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Perry Moore, 'Narnia' co-producer and author of novel about gay teen with super powers, dies at 39

Perry Moore, a co-producer of “The Chronicles of Narnia” film series and the author of an award-winning novel about a gay teenager with super powers, has died. He was 39.

Moore was found unconscious in the bathroom of his Manhattan home Thursday. He died later at a hospital, police said. The cause of death will be determined by the city's medical examiner, but no foul play was suspected.

His father, Bill Moore, told the New York Daily News  that an initial autopsy was inconclusive.

Moore had a varied career in television and in film, as producer, screenwriter and director. His 2007 novel, “Hero,” won the Lambda Literary Award for best novel for young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children or adults.

Moore, who was gay, said in an interview on his website that in writing the novel, he had wanted to tell the story of his father, a Vietnam veteran, and his son.

“Like most young people, I grew up feeling alienated and different -- for very specific reasons in my case -- in a place that didn't value differences,” he said. “I also have this borderline-crazy belief in the power of literature to change the universe. So I'd always wanted to tell this story.”

Moore was an executive producer on all three hugely successful “Narnia” films, and authored a bestselling illustrated book for the first film, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” He directed a 2008 drama with Sissy Spacek called “Lake City” and co-directed a documentary about children's book author Maurice Sendak with Hunter Hill and Spike Jonze.

But it was his novel about a super-powered teenager that seemed to focus his passions. With “Hero,” he said he hoped to create a gay superhero who was not, he said, a supporting character, victim or token. “I decided I would write the definitive coming-of-age story of the world's first gay teen superhero,” he said.

It was the death of one of the first prominent gay heroes in the Marvel Comics universe, Northstar, at the hands of X-Men's Wolverine, that spurred him to finish the book. “He slaughtered the X-Men's token gay hero,” Moore said. “I found this story to be disturbing, to say the least.”

He compiled a list of gay characters in comics to show how most were “minor characters, and victims who are tortured, maimed and killed.”

Moore was born in Virginia and majored in English at the University of Virginia, according to his website. He started his career in television at MTV and VH1, then worked for “The Rosie O'Donnell Show.” He later joined Walden Media, the company that produced the films based on C.S. Lewis' “Narnia” books.

-- Associated Press

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