1916 - 1988
Gordon Merrick was born in Bala Cynwyd, PA on August 3, 1916. He enrolled in Princeton University in 1936 and studied literature, but quit college to move to NYC where he was cast in the original stage production of The Man Who Came to Dinner. Receiving a draft deferment due a hearing problem, Merrick left acting for journalism before eventually getting a job with the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) where he rose to the rank of Captain. After the war he returned to the US and began writing. His first effort was the novel The Strumpet Wind (1947) which contained a secondary bisexual character. With his earnings Merrick returned to France and eventually Greece where he wrote his best known novel, The Lord Won’t Mind, about two young, handsome and well-endowed gay men who fall madly in love. The book received criticism for its obsession with beauty in the gay male world, but was significant for featuring well-adjusted gay men in romantic relationships and having a happy ending. The Lord Won’t Mind was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 16 weeks in 1970, making Merrick a pioneer in the presentation of gay themes for a mass audience. The novel was the first in a trilogy, followed by One for the Gods (1971) and Forth into Light (1974). Merrick left Greece in 1980 and moved to (Ceylon) Sri Lanka, returning periodically to France. Merrick wrote a total of 13 novels and although he is often dismissed because of his romanticism as well as the explicit sexuality of his books, his potboilers were important for bringing a gay liberation perspective to the romance genre. As gay men were coming into their own, the value of his work in breaking boundaries cannot be denied. He was the gay Jacqueline Susann. Gordon Merrick died of lung cancer at age 71 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on March 27, 1988. He was survived by his companion of 32 years, Charles Gerald Hulse.
Sexual Orientation Gay
Gender Identity Cisgender
Nations Affiliated United States Mexico France Greece Sri Lanka
Era/Epoch Information Age (1970-present) Interwar Period (1918-1939) World War II (1939-1945)
Field(s) of Contribution