Gay Comedian Bob Smith Passes Away at 59

The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that trailblazing gay comedian and writer Bob Smith has tragically passed away at the age of 59.  His cause of death was due to complications from ALS. 

Bob was the first of many in entertainment for the LGBTQ community.  He was the first openly gay man to have his own 30-minute HBO special (HBO Comedy Half-Hour), as well as the first openly gay man to perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

The Buffalo, New York native also has several fantastic writing credits under his belt.  His writing credits include the MTV Video Music Awards, Dennis Miller, Roseanne and MadTV.  He's also headlined several gay pride parades both in the United States and Canada, as well as his performances at Montreal's Just For Laughs.

He was also a notable writer outside of television, where he penned an autobiographical essay collection Openly Bob (1997), which won the LAMBDA Book Award for humor. In 1999, he was nominated for another LAMBDA for his second collection of essays, 1999's Way to Go, Smith. In 2016, Bob published his last collection of essays, Treehab: Tales from my Natural Wild Life, which he wrote in the midst of battling ALS and using his one functional hand on an iPad. Smith also wrote the novels Selfish & Perverse (2007), a finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction; and Remembrance of Things I Forgot (2011), nominated for a LAMBDA for Best Gay Fiction and shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize. 

He is survived by by his mother, Sue; his brothers, James and Gregory; his partner, Michael Zam, the co-creator of FX's Feud: Bette and Joan — and his children, Madeline and Xander.