a friend, Days of Our Lives production assistant Deanne Anders. While on the red carpet, Eure decided he would never again hide his sexuality. Already scheduled to do an interview with the LGBT news and lifestyle Web Site AfterElton.com about his HIV/AIDS charity work, Eure decided to finally come out of the closet in the interview.
He has helped to organize and host the LalaPOOLooza HIV/AIDS fund-raiser in Palm Springs, California, for many years. He has also raised funds for and assisted with Project Angel Food, a nonprofit organization that feeds homebound AIDS patients.