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Dan Savage
Dan Savage at Inforum (9458016311) (cropped to Savage).jpg
Savage at Inforum, 2013
Daniel Keenan Savage

(1964-10-07) October 7, 1964 (age 59)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Other names Keenan Hollahan
Education University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (BFA)
Occupation Author, media pundit, journalist, newspaper editor
Years active 1991–present
Terry Miller
(m. 2005)
Children 1

Daniel Keenan Savage (born October 7, 1964) is an American author, media pundit, journalist, and LGBT community activist. He has also worked as a theater director, sometimes credited as Keenan Hollahan.

Born in Chicago to Roman Catholic parents, Savage attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting. After living in West Berlin from 1988 to 1990, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he befriended Tim Keck, co-founder of The Onion. When Keck moved to Seattle, Washington, Savage moved as well to become an advice columnist for The Stranger, which Keck founded; he had offered Savage the position after Savage wrote a sample column which impressed him.

Outside of his writings and podcasts, Savage has advocated for progressive politics and advancing the rights of LGBT youth. Savage has been featured on numerous television programs and news outlets, including Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Anderson Cooper 360.

Savage's activism and public speaking has brought praise from celebrities and politicians, including former president Barack Obama.

Early life and education

Dan Savage was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Judith "Judy" (née Schneider), who worked at Loyola University, and William Savage Sr. He has German and Irish ancestry. The third of four children, he has two brothers and one sister. Savage was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary North, which he has described as "a Catholic high school in Chicago for boys thinking of becoming priests." Though Savage has stated that he considers himself "a wishy-washy agnostic" and an atheist, he continues to identify as "culturally Catholic".

Savage attended the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he received a BFA in Acting. He lived in West Berlin from late-1988 to 1990.


Savage Love

In 1991, Savage was living in Madison, Wisconsin, and working as a night manager at Four Star Fiction and Video (now Four Star Video Cooperative), a local video store that specialized in independent film titles. He befriended Tim Keck, co-founder of The Onion, who announced that he was moving to Seattle to help start an alternative weekly newspaper titled The Stranger. Savage "made the offhand comment that forever altered [his] life: 'Make sure your paper has an advice column—everybody claims to hate 'em, but everybody seems to read 'em'." Savage wrote a sample column, and to his surprise, Keck offered him the job.


As a theater director, Savage (under the name Keenan Hollohan, combining his middle name and his paternal grandmother's maiden name) was a founder of Seattle's Greek Active Theater.

Letters from the Earth (2003), also at Consolidated Works, was Savage's most recent production. Letters was a trimmed version of Mark Twain's The Diary of Adam and Eve.

Media appearances

Dan Savage at IWU
Speaking at Illinois Wesleyan University, 2007

In addition to writing a weekly column and four books, Savage has been involved in several other projects.

From 1994 until 1997, he had a weekly three-hour call-in show called Savage Love Live on Seattle's KCMU (now KEXP-FM). From 1998 to 2000, he ran the biweekly advice column Dear Dan on the news website

He is now the editorial director of the weekly Seattle newspaper The Stranger, a promotion from his former position as The Stranger's editor-in-chief. Savage stars in Savage U on MTV, contributes frequently to This American Life and Out magazine, and acts as a "Real Time Real Reporter" on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. He has also made multiple appearances on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann and CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, to discuss LGBT political issues.

In 2016, he was the first guest of Twice Removed, a family history podcast hosted by A. J. Jacobs. In the episode, Savage's lineage was traced to Nan Britton, Paul Popham, and others.


The Savage Lovecast is a weekly audio podcast based on the column Savage Love. It is routinely rated as the top podcast in the iTunes "Health" category and in the top 20 of all podcasts overall. A.V. Club listed the show as one of "The best podcasts of 2010" and later as one of "The best podcasts of 2013". The Atlantic listed the show as one of "The 50 Best Podcasts of 2016".

The Real O'Neals

Based on an idea by Savage (who also served as executive producer), the ABC television series, The Real O'Neals, starring Noah Galvin, debuted in 2016. The series chronicles the lives of a close-knit, Irish-American Chicago Catholic family whose matriarch takes their reputation in the community very seriously.

Personal life

Dan Savage marriage at City Hall with Mike McGinn
Dan Savage and Terry Miller's wedding at Seattle City Hall attended by Mayor Mike McGinn on December 9, 2012.

Savage married Terry Miller in Vancouver in 2005. They were married on December 9, 2012, at Seattle City Hall. The couple has a son, whom they adopted as an infant c. 1998.


It Gets Better Project

Dan Savage speaking at google about the it gets better project Victor Grigas IMG 4080
Savage speaking at Google about the It Gets Better Project

On September 21, 2010, Savage founded the It Gets Better Project. As of November 2013, the project had more than 50,000 user-created testimonials and had been viewed over 50 million times.

Local issues

Savage's editorship of The Stranger has established him as a voice in local Seattle politics. His most high-profile commentary has been as an outspoken critic of the Teen Dance Ordinance and other crackdowns on all-ages events.


U.S. politics

Savage at the 5th Avenue High School Musical Theatre Awards, 2006

Savage tends toward liberal political views, with pronounced contrarian and libertarian streaks. Savage frequently mentions political issues in his column. He often encourages readers to get involved and/or voice a positive or negative opinion about a politician or public official.

Other remarks

2010 November 13 Dan Savage and Bill Savage
Dan Savage with his brother, Bill Savage, Northwestern University Senior Lecturer in English (2010)

Savage initially supported the Iraq War and advocated military action against other Middle Eastern states, including Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, one week before the war began, Savage spoke against it, citing the inability of President George W. Bush to form a convincing case and sway the UN and NATO allies. By 2005 he deemed the situation "hopeless" and advocated an immediate troop withdrawal.


In addition to his advice column, Savage has written four books, edited one book, and authored various op-ed pieces in The New York Times.


Year Work Award Organization Result
2011 It Gets Better Project Webby Award for Special Achievement International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Won
Anthony Giffard "Make the Change" Award Master of Communications in Digital Media program, University of Washington Won
2013 It Gets Better Project Bonham Centre Award Won
2013 Advocacy of separation of church and state and work for LGBT youth 2013 Humanist of the Year The American Humanist Association Won

See also

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