James Pickett was born on December 17th 1949 in Kentucky and made a name for himself in the horror community for his roles in three of William Girdler’s Louisville filmed flicks. He was an actor in local theater when he was first cast as a zombie in Girdler’s 1971 flick ‘Asylum of Satan’ -- in which he also helped with make-up effects. Impressed with his acting talents Girdler chose him to star in his next film -- the following year James Pickett achieved horror film icon status in Girdler’s ‘Three on a Meathook’ (1972) playing the sensitive yet psychotic killer Billy Townsend, a character vaguely modeled after the notorious Ed Gein. The next year he gave another great performance as Mac, another insane murderer, in Girdler’s ‘The Zebra Killer’ (1973). After these three films for Girdler, Mr. Pickett never made another film.

Shortly thereafter he moved to Los Angeles where he gained a very different and perhaps more enduring reputation as an award-winning playwright in the gay community, thereafter adopting the name James Carroll Pickett. He was the writer in residence at The Beverly Hills Playhouse. His 1986 play ‘Dream Man’ about a gay phone-sex host was filmed as a theatre-on-video presentation in 1991 starring Michael Kearns. His other plays include the one-man’s night at the baths tour de force ‘Bathhouse Benediction’. Other plays followed. His 1994 play ‘Queen of Angels’ is considered on of the most potent AIDS dramas ever staged.

As an AIDS and gay activist in the theatre community Pickett was the co-founder in 1984 (along with Michael Kearns) of STAGE – The Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event that raised consciousness, understanding, support (and funds) about the disease and helped support AIDS Project Los Angeles. He started the Gay Men’s Writer’s series at A Different Light Bookstore and was also cofounder of Artists Confronting AIDS.

Sadly, this great humanitarian/writer/actor passed away from HIV complications on July 4th, 1994 in Los Angeles.