Obituaries: Michael Nelson Finn

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday July 6, 2022
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Michael Nelson Finn
Michael Nelson Finn

March 20, 1967 — August 28, 2021

Michael Nelson Finn (March 20, 1967-August 28, 2021) was born in Endicott, New York, and raised in Houston among a family of nationally recognized unicyclists and jugglers. He earned a degree in occupational therapy from Texas Woman's University.

After relocating to San Francisco, Mike became a fixture of the performing arts scene, contributing many memorable performances in the realms of circus, musicals, and camp theater. A true Renaissance man, he was an adept unicyclist, juggler, tap dancer, pianist, singer, musician and comic actor, appearing in stage shows such as "Scalpel," "Three's Company Live," and "Trog," to name a few. He is also featured in the films "Baby Jane?" and "Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte."

He inherited the iconic Victorian mansion at 814 Grove Street from Bill Plath and Dick Rousseau, two pioneers of queer culture who legally adopted him. Nicknamed Finny's Funhouse, it's been home to countless community events and theatrical doings. He was a gracious host to friends and Airbnb guests alike. His sister recalls his joy at befriending icons from his youth, such as Jane Wiedlin and Bauhaus' David J, who composed a musical tribute to Mike that can be viewed on YouTube. ( He was a champion of the arts, a devoted dad to poodles and exotic birds and, most importantly, a good friend who will be very much missed.

He is preceded in death by parents Charles Robert and Emma Kae Finn. He is survived by former partner Russell Zellers, siblings Melissa Henry, Maureen Alvarado and Max Finn, seven nieces and nephews, his poodle Willie Brown, and a legion of admirers and friends.

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