By David-Elijah Nahmod
From 1986-89, Thom Bierdz was one of the best known and most popular hunks on daytime TV when he played Phillip Chancellor III on the mega-hit soap opera The Young And The Restless.”
The soap star made many hearts swoon, but, unknown to his audience, he was a man with a secret. Bierdz is gay, a fact that he could not reveal during the more conservative ‘80s. Now, three decades later, he comes clean about his sexual exploits – and the sexual shame he once felt – in his new memoir, Young, Gay And Restless: My Scandalous On-Screen and Off-Screen Sexual Liberations.
Now a successful artist living in the California woods, Bierdz uses the book to recall every sexual encounter he ever had, both during his teen years in Wisconsin and throughout his Hollywood life. The book is raw and graphic. The revealing tome is explicit and also humorous. In his conversation with Echo, Bierdz describes it as “Bold, Baby!”
"OMG! The things I say," he added. "Taboo shit no one else will say, no celeb for sure. I just realized an actor would not write that book; it would kill his career. Only an artist would write that — an artist living by his own rules with rescue dogs in a forest hideaway who is no longer interested in trying to fit in."
Bierdz describes the book as "shocking and draw-dropping,” but says that he never slept with anyone for a job in Hollywood.
"Probably because I did sleep with someone for a waiter job in Wisconsin," he said.
In the book, Bierdz does name a few names.
"My biggest concern is hurting people, which is why I actually sought mental help at free clinics in Hollywood," he said. "More on that in the book. So, I changed the names of the people in the book I speak of negatively. But I name stars I had flings with, people like David Geffen, who romanced me at 22. I say nothing bad about Geffen. I know nothing bad about Geffen. He was a nice guy to me. He is in the book to show how many opportunities I encountered. I could have married a billionaire or many millionaires, but I never went for guys with money."
Bierdz reveals that Young Gay And Restless came to be while he was researching a book on sexual assault.
"Two years ago, when women accused Trump of sexual assault, I asked on Facebook what constituted assault, and shared of my own experiences," he recalled. "Other men shared theirs, and I wanted to write a book, How Men REALLY Feel About Being Sexually Assaulted, which is also now available. In writing out my accounts to be a forward to that book, geez, I just wrote nonstop on my own sexual history, 400 pages, maybe 200 men, and that became Young, Gay and Restless.
The author addressed why he made the book so graphic.
"How can you not mention penis?" he asks. "Or balls? And each new body part and sexual act was a learning curve for me. I tried to make it as funny as possible, though. Like in the beginning, I share that, as a kid in the 1960's, before computers, I thought everyone had penises, even my mom and grandmas."
Bierdz has a third book that is being prepared for publication, a book of nudes.
"Titled 100 Black And White Male Nude Prints & 100 Black And White Photos Of The Artist,” he said. "It's an easy book to assemble since I have painted over 100 male nudes in the past and have tons of photos of me in online folders, some from my acting career, most selfies in the mountains here. It will make a great gift because readers can cut out pages of the male nude paintings and prints and frame them in small frames."
Bierdz' current projects are not his first time as an author. In 2009 he published Forgiving Troy, a heartfelt memoir about his mentally ill brother, who murdered their mother with a baseball bat. In that book, Bierdz recounts his very personal journey from shock and fear to forgiveness – he now visits his brother in the prison where Troy currently lives.
"I had to write Forgiving Troy because what I was living was bigger than life," he said. "To be brief, a psychic cowboy ex-boyfriend got a pleading message from my dead mother begging me to go to the prison which housed my schizophrenic brother who killed her. I had to put my life on the line because there was no dividing glass, and my schizo bro was a blackbelt and could finally kill me as he had threatened so many times. Essentially, though, he had rotted to near non-existence the five years he lay on his jail cell floor. For him to receive medication, it had to be requested by a family member. At that point, we’d all disowned him. I guess, via the psychic, my mom sent me. My arrival allowed them to give medication a try. With pills, Troy started to restore to infantile lucidity, and long story short, we had miraculous transformations."
These days, Bierdz lives a quiet and peaceful life.
"Seven years ago, I left my social anxiety and $2,000-a-month apartment in Hollywood for a $1,000, two-story lodge home rental in the mountains of Lake Arrowhead," he said. "This is paradise! I make my living as an artist, usually painting portraits from Facebook leads, I choose my hours, paint to YouTube lectures on consciousness and nutrition. My home looks over 10,000 evergreens and oaks and a lake."
He says he's perfectly comfortable with having written Young, Gay And Restless.
"Very, very few people could be so open in a book because they have too much to lose," he says. "Most men have bosses that say, ‘you can't write that,’ or a husband or children or family members guilting them to silence. I am a free-thinking, alternative, independent artist finally comfortable in his own skin. What anyone else thinks of me is truly none of my business – so I can write the most embarrassing things – because they are honest, amusing, and pertinent to my journey. Is sex still naughty? I ask several times in the book. Is it?"
Young, Gay And Restless: My Scandalous On-Screen and Off-Screen Sexual Liberations is now available at Amazon, as are Bierdz' other books. Autographed copies can be purchased at thombierdz.com.