The first time I saw Merritt, he was wearing a nightgown and had red lipstick smeared across his lips. It was 1987 and I was working on my first feature film in Hollywood , DEATH SPA. Merritt was playing his dead twin sister in the film hence the transvestite getup.
He was in his prime as an actor in the 80's. He starred in a cult TV series, SQUARE PEGS, featuring a young, permed out Sarah Jessica Parker. Merritt even had a Trekkie following since he had played Captain Kirk's son in two Star Trek movies. But I did not know or care about any of that stuff. To me, he was simply one of the most fascinating and beautiful people I had ever met.
As the editing room was directly across Merritt's apartment on Hollywood Blvd, he and I began to spend more and more time together. Soon we were inseparable. Merritt was my first love, my soul mate. We were supposed to spend the rest of our lives together but fate had other plans.
When he was initially turned down to star in the film SHY PEOPLE, Merritt knocked on the editing room door at night with a toothbrush in hand. He was sad that he lost the role ( he ended up getting it when the other actor got sick). He asked me to drive up to Sacramento with him that night to visit his parents. So there we were driving up Highway 5 singing to Joni Mitchell's BLUE album till 5 am. I miss his voice.
Merritt died of Aids on March 17, 1989. He was 29 years old. We were both so young, so full of life.
His last performance was in a LATC play, KING FISH featuring Buck Henry. Time Magazine wrote about Merritt, ' a star in the making'.
And a star you will always be.....
Je t'aime Merritt