Tom Judson – Man of Many Talents

Tom Judson is a 51 year-old man with a body for days, and for each muscle delineation he possesses a concomitant skill.

He is a composer, an actor, a musician who plays at least a dozen instruments from accordion to trombone, a rower, a former male escort, a writer, a world-class chef (please pass the apricot scones), and a home renovator.

Wait did I forget to mention adult film star? How could I not, especially since he won performer of the year in 2005 when he was 40-plus years old.

I know Tom Judson; I mean really know him, No, not in the Biblical sense although we did share a room in Hollywood when I went to cover the Gay Porn Awards. I walked the red carpet with Tom and was standing next to him at the ceremony, where he was nominated for five awards and kept losing one after another. I was there when he bowed his tall, lean frame over to me to whisper, “I am the Susan Lucci of porn.”

’The Susan Lucci of porn.’

This is Tom Judson, he is funny, he is spontaneous and he is self-effacing as only a very bright person can afford to be.

According to Judson, “I took an unusual path and it seems I followed ever diversion my life led me on. When I first stared working in theater in 1980 at places downtown like LaMaMa, I was exclusively a writer of words and music. But back in the day we would all be in each other’s shows as favors. No one was being paid so we leapt in to fill in the blanks. So I started performing because it was hard to get others to perform for free. People seemed to think I had something going on as a performer.

“But I always stayed a musician, I play a dozen instruments: winds, brass and keyboards, it was a hobby to learn new instruments, little did I know that my autodidact obsession with diverse instruments would take me to Broadway as an actor, but it did.”

Tale of our times

In 1988, on a lark, a friend dragged Judson to an audition of Sam Mendes production of “Cabaret” where all the actors played instruments on stage. He won a role. In Judson’s one-man show “Canned Ham,” he has a hilarious retelling of his klutzy inability to dance and his manic counting as he moved across the stage, amazed every night that he succeeded.

The one-man show had a run downtown at Dixon Place and in Provincetown, LA and Key West. This poignant, funny, honest tale of the man of many hats is unfolded often wearing nothing but a musical instrument and socks. It is a tale of our times detailing the loss of his husband Bruce to AIDS and the rebuilding of his life.

There is bravery in all of what Judson does. He discloses, details and delights in equal measure and does seem to evince a fearlessness that most lose in the their 20s. After his husband’s death, Judson was touring in the musical “42nd Street,” and was in Minneapolis and went out to a gay bar after the show.



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