The former Playgirl centerfold who came out as gay and made the 1995 mockumentary Man Of The Year about his experiences, has died. Dirk Shafer was found dead in his car Thursday in West Hollywood, law enforcement officials told Deadline. The model, actor and fitness trainer was 52.
An autopsy likely will be performed in the next few days, sources say. Police identified Shafer by his driver’s license and his family has been notified.
Born on November 7, 1962, in Carbondale, IL, Shafer became an icon in the mid-90s when the 1992 Playgirl Man of the Year announced he was gay to the magazine’s straight female audience. He documented the process and the pressures he was under from all sides to pose as straight and to be honest in Man Of The Year. As well as directing and starring in the pic, Shafer wrote the largely fictionalized account.
In 2001, Shafer made Circuit, a look at the gay party scene. Co-written with Gregory Hinton, the drama won best film at the 2001 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He also appeared on Will & Grace in 2001 playing a character named Blaze. Shafer appeared in another Playgirl centerfold in 2012 to commemorate the 2oth anniversary of his first layout.