R.I.P. Dirk Shafer

Actor, writer, director and former Playgirl Man of the Year Dirk Shafer has died. He was 52.MOTY

Shafer rose to prominence when he first posed for Playgirl in 1992. Selected as the magazine’s “Man of the Year” shortly thereafter, he appeared on a number of talk shows including Donahue, The Maury Povich Show and The Jerry Springer Show. Shafer struggled with balancing his professional obligation to appear to be straight for women with his homosexuality, finally coming out publicly toward the end of his reign. He documented that struggle in the 1995 faux-documentary film Man of the Year, which he wrote and directed as well as starred in.

Shafer followed up with his second feature film, Circuit, in 2001. A frank examination of the circuit party scene, Circuit won Best Film at the 2001 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He also appeared in a small role in an episode of Will and Grace.

As of 2008 Shafer was working as a certified Pilates instructor and fitness trainer. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of his reign as Man of the Year, Shafer returned to the pages of Playgirl for a new pictorial in 2012…

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Shafer was found dead in his car near his West Hollywood home on Thursday. An autopsy is scheduled but initial signs point to a heart attack as the cause of death. Our thoughts go out to Shafer’s family and friends.