"To Absent Friends"
June 29, 1950 - January 21, 2023
It is with a very heavy heart that we pass on the news that Sal Piro, founder and long time president of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Club has passed away. Sal founded the fan club in 1977 and was the defacto face of Rocky Horror fandom for decades.
Sal was instrumental in cultivating the audience participation at screenings starting in the 70s in New York City. He originated the "Give me an R..." chant, spelling R-O-C-K-Y" that is now used to introduce screenings the world over.
He helped spread the cult following worldwide, making Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings a global cultural touchstone. He worked with Lou Adler and got the fan club officially recognized by Twentieth Century Fox, the studio that produced the movie. In the days before the internet Sal kept the fandom up to date on Rocky Horror going-ons via newsletters, and was well known for his personal mail correspondences. He was a key part of Rocky Horror conventions, especially the ones where 20th Century Fox had a hand in producing. In addition to informing the fans of Rocky Horror news at the conventions, he would often bring various Rocky Horror memorabilia items as part of his "Rocky Raffles".
In 1983 he lead the participation that was recorded on the Audience Participation album. He appeared in the movie "Fame" as the Rocky Horror emcee. He made countless television appearances representing Rocky Horror fandom. He had a cameo in the 1981 Rocky Horror sequel "Shock Treatment". He also had a cameo as the wedding photographer in the 2016 Rocky Horror television remake. He wrote several books about Rocky Horror including two volumes of "Creatures of the Night" which chronicled several years of the fandom, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Audience Part-tic-i-pation Guide" with Michael Hess, and "The Rocky Horror Treasury" with Larry Viezel.
Sal was arguably the most well known fan in Rocky Horror history and truly the heart of the entire movement. To say the cult following wouldn't be the phenomenon it is today without him is an understatement. He will be sorely missed.
* Pictures from Aaron Tidwell, Doug Dwyer and others