Harvey Fierstein had a half gallon of Southern Comfort a day

Although Harvey Fierstein didn’t like the taste of alcohol, in the mid-’90s the famous Broadway, television and film entertainer was drinking nearly half a gallon of Southern Comfort a day.

“I hadn’t slept in years,” he wrote in “I Was Better Last Night” (Knopf), his memoir released March 1. “What I did was pass out… I hadn’t had a solid stool in months. My legs hurt almost all the time and he also had gout.

The ‘Torch Song Trilogy’ star writes that he has decided to take his own life.

“I think I was obviously depressed, because alcohol will do that to you,” he told The Post in a recent interview from his home in Connecticut.

“Long term, it takes you down that road to the point where life doesn’t mean anything anymore… I was really there. And I think because of the alcoholism when I went through it, it made everything so much easier because it was a real rebirth. I was able to quit smoking, quit drinking, let go of my kind of will from what I was doing. It was so dark and deep that it was an easy thing to be reborn.

Harvey Fierstein, seen here in 1983 with Barbara Walters, believes a factor in his depression was surviving the AIDS epidemic, which decimated his peer group in the 1980s and 1990s.
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The Brooklyn-born actor and writer, 67, also believes a factor in his depression was surviving the AIDS epidemic, which decimated his peer group in the 1980s and 1990s. He writes that the ‘one of the reasons he never contracted the then deadly virus was because he had stopped having anonymous sex in the fall of 1981, for the most vapid of reasons – he was bored by the mechanics .

“Did I want a [personal] connection? I’m not sure,” he says in the book. “The choice was to stop using sex like another cigarette or another drink, that’s how casual sex had become for me. It had become something to do as opposed to something that’s real.”

When asked if he felt like he dodged a bullet, Fierstein emphatically replied, “Oh, f-king absolutely.”

A young Fierstein protests in Greenwich Village.
A young Fierstein protests in Greenwich Village.
Irene Stein

The multiple Tony winner, who wrote the book for the new Broadway production of ‘Funny Girl,’ starring Beanie Feldstein, said the AIDS crisis “became this kind of slow-action horror movie.

“And then, all of a sudden, you were surrounded,” he recalls. “It was ‘Night of the Living Dead.’ Your friends walked with canes. Handsome, handsome boys wore heavy makeup over their scars, lines in hospitals. Of course, St. Vincent became a big place of AIDS in my mind because there were so many priests with AIDS, so where were they going to go?

“So it only made sense because a Catholic hospital would become their epicenter. It was in the Village, it was a Catholic place, they could treat priests and shut him up. But all the priests I knew were ill.”

The actor won a Tony playing Edna Turnblad in
The actor won a Tony playing Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray!” on Broadway.
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Fierstein can’t even count the number of people he knows who have died of AIDS. “I have no count of how many people I’ve lost,” he added.

Experiencing the “gay plague” has the “Kinky Boots” playwright furious with anti-vaxxers. seen what we’ve been through,” he said. “Don’t you wanna get shot?

“At the time, people were shouting, ‘I don’t put on a condom, we don’t close the baths. We fought for these rights to have free sex. This disease was invented to prevent us from having sex.’

Fierstein (fourth from right) also won a Tony for writing the book by
Fierstein (fourth from right) also won a Tony for writing the book ‘La Cage Aux Folles’, which he also starred in.
Dario Cantatore/WireImage

Fierstein struggled for years in the downtown art scene before writing and starring in “Torch Song Trilogy” in the early ’80s, which also featured a then-unknown Estelle Getty (later Sophia on “Golden Girls”) and a young actor named Matthew Broderick.

These days, Fierstein is busier than ever, with multiple projects underway.

“I have ‘Funny Girl’ opening on Broadway, we’re doing a workshop on another show of mine, and Nick Kroll is creating a TV show for me,” he said, before to note that he was having financial difficulties. In fact, says Fierstein, he felt like he had succeeded when he could afford to buy a box of rubber bands rather than looking for them on the sidewalk.

I was better last night by Harvey Fierstein

But the “Hairspray” star seems a bit disappointed with the current crop of aspiring playwrights and directors.

“What we’re hearing right now is these young artists who want their shooting to create commercial theatre,” he said. “They don’t want their shooting to create theatre. They want jobs that generate lots of money… That’s definitely not the way we were. But it’s their generation. They have the right, don’t they? »


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