Longtime gay actor, director Alan Poindexter passes away

Poindexter was star of 1996 'Angels in America' production, led Charlotte Children's Theatre for 10 years

Originally published: July 10, 2013, 1:41 p.m.
Updated: July 11, 2013, 3:22 p.m.

Alan Poindexter

Alan Poindexter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The local theatre community is mourning the loss of one of its longtime actors and directors today. Alan Poindexter, 47, died on Tuesday evening.

Friends said Poindexter had been in and out of the hospital the past week, according to The Charlotte Observer. Other details about Poindexter’s passing have not been publicly released by family or friends. A life celebration is planned for Aug. 22. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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Life celebration planned
The day before Poindexter’s birthday, Aug. 22, there will be a life celebration from 7-10 p.m. at McGlohon Theater in Spirit Square, said Tim Parati, Children’s Theatre’s scenic artist. Tickets won’t be needed for entry.

“It will be very casual; we’ll just share thoughts and stories,” Parati said.

Poindexter’s family has not yet announced funeral arrangements, he said.

Charlotte Observer, via Charlotte News Alliance

Poindexter had been professionally engaged with the theatre community for over three decades.

John Quillin, director of Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, said his group worked closely with Poindexter. Several years ago, they hired him to act during a “Dance-a-long Nutcracker” event. Poindexter, Quillin said, was a “consummate professional.”

“He was really such a great professional,” Quillin said. “We’re really going to miss him. He was so creative and dedicated to the craft of acting and theatre.

In 1996, he took center stage during the middle of local controversies over Charlotte Repertory Theatre’s staging of the AIDS-themed play “Angels in America.” Poindexter starred as Prior Walter, one of the play’s main characters with AIDS. Poindexter’s short seven-seconds of nude performance launched a firestorm of legal, financial and social protests and battles. The next year, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted to strip public funding from local arts programming.

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Quillin said Poindexter handled the controversy “with grace.”

“I don’t think anyone realized just how controversial that play would end up being,” Quillin recalled.

In many ways, the “Angels” controversy made Charlotte a national laughing stock. But, because of Poindexter and so many others, Quillin said, it served ultimately to bring positive legacies.

“The big thing I think came out of it was the steady parade of people from businesses all across the community who stood up and said, ‘This is not how we treat people and discrimination is wrong,'” Quillin said. “It really brought corporate support out of the closet and into the spotlight.”

Last October, Poindexter unexpectedly resigned his 10-year tenure as artistic director at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

Dozens of friends and colleagues have been leaving messages of condolence and support on Poindexter’s Facebook profile.

Calls to several of Poindexter’s friends and colleagues were not immediately returned.

— This is a developing story.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.