Jonathan Larson dated his girlfriend Susan before his death. He also dated cinematographer Victoria Leacock during their time together in college. Jonathan was never married and here are all the relationship details you need to know about the playwright.
Rent is one of the most successful plays to ever be put on Broadway. With a gross of over $280 million and critical acclaim aplenty, the play is considered to be one of the greatest ever, same goes for the playwright Jonathan Larson who died before the first off-broadway showing of Rent. In the past 26 years, two plays written by Jonathan have gone under production and numerous awards have been given to him posthumously. Now, his life is the focus of the Netflix movie Tick, Tick… Boom!
Born on 4 February 1960 to his parents Allan and Nanette Larson, in White Plains, New York, Jonathan was exposed to music and performance arts from a young age. Growing up he listened to a lot of rock music, Rock & Roll was getting its shine during the time and some big name bands later ended up inspiring adult Jonathan’s career. But no one became more of an inspiration than Stephen Sondheim for him.
Living in New York and hoping to make it in the theatre scene, Jonathan worked on his rock play that played with themes of homophobia, addiction, and multi-culture mix that is New York City. All of these themes shone through in his work and even most of his real life experiences were part of the characters he created. That is also where his girlfriend comes in and we have got all the details for you.
Jonathan Larson Dated Victoria Leacock During Their Time in Adelphi University
All the influences growing up and starring in high school plays resulted in Jonathan Larson getting a scholarship to attend the Adelphi Universsity. He received a full 4-years scholarship as an acting major and during his time there Jonathan honed his acting as well as writing talents. It was known that Larson was talented but everyone is talented, the great ones know how to use their talent and turn it into a livable career.
During his time in Adelphi University, in his senior year, Jonathan Larson met 17-year-old Victoria Leacock for the first time. She was a freshman and he was a senior and they just got attracted to one another. He was affectionate, passionate and caring while she was loving, exotic and bohemian, something Jonathan appreciated and liked a lot about her.
Jonathan Larson and his girlfriend Victoria Leacock met for the first time in September 1981. He was performing as Christ in the college adaptation of Godspell and while he was on stage, that was the first time Victoria saw Jonathan. “I fell instantly in love. Even though I’d been going to Studio 54 since I was 14 and there wasn’t much in life that I hadn’t tried, Jonathan was the first man I loved,” she explained her attraction.
“He appreciated my belief in him. Also because I was exotic. I wore kabuki makeup and unusual clothes. He also enjoyed my approach to life. For example, when I threw birthday parties I wanted an eclectic crowd and I invited my dry cleaner, a movie star and the guys from my deli, and Jonathan loved that,” Victoria detailed Jonathan attraction towards her.
While she also explained why it was easy for her to fall in love with the playwright. She said, “He was funny, articulate, and had strong opinions. Some people might say he was opinionated. I’d say he just was self confident. He knew he had talent, and he did, so that wasn’t being cocky.”
But the relationship was not meant to last, as their clashing ideologies and lifestyles created a chasm that became too large to surmount. He was focused on making a career as a playwright, getting on the Broadway. As Jonathan’s girlfriend explained, he was one track minded, too focused on his work to ever bother to ask about her career and work. She wanted to be a cinematographer and he never showed an interest in her professional life, something that caused a huge bust-up between the two and spelled the end of their relationship.
Though they broke up, Victoria and Jonathan remained friends. She was a confidant who looked over his work and acted as a sounding board for Jonathan’s ideas. They formed a formidable relationship that was above boyfriend and girlfriend and even after the Rent writer’s death, Victoria made sure she got him as much exposure as possible. Jonathan’s college girlfriend ended up being a producer of tick…tick… Boom! as it was showcased for the first time in 2001.
Jonathan Larson Dated Girlfriend Susan Before His Death
The relationship between Jonathan Larson and his girlfriend, Victoria, was short lived but even after all that they remained friends and Larson went on to have other relationships. But the one that lasted the longest was his time with Susan. The couple was together for few years, she was a dancer turned teacher while he was a starving artist trying to get his plays adapted on a stage.
In the movie Tick, Tick… Boom!, Susan is played by Alexandra Shipp. We are not certain about the couple’s relationship as Susan is not as visible as Victoria but she was mentioned as Jonathan’s girlfriend by NY Times. Her story has also been detailed in the new Netflix movie. During the tick…tick… Boom! play Susan is shown getting ready to leave during Jonathan’s 30th birthday. She gifts him a stack of manuscript paper and leaves, though we are not certain if the two were together till his death.
How Did Jonathan Larson Die? AIDS and Gay Rumors Explained!
Jonathan Larson was found dead on 25 January 1995, he was few days shy of his 36th birthday and the night of his death, Jonathan had the first off-Broadway showing of Rent. He was found dead in the morning, few days before his death, Jonathan went to see the doctor and detailed having chest pains and shortness of breath. The doctors misdiagnosed it as either flu or stress. Instead, Jonathan Larson’s cause of death was later revealed to be Marfan syndrome.
The syndrome caused an aortic aneurysm which resulted in Jonathan Larson’s death. But soon after the news of his untimely demise, the talk around his death was rife with AIDS rumors. The playwright talked about AIDS in his plays and people drew some comparisons. Also, 3 of Jonathan’s close friends tested positive and later died with AIDS which contributed to the rumors.
Even more so the fact that Jonathan’s friend Pam, with whom the playwright had a sexual relationship with, died of AIDS, sent the rumors to overdrive. Jonathan Larson’s girlfriend Victoria detailed during an interview that Pam tested positive which caused Jonathan to get tested as well, but it did not come back positive. So, no, Jonathan Larson did not have AIDS and that was not his cause of death. Also, considering the numerous girlfriends he had, it is safe to say Jonathan Larson was not gay.
Jonathan Larson is the Subject of the Netflix Film Tick, Tick… Boom!
Before his death, Jonathan Larson wrote his book Tick, Tick… Boom! and the same book is the source for the new Netflix movie. Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the story follows Jonathan Larson, played by Andrew Garfield, as he struggles to get his play made into a theatre production. The book and the movie details a struggling artist who is working as a server to support himself while holding out dream to be someone.
The movie came into being in 2018 with Imagine Entertainment with Lin-Manuel Miranda attached to direct. Miranda had previous acted in Rent and being a theatre nerd, he was familiar with Jonathan’s work. So, the stars aligned and by 2019 Netflix came onboard as it purchased the distribution rights of the movie and Andrew Garfield signed on to be in the film as the lead. After COVID delays and release window shuffle, Tick, Tick… Boom! was released in a few theaters and made available for streaming via Netflix on 19 November 2021.