New Book Follows the Life of a Young, Closeted TV Anchorman Trying to Make his Way During the Height of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

ATLANTA, Feb. 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Three-time Emmy® award-winning TV news anchorman and best-selling author turned actor Mark Pettit has released his new tell-all memoir ANKRBOY. The book chronicles Pettit’s life as a young, closeted TV newscaster trying to make his way during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

On Tuesday, ANKRBOY became a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, reaching the top spot in two key categories including LGBTQ+ Biographies & Memoirs alongside books from Rachel Maddow, Melissa Etheridge, Elliot Page, and RuPaul.

ANKRBOY is a fictionalized memoir that details Pettit’s meteoric rise and sudden fall in TV news after he is outed as a gay man. In his book, Pettit recalls how losing his job and being shunned by close friends and family sent him down a destructive path of behavior that could have been deadly.

Critical reviews of Pettit’s new book are overwhelmingly positive. BookLife (by Publisher’s Weekly) called it, “Fast-moving, gripping and, at times, heartbreaking.” Independent Book Review said, “You’ll find it near impossible not to smile laugh and even cry alongside (Pettit). Kirkus Reviews called ANKRBOY, “An Engrossing, passionately heartfelt self-portrait of a courageous life in the media spotlight.”

ANKRBOY is now available on and autographed copies of the book can be purchased at

“Writing ANKRBOY has been a painful yet freeing experience,” Pettit said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes and it’s taken me a long time to learn how to live an authentic, happy life,” Pettit continued. “I hope this book helps others struggling to find their way and their voice in what can be a very difficult journey.”

In a shocking passage in the book, Pettit writes about the night the legendary actor, Rock Hudson, died of the then mysterious disease, AIDS in 1985. At the time, Pettit was working for a TV station in Omaha. In the book, he writes about being on a clandestine date with a young, male doctor when Hudson’s death was announced across monitors in a sports bar.

“As the special report ended the entire bar erupted in applause,” Pettit recalls. “I was mortified. I was 22 years old at the time. I thought if they hate Rock Hudson, there’s no way they’ll ever like me.”

This is Pettit’s second best-selling book. His first, A Need to Kill, about Nebraska serial child killer John Joubert has sold more than 125,000 copies around the world.

In the new tome, Pettit talks about his life after TV news and how a simple dinner conversation propelled him to the third act of his life and career: that of an actor and producer. Since becoming a professional actor in 2018 Pettit has appeared in a number of hit TV series and movies including True Detective, Mindhunter, Mr. Mercedes, The Game, Sweet Magnolias, Women of The Movement, They Cloned Tyrone, and Reptile. Pettit is executive producer of and appears in the horror film, The Curse of La Patasola, which was recently named by Screen Rant as the “#1 Best Horror Movie Based on Latin folklore.” The film can currently be seen in North America on STARZ and will soon be available to horror fans around the world.

In addition to completing the book, Pettit also announced that he and his writing partner, AJ Jones, have also completed the manuscript for an ANKRBOY movie.

“We actually wrote the script for the movie before I wrote the full book,” Pettit said. “We only had so much time to tell the story in a movie,” he continued. “Once we finished the manuscript, I knew the larger story had to be told. So, I sat down and banged it out over a six-month period,” he said. “Good stories, as they say, tell themselves.”

Pettit says now that the ANKRBOY book is complete, he can focus on producing the movie.

Members of the media interested in interviewing Mr. Pettit about ANKRBOY should contact Kerrie Levick at [email protected]

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