Before Willow, Larry Was the Gay Representation on ‘Buffy’

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox Television

Buffy the Vampire Slayer if often hailed as one of the greatest series of all time. It was ahead of its time and became the gold standard for other weekly shows. A large part of this, of course, has to do with its LGBT representation – more specifically, the whimsical romance between Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson). These actresses, and Buffy in general, made pop culture history by broadcasting the first lesbian kiss on primetime television. That was the year 2000 – nearly a quarter of a century ago – but a few years before that, the monster hunting drama featured another important, though often forgotten member of the gay community. I’m talking about the character of high school student Larry. 

Larry was a classmate of the main cast. He started his short journey on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as nothing more than a bully to the boys and #metoo moment for the girls. However, midway through the series’ second season, Larry’s character starts to take on deeper meaning. Through a series of hilarious events, Larry ends up divulging his gay identity to Xander (Nicholas Brendon). Now with the burden of staying in the closet lifted off his shoulders and working on his own self-loathing, Larry becomes a softer, more charming version of himself – and even tells his classmates that his grandma is finding him boys to date. 


Larry only appears in five episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and he’s mentioned in another two after the character was wrapped. You see, during the finale of season 3, Graduation Day Part 2, Larry is one of the first people to join Buffy, Willow, Xander, Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and Oz (Seth Green) as they prepare to do battle with the town’s mayor – who’s about to morph into a gigantic snake demon. Larry is strong and courageous, even standing at the frontlines with a flamethrower, but ultimately, he’s attacked by the monster and dies defending the classmates he used to bully. 

Larry was played by, coincidentally, an actor/singer named Larry Bagby. The now 50-year-old California native has continued working in film, television and music since his days on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He does a lot of work in the independent circuit, but he’s also appeared in guest roles on a number of popular television shows including CSI, Malcom in the Middle, ER, The Young and the Restless, NCIS, Ray Donovan and 9-1-1. On the music front, he’s released eight albums between 2005 and 2024. 


This is where the legend of Larry starts to get a little muddy. Although Mr. Bagby features his appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer on his convention banners and even mentions the series by name in his social media profiles, it seems that he had a hard time accepting the role in the first place due to religious beliefs. While I can’t find any straightforward anti-LGBT comments, a quote does circulate – primarily based off his profile on IMDB – where Mr. Bagby mentions walking the line between doing something you love and compromising your religious beliefs. Without a true source, he’s quoted as saying: 

It was difficult for me to make the decision to accept the role of Larry on Buffy, but in the end, I decided I didn’t feel like I was compromising my standards because I didn’t have to do anything. There is such a fine line in many areas of the entertainment business, and you have to figure out for yourself what you will and will not do. At times, as you take a stand, people become interested, and you can share the gospel.

This closely mirrors the sentiments of Robia LaMorte who played Jenny Calendar in the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Robia became a born-again Christian after completing the role and has often lamented the series for being “against God.” Still, I give Mr. Bagby credit for holding his tongue and not shitting on something that fans truly love. Because what’s not to love about the character of Larry? He mirrors a lot of coming out journeys, he went on a journey of self-discovery and redemption, and he gave his life to protect others. That’s a pretty cool dude, if you ask me. So, while most Buffy fans will name their go-to’s as Willow, Tara, Kennedy and Andrew, I chose to remember the often-forgotten Larry! 

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