Carrie Preston has been cast as Sally Miller Gearhart in ABC‘s When We Rise mini-series, from Milk writer Dustin Lance Black. As pictured above, Preston stars opposite Patrick Warburton on NBC‘s full nest sitcom, Crowded. Crowded officially premieres on NBC on Sunday, March 20th at 9:30pm, but had an early one hour showing, Monday, March 15th.
Milk director Gus Van Sant is directing the first two hours of When We Rise. He is executive producing with Black, and Milk‘s Bruce Cohen. The historical series features the civil rights battle for LBGT+ people from the 20th century to today. ABC greenlit When We Rise, back in December, 2015.
Deadline describes Preston’s character, Gearhart, as, “…a regal and smart radical, who has had a long career as a gay rights activist.” Gearhart is a historical person, not a fictional character. Here is how her website biography page describes Gearhart’s work in the Gay Rights movement:
Sally left Texas for Kansas in 1969 to follow a lover. Her instincts, a period of study, introspection, and epiphany, and the voice of the times led her to move to San Francisco with a commitment to earn a living driving cabs if necessary in order to be open in her identity as a lesbian. Fortunately for thousands of students, she was hired by San Francisco State University, where she became the first open lesbian to be granted tenure at a major university in the United States—perhaps, indeed, in the world. There, she played a major role in developing one of the first women and gender studies programs in the nation, and the university was the first to develop a course dealing with sex roles and communications under her leadership.
In San Francisco, Sally developed as a writer and political activist. She co-authored Loving Women/Loving Men: Gay Liberation and the Church (1974), channeled The Feminist Tarot (1975), and wrote one of the watershed works of lesbian fiction in the 20th century, The Wanderground, Stories of the Hill Women (1978). She was Harvey Milk’s debate partner, working with him to defeat Proposition Six, the Briggs Initiative that would have banned lesbian and gay teachers and topics in California’s schools. She appeared in her first film, the now-classic Word Is Out (1978) which, with a companion text documented the diverse experiences of gay men and lesbians in the United States.
Through the next decades, Sally continued to work passionately for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, non-human animals, and the environment.
Preston is the first actor announced for When We Rise. As more news breaks, we will let you know.
What do you think? Did you catch Preston as Martina Moore on NBC’s Crowded? Do you plan to check out ABC’s When We Rise mini-series? Tell us!