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Stuart Jay Byron was born on 9 May 1941 in the Bronx, New York and attended public schools there. In 1958 he began his freshman year at Wesleyan University. He majored in history and graduated in 1963.
After graduation, Byron worked in New York City in a number of different writing and film-related positions. Between 1963 and 1965, he was associate editor of the Independent Film Journal. Between 1965 and 1966, he was director of advertising and publicity for Pathé Contemporary Films. He moved to Avco Embassy Pictures and worked as a publicist between 1966 and 1967. In 1967, he was employed as a reporter and reviewer for the entertainment industry publication Variety. In 1969 he left Variety for Natoma Productions (known for its production of the 1960s play, Hair), where he was assistant to the president for motion pictures. In 1971, Byron began working as a film reviewer for The Village Voice, and freelanced for publications, including Rolling Stone, Harper's, The New York Times, Boston Phoenix, Gay, On Film, Film Comment, Movie, Creem, and New York magazine.
It was in the 18 February 1971 edition of The Village Voice, in his review of the film, The Statue, that Byron came out, and was one of the first openly gay film critics in New York. He then became involved in the early gay rights movement in New York. He was a member of the Gay Activists Alliance, the National Gay Task Force, and participated in the planning of annual Gay Pride weeks. He was a member of a number of gay clubs, societies, and organizations, and served as publicist for Fred Halsted’s gay film, LA Plays Itself.
In 1973, Byron moved from New York to Boston to become the film editor for The Real Paper, an employee-owned alternative weekly. By 1974 Byron was back in New York, as a contributing editor for Film Comment. In 1976, Byron and Elizabeth Weis co-edited On Movie Comedy, which was published by the Viking Press. In the next years, Byron held a variety of positions, including movie editor of Entertainment, and author of a weekly column for The Village Voice called “Rules of the Game.”
In 1982, Byron left New York and moved to Los Angeles to take a position with Rastar Productions as the creative affairs executive for Ray Stark. In 1984, Byron left Rastar, and worked in a number of different jobs, including one as columnist for LA Weekly. Byron also started his own business in Los Angeles called “re:visions, motion picture consultants,” a company which marketed his skills as a reader, writer, and editor to the movie industry. In 1989, Byron began writing a monthly column for The Advocate, the national gay and lesbian news magazine.
Stuart Byron was diagnosed with ARC (AIDS Related Complex) in 1988, and died 13 December 1991 from complications resulting from AIDS.
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