Molly Shannon may be best known as a hilarious actress whose career launched with a spot on SNL. These days, Shannon’s acting career has been influenced by something quite beautiful — her dad.
At a Q & A session about Miles, “a movie about a gay teen’s fight to bridge the gender divide in a high school sports team,” Shannon shares how her dad influenced her decision to star in movies with LGBT+ focused stories.
“My dad was gay and closeted — born in 1926, where it wasn’t an option. Married,” she said. He came out to her at the age of 72. She told the audience that there were some signs.
“When I went to NYU drama school, I would send him pictures of like a head shot of Judy Garland. I didn’t associate that he might be gay; I just thought, ‘He’ll love this!'” said Shannon. “And then when I got my first color head shots, my dad framed it and threw gold stars all over it.”
It was right before her father died that he came out to Shannon: “We were sitting at the pool at the Four Seasons, and I said, ‘Have you ever thought you might be gay?’ He said, ‘Most definitely.’ And then we drove to Ohio and talked about it for the next 72 hours.”
This experience with her father has drawn her to LGBT stories in film. “All stories about people being gay and coming out, I’m just so attracted to,” she said. “It was my whole childhood. My whole life. I was the child of somebody who had to keep that secret. So anything I can do to let that out and tell all those stories is the most important thing to me.”
Shannon has recently starred in Miles and Other People, where Shannon played a mother of a gay son.
Speaking about telling LGBT stories in film she said, “We must continue. There are so many stories. To me, that’s just how it should be. There needs to be even more.”