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Mar 04 2017
Tommy Page, 1990s Pop Star & Later Out Music Exec, Commits Suicide @ 46 Comments (0)

TommyTommy Page: May 24, 1970—March 3, 2017 (Image via publicity shot)

This is horrible news hot on the heels of that disturbing HuffPost Highline piece on the depression epidemic among gay men: Tommy Page, who became a teen sensation alongside Tiffany and New Kids on the Block in the early '90s, has died at 46, ExtraTV reports, following Michael Musto breaking the news on his Facebook page.

Page reportedly committed suicide. His body was found Friday.

E6b392670e2b6b3496ffcbefe0b1b60fEarly pinup of Page, probably from Tiger Beat

Page was a Nell's coat-check boy who — in a career story similar to that of labemate Madonna's — got his demo played by the club's DJ, leading to a meeting with Sire Records honcho Seymour Stein. He was signed, and I am here to tell you his debut album Tommy Page is one of my all-time favorites. Including the #29 hit ballad “A Shoulder to Cry On,” the record has some of the pop songs to which I will forever be addicted, including these gems: 

Though I was a little too old for him (I was in college), I became obsessed with this record, and I knew immediately he must be gay, judging by these two all-but-coming-out declarations:

But if Page's sexual orientation was being telegraphed by these songs, I have to listen to “Hard to Be Normal” in a new light, considering his later battle with depression and his suicide.

Page's next album, Paintings in My Mind, represented the peak of his success, bearing the #1 smash “I'll Be Your Everything.” He never had another hit, but continued recording for a while before going back to school and re-emerging as an A&R exec for Warner Bros., the parent of his old label Sire.

During this phase of his career, Page worked with acts like Green Day and Alanis Morrissette. I met him when he was working with Charice — the Filipina singer who became overnight-famous thanks to Oprah Winfrey and later came out as gay and as having a male soul — and also a boy band called V Factory. V Factory made an office visit when I ran the teen mag Popstar!, and I was floored to see that their handler was Page.

I told Page how important his album had been to me and encouraged him to perform again, which he did (not saying I influenced that), touring in the Philippines, where to this day he is a huge icon.

6a00d8341c730253ef011571c294f7970bV Factory (Image by Joe Magnani)

What blew me away about Page's office visit was that one of V Factory's members was not only gay, but casually out. I started asking them all the usual girlfriend questions and they quickly made it clear that Nathaniel Flatt was a gay man. I later interviewed him for Towleroad, a highly satisfying Q&A in my career that melded my goody two-shoes teen-mag work with something more meaningful to me.

My Interview with Nathaniel Flatt Here

I always assumed Page's guidance must've been influential in that regard, as he had since been open about being a gay man, a husband and a father.

IMG_0674 copyWith Tommy in 2008 (Image via Matthew Rettenmund)

I was fortunate enough to exchange emails and Facebook messages with Page over the years (he politely turned me down to offer a quote for use in my book on Madonna, noting he'd had a negative experience with her after previously idolizing her) and even noticed his final post, a bleak image of a cold and empty Bryant Park: 

Page is survived by his husband Charlie and their three children.

Keep reading to see how music figures are reacting to Page's shocking death: