Remembering Film Producer/Activist J.D. Disalvatore


JD Disalvatore

J.D. Disalvatore, award-winning film producer, West Hollywood fixture, advocate for lesbian and gay stories and media leadership, crusader for shelter dogs, and all around Amazon shero, died at 51 after, true to character, exceeding a 2-4 month, painful prognosis and living actively with stage IV breast cancer for several years.

Disalvatore’s film credits include mainstream blockbusters like The X-FilesArmageddon, and Dante’s Peak. Her indelible mark was left on lesbian culture with films Elena UndoneGay PropagandaA Marine Story, and Eating Out 2Shelter (2007) won a GLAAD Media Award for best feature film and in 2012 it topped’s 100 Greatest Gay Movies of All Time. Elena Undone, a film about a pastor’s wife and a writer’s taboo love, is available to stream on Netflix.


Her off-the-set contributions to the film and entertainment industry were also deeply valued. In 2009, her work in the LGBT community earned her a LACE Award from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. In March 2017, she won the West Hollywood Women in Leadership Award. She served on the Board of Directors of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. From the late ’90s on, she volunteered for Outfest, a nonprofit that supports all aspects of LGBT filmmaking , including serving as Festival Manager in 1999 and 2000. She also kept a very active blog, The Smoking Cocktail, which chronicled all things LGBT entertainment, and which you should check out for a vintage Jane Lynch interview. She produced a monthly LGBT film networking event, also called the Smoking Cocktail.

The silver fox pictured below looking extremely lovable in her “Make America Gay Again” hat was a dog-loving lesbian who found space in her heart to love cats, rabbits, even chickens, and this inspired her tireless fight to protect all shelter animals. Motivated by her terminal cancer diagnosis, she ramped-up a lifetime of animal advocacy and began producing a documentary about animal shelters and her campaign to make LA a no-kill city. She speaks about her prognosis of 2-4 months, and her mission to use her remaining time fighting for stray animals, in this teaser for her documentary How to Save a Dog. 



She will be remembered and greatly missed by many in the LGBT communities, and beyond.

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