For many gay and bisexual men of a certain age, the first inkling that they weren’t like other boys came on Saturday mornings from 1974 to 1976, in the form of a television show called The Land of the Lost. The show, about a father and his two children who were stranded in a mysterious land of dinosaurs, also featured vicious, but curiously slow-moving reptilian humanoids called Sleestak. But it wasn’t just the gloriously campy-even-at-the-time nature of the show itself that appealed to gay boys. It was also the fact that it featured the role of Will Marcshall, the handsome teenage son, played by an actor billed only as “Wesley,” but whose full name is Wesley Eure.
Wesley Eure (born August 17, 1951) came to prominence when he appeared in two long running television series in the 1970s, Days Of Our Lives playing the role of Mike Horton for 8 years, and Land Of The Lost in which he played Will Marshall for three seasons. For several years, he appeared in both shows simultaneously. Eure is also a singer, author, producer, director, charity fundraiser, and lecturer. Eure co-produced, wrote and acted in Totally Hidden Video and Payback. He also wrote and directed Spy TV for NBC. He was the host of Nickelodeon game show Finders Keepers. He co-created PBS Kids’s Emmy-nominated animated series for preschoolers called Dragon Tales, now in its sixth year. It is produced by The Children’s Television Workshop and Sony.
The story of Eure’s life – being cast to replace David Cassidy on The Partridge Family right before the show was canceled, for example – has always been interesting. But now that he’s opening up about being gay, his story also includes the stuff of even the richest of memoirs: his 70s love affair with Richard Chamberlain, his behind-the-scenes firing from Days of Our Lives, his relationship with some of the most famous closeted gay men in the Hollywood, and his touching thoughts on being a closeted teen heartthrob.
During an interview posted by Dennis Ayers in AfterElton, Eure said, "It was a horrible time in Hollywood, being gay. It was horrible. I was on the cover of Tiger Beat and all those a lot, and they'd do those "Win A Date With Wesley" and "Who's Wesley Dating?" It was so disingenuous. I had a full life. I've had a lot of friends and some pretty high profile partners, and it was an odd thing. I got fired from Days of Our Lives for being gay. After nine years, my contract was up, but I was hosting the number one show for Nickelodeon, Finders Keepers. It was on cable, but this was before everybody had Nickelodeon. Mark Summers was doing Double Dare. I was getting bigger ratings than Mark. I became the number one host for kids for two seasons, and then we heard the show was being sold to Fox. Everybody else was celebrating and I went, "Oh, no. I'm out of a job." Sure enough. I waited, I kept calling, 'Am I hosting the show?' They wouldn't answer the question, and then I got the call they went with somebody younger. I knew Fox and NBC were run by gay men at the time, but what was odd about the industry at the time, it was amazing how the gay men were perpetuating the damage."
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Premier of Land Of The Lost (2008)