Netflix Buys Rights to The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Netflix has picked up the worldwide rights for David France’s documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year.


The streaming service announced Friday that it had the rights to the documentary about the LGBTQ icon, which tells the story of her life and untimely death.

Marsha P. Johnson was a drag queen, trans woman and vocal activist for rights in the LGBTQ community, playing a pivotal role in the Stonewall riots of 1969. She, along with Sylvia Rivera, worked together to form the world’s first trans-rights organization, STAR (Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries), in 1970.

In 1992, Johnson’s body was found floating in New York’s Hudson River, and the New York City Police Department initially ruled the death a suicide. However, those who love the powerful icon disagreed with the ruling. In the documentary, France, the director, writer and producer, alongside veteran crime-victim advocate Victoria Cruz, look at what happened to Johnson and the challenges that the trans community still faces today.

“Almost single-handedly, Marsha P. Johnson and her best friend, Sylvia Rivera, touched off a revolution in the way we talk about gender today,” France said, according to Variety. “Their names should be household words. But Marsha’s life was cut tragically short and Sylvia died shortly thereafter, the victim of a broken heart. Getting to know their story through the investigation undertaken by Victoria Cruz, a seminal activist in her own right, has been one of the great honors of my career. Now, with Netflix as our distribution partner, I am confident the legacy of these tremendous women will never be forgotten.”

“Her effervescent spirit and pioneering leadership of the LGBT movement is illuminated with an eloquent force by director David France and is a true testament to the power of documentary films,” Lisa Nishimura, vice president of original documentary programming at Netflix, added, according to The Wrap.

The film will be screened at Outfest in Los Angeles, and the film will launch on Netflix later this year.


News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi


Where are my keys?

Forever in Power, Marsha P Johnson. Glad this was picked up by Netflix.

Trans history podcast One From the Vaults did a great episode about Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, & STAR last year, btw. It’s on Soundcloud or found in your podcast app, if anyone is interested. A great primer on these historical heroines.