Tom Graeff - Los Anglees - 1969

Two of the last known photographs of
Tom Graeff - Los Angeles, 1969
photographs by Bill Quigley
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The Final Years

Tom's final years were obsessive and energetic. He lived in a beautiful home on Rodgerton in the Hollywood Hills, apparently serving as an assistant/helper to the house's owner. Tom was vague about how he got his money. He always seemed to have enough to get by, despite never holding down a regular job. He continued to try and interest the Hollywood elite in Orf. He called agents and actors all over the world, asking them to read his script, then following up with them until they said, "No." And they all said no.

Tom was also running Evolutionary Data Foundation, a mail order business that primarily existed to sell a long-playing record of a lecture he gave at the Metropoloan Community Church. The record's front cover had a groovy picture of Jesus and the back cover proclaimed "UNABASHED LOVEMAKING and how sexual hypocrisy got started." The lecture is a wacky, often humor-filled explanation of why man is inherently bisexual, with stops along the way into the theories of Desmond Morris and Richard Leakey. The record was broadcast twice in its entirety on local radio station KPFK-FM in 1969.

Hear Tom's opening joke from the lecture

Cover of Tom Graeff's LP, circa 1969
Cover illustration of
Tom Graeff's LP (1969)

Ironically, the back cover text on the record claimed that one of its uses was to help end the suicides of men with "an inability to cope with the flood of convincing misinformation concerning their homosexual feelings." Tom talked about committing suicide endlessly to his circle of friends, who laughed him off or became annoyed at what they thought was a way for Tom to get attention and sympathy. Tom swung from manic highs, running around Hollywood trying to promote his projects, to depressed lows when he just sat quietly and said little.

What led to Tom's suicide? Was it that "inability to cope" with his homosexual feelings? Hearsay evidence points to a very different reason, which may also explain why he moved from Hollywood to a small rented room outside San Diego. Why were many of his papers destroyed after his suicide? And what does Kurt Vonnegut have to do with Tom Graeff? My research continues as I try and track down the facts behind Tom's last years.

It's a tale of lust, unrequited love, Hollywood studio treachery, the sexual revolution of the late 1960s, big time dreams, and the crazy emotional roller coaster of Tom Graeff's obsessions.

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