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Handsome men who did not become movie stars

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Grant Williams really is an interesting enigma.

 

He died shortly before Rock Hudson, whose death pretty much started a new trend with actors and actresses "coming out" without as much shame as in the past. Many of these did so in the 1990s when the Clinton administration was more tolerant and many felt that the AIDS epidemic had caused more homophobia than necessary. Their coming out was part of a wider cause.

 

Even if he claimed to be straight, something wasn't quite adjusted in his make-up because he didn't seem any more excited over women than, say, Roddy McDowall. Actually McDowall would have been a good role model for him, keeping his private life discrete but also not being a huge constantly-in-the-public star who had to worry about his private life. Not that McDowall did all that much and biographers are still debating whom all he was intimate with due to all of the "we don't kiss and tell". He was quite happy wearing the ape costumes in Planet of the Apes and providing voice-work to animated cartoons of Chuck Jones, so he was still successful in his career without interviewers constantly bombarding him with "when are you getting married" questions.

 

My impression after reading up on him is that both his religion and his military training were at play here. He was very disciplined and loved a lot of structure. Maybe he was OK not acting on any physical desires if they weren't of the "norm". It is tempting to think he experimented a little in his youth, but felt he "sinned" and would not try it again. Or maybe, he favored women more than men but was way too nitpicky. Maybe he remained a virgin? Not that it matters, since many people lead very successful lives staying virgins. It is only a state of mind that you are either comfortable or uncomfortable with. After all, not everybody has tried scuba diving either and, like sex, it may not be that big of a deal.

 

Ramon Novarro was a devout Catholic who was, of course, outed after his death, but he "compartmentalized" his faith and his physical desires separately in a rather intriguing way as profiled in Andre Soares' excellent Beyond Paradise. Novarro's biggest vice was his alcoholism, which prompted him to be less discrete and careless in his final years. That is how the two hustlers took advantage of him and killed him.

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Ramon Novarro was a devout Catholic who was, of course, outed after his death, but he "compartmentalized" his faith and his physical desires separately in a rather intriguing way as profiled in Andre Soares' excellent Beyond Paradise. Novarro's biggest vice was his alcoholism, which prompted him to be less discrete and careless in his final years. That is how the two hustlers took advantage of him and killed him.

 

And we should also factor in culture. The Latino gay community is a bit different than other ethnic communities when it comes dealing with sexual identity. I don't mean different in a negative way-- just different-- so Novarro's struggles were obviously unique to him and his own particular background.

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Grant Williams really is an interesting enigma.

 

He died shortly before Rock Hudson, whose death pretty much started a new trend with actors and actresses "coming out" without as much shame as in the past. Many of these did so in the 1990s when the Clinton administration was more tolerant and many felt that the AIDS epidemic had caused more homophobia than necessary. Their coming out was part of a wider cause.

 

Even if he claimed to be straight, something wasn't quite adjusted in his make-up because he didn't seem any more excited over women than, say, Roddy McDowell. Actually McDowell would have been a good role model for him, keeping his private life discrete but also not being a huge constantly-in-the-public star who had to worry about his private life. Not that McDowell did all that much and biographers are still debating whom all he was intimate with due to all of the "we don't kiss and tell". He was quite happy wearing the ape costumes in Planet of the Apes and providing voice-work to animated cartoons of Chuck Jones, so he was still successful in his career without interviewers constantly bombarding him with "when are you getting married" questions.

 

My impression after reading up on him is that both his religion and his military training were at play here. He was very disciplined and loved a lot of structure. Maybe he was OK not acting on any physical desires if they weren't of the "norm". It is tempting to think he experimented a little in his youth, but felt he "sinned" and would not try it again. Or maybe, he favored women more than men but was way too nitpicky. Maybe he remained a virgin? Not that it matters, since many people lead very successful lives staying virgins. It is only a state of mind that you are either comfortable or uncomfortable with. After all, not everybody has tried scuba diving either and, like sex, it may not be that big of a deal.

 

Ramon Novarro was a devout Catholic who was, of course, outed after his death, but he "compartmentalized" his faith and his physical desires separately in a rather intriguing way as profiled in Andre Soares' excellent Beyond Paradise. Novarro's biggest vice was his alcoholism, which prompted him to be less discrete and careless in his final years. That is how the two hustlers took advantage of him and killed him.

I watched Roddy McDowall recently in two "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" episodes.

 

He was quite obviously - now - a sexually-active gay man.

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And we should also factor in culture. The Latino gay community is a bit different than other ethnic communities when it comes dealing with sexual identity. I don't mean different in a negative way-- just different-- so Novarro's struggles were obviously unique to him and his own particular background.

 

Because he was a major bread earner in his family, they turned a blind eye to certain things. He was very good at managing his money and remained fairly wealthy, enough to not have to do any acting in the 1950s and only return to a few TV appearances the following decade. The Ferguson brothers thought they could rob him successfully, but he didn't leave a lot of idle cash laying around. They were Catholic too and the older brother used his religious based homophobia in his defense at court (as if it really mattered considering all of his own sexual exploits pre-Novarro).

 

Off topic, although I discussed this before on this messageboard in the past:

 

I always found it interesting that Midnight Cowboy was filmed in 1968 just prior to Novarro's death (although a few retakes might have occurred after). There is a key scene with Jon Voight's Joe strangling a devout and closeted Catholic sixty-something businessman in his hotel. He was trying to remain "good" in his eyes and didn't go through with it, but Joe needed extra money to get Dustin Hoffman's Rico to Miami and was in a state of desperation. Not that fiction matched reality here exactly, but I always felt that timing was important. The movie opened in theaters in May 1969 and the Ferguson bothers trial started in July, with the Stonewall uprising in-between. The movie in particular was a snapshot of pre-Stonewall urban gay life, which Hollywood had no problem awarding at that time. (Unlike all of the skittishness with Brokeback Mountain later, which could be repeated this month with Moonlight as well.) Four "types" featured: Joe the Hustler who mostly chased women and insisted he was no more gay than John Wayne (and Brenda Vacarro knew exactly what word would get a rise out of him), the seemingly self-confident cross-dresser (and they were the ones openly defiant at Stonewall later since they already were considered outcasts and had nothing to lose), the teenager not wanting his mother to find out and the middle aged business man dealing with his religious issues. (The same openly gay director made Sunday Bloody Sunday next, which showed what a difference just two years made, in addition to the Brits being a lot more comfortable with it than Americans overall.)

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I added some modern stars on purpose. I am at the age where I find both classic stars (Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster) and modern stars (Chris Hemsworth, Matt Bomer) attractive. A classic film fan can also like NCIS: Los Angeles. Just sayin'.

 

I like both classic and modern films and actors, as well as NCIS: LA.  I love Matt Bohmer and quite a few others.  Guys like Chris Hemsworth and Channing Tatum are too young for me, and although the young Tyrone Power and Alain Delon are described as "pretty" sometimes, I find that "prettiness" more apparent in young blond men, and it doesn't appeal to me. I guess I like what used to be called the "heroic" look - which was the old movie star look - dark hair, handsome, smooth, that sort of man.  Though I do like young Marlon Brando's looks.  

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I like both classic and modern films and actors, as well as NCIS: LA.  I love Matt Bohmer and quite a few others.  Guys like Chris Hemsworth and Channing Tatum are too young for me, and although the young Tyrone Power and Alain Delon are described as "pretty" sometimes, I find that "prettiness" more apparent in young blond men, and it doesn't appeal to me. I guess I like what used to be called the "heroic" look - which was the old movie star look - dark hair, handsome, smooth, that sort of man.  Though I do like young Marlon Brando's looks.  

Alain Delon had such sexual charmisa for me

 

I remember his staircase entrance in "Borsalino".

 

The movie audience clapped.

 

I was blown away, too.

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Another take on him:

http://neptsdepths.blogspot.com/2010/09/incredibly-shrinking-career.html

 

Williams departure from the world of TV and movies has always been something of a mystery, not because he was a huge star, but because he was an actor who generally received good reviews for his work and seemed to have the right ingredients to have at least as successful career as some of his less talented peers who fared better.

 

He always denied that there was any friction with the studio chiefs, having never rejected a role or gone on suspension (perhaps he should have turned down a couple of those parts along the way!) Other accounts claim that he was a victim of homophobia, he being a lifelong bachelor who was rarely seen on dates whether for publicity or otherwise. For his part, he staunchly denied this. A devout Catholic, he stated that he would never even portray a homosexual (though there have been a lot of homosexuals who wouldn’t play one!)

Sounds like the lady did protest too much...

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And we should also factor in culture. The Latino gay community is a bit different than other ethnic communities when it comes dealing with sexual identity. I don't mean different in a negative way-- just different-- so Novarro's struggles were obviously unique to him and his own particular background.

Latino culture is extremely macho- it can not even conceive of a masculine gay man- gay men have to be effeminate and usually have a very tough time growing up - the Catholic guilt angle doesn't help either

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Because he was a major bread earner in his family, they turned a blind eye to certain things. He was very good at managing his money and remained fairly wealthy, enough to not have to do any acting in the 1950s and only return to a few TV appearances the following decade. The Ferguson brothers thought they could rob him successfully, but he didn't leave a lot of idle cash laying around. They were Catholic too and the older brother used his religious based homophobia in his defense at court (as if it really mattered considering all of his own sexual exploits pre-Novarro).

 

Off topic, although I discussed this before on this messageboard in the past:

 

I always found it interesting that Midnight Cowboy was filmed in 1968 just prior to Novarro's death (although a few retakes might have occurred after). There is a key scene with Jon Voight's Joe strangling a devout and closeted Catholic sixty-something businessman in his hotel. He was trying to remain "good" in his eyes and didn't go through with it, but Joe needed extra money to get Dustin Hoffman's Rico to Miami and was in a state of desperation. Not that fiction matched reality here exactly, but I always felt that timing was important. The movie opened in theaters in May 1969 and the Ferguson bothers trial started in July, with the Stonewall uprising in-between. The movie in particular was a snapshot of pre-Stonewall urban gay life, which Hollywood had no problem awarding at that time. (Unlike all of the skittishness with Brokeback Mountain later, which could be repeated this month with Moonlight as well.) Four "types" featured: Joe the Hustler who mostly chased women and insisted he was no more gay than John Wayne (and Brenda Vacarro knew exactly what word would get a rise out of him), the seemingly self-confident cross-dresser (and they were the ones openly defiant at Stonewall later since they already were considered outcasts and had nothing to lose), the teenager not wanting his mother to find out and the middle aged business man dealing with his religious issues. (The same openly gay director made Sunday Bloody Sunday next, which showed what a difference just two years made, in addition to the Brits being a lot more comfortable with it than Americans overall.)

"Midnight Cowboy" is a bromantic melodrama- Joe and Rico care about each other but one can't really imagine them as lovers- the two guys in "Brokeback Mountain" has a sexual relationship which is why some in Hollywood might have a problem with the film.  the studio is not selling "Moonlight" as gay film- but as a drama about a young black man dealing with a drug epidemic- like I've said before the young man is not only gay but the only love scene is between two men.

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I like both classic and modern films and actors, as well as NCIS: LA.  I love Matt Bohmer and quite a few others.  Guys like Chris Hemsworth and Channing Tatum are too young for me, and although the young Tyrone Power and Alain Delon are described as "pretty" sometimes, I find that "prettiness" more apparent in young blond men, and it doesn't appeal to me. I guess I like what used to be called the "heroic" look - which was the old movie star look - dark hair, handsome, smooth, that sort of man.  Though I do like young Marlon Brando's looks.  

Tyrone Power was a beautiful man. Another one who was always beautiful that is hardly ever mentioned is Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The elder Fairbanks, while a good actor, wasn't very attractive. I don't know what his mother looked like, but Jr must have gotten his good looks from her.

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Alain Delon had such sexual charmisa for me

 

I remember his staircase entrance in "Borsalino".

 

The movie audience clapped.

 

I was blown away, too.

The only one of those heartthrobs from the late 50's I find attractive is Troy Donahue. God, he was gorgeous!

 

I don't really know that much about Alain Delon, so I can't comment about him. I only know Tab Hunter as one of Anthony Perkins' ex-boyfriends.

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Latino culture is extremely macho- it can not even conceive of a masculine gay man- gay men have to be effeminate and usually have a very tough time growing up - the Catholic guilt angle doesn't help either

 

I know from a doctor that you can never, ever say they are gay to them. They are extremely homophobic even though they have sex with men.

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"Midnight Cowboy" is a bromantic melodrama- Joe and Rico care about each other but one can't really imagine them as lovers- the two guys in "Brokeback Mountain" has a sexual relationship which is why some in Hollywood might have a problem with the film.  the studio is not selling "Moonlight" as gay film- but as a drama about a young black man dealing with a drug epidemic- like I've said before the young man is not only gay but the only love scene is between two men.

 

Yes I know that. Cue the famous scene with Joe being upset about his boots being taken off. Allegedly there was an initial plan to make them more than Platonic friends in the early script stages. My intention was just to reflect how "character types" were presented.

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Yes I know that. Cue the famous scene with Joe being upset about his boots being taken off. Allegedly there was an initial plan to make them more than Platonic friends in the early script stages. My intention was just to reflect how "character types" were presented.

Joe and Ricco do not have sex which makes them more appealing to a wider audience

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I know from a doctor that you can never, ever say they are gay to them. They are extremely homophobic even though they have sex with men.All

All Latino men are not "extremely homophobic".   Macho culture does not tolerate homosexual relationship- specially if the men are not effeminate - it also reflects their treatment of women as passive sex objects.  In recent times Latino culture has become a bit more tolerant of gay men- but it still takes a lot of courage to be out and proud in Latin American Country.

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Yeah, that movie was very, very cautious. Even in the darkened movie theater, we see Joe fantasizing about a woman (a past gal-pal) kissing him instead of the teen boy. Joe goes out of his way to avoid a fate-worse-than-death. Also we are to forgive him from strangling the second guy even though nothing at all happened there apart from being told how handsome he is.

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Yeah, that movie was very, very cautious. Even in the darkened movie theater, we see Joe fantasizing about a woman (a past gal-pal) kissing him instead of the teen boy. Joe goes out of his way to avoid a fate-worse-than-death. Also we are to forgive him from strangling the second guy even though nothing at all happened there apart from being told how handsome he is.

Joe is suppose to be a tragic character and a beautiful looser- I imagine than when he ended up in prison perhaps he finally met a man who made him happy ;)

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Joe is suppose to be a tragic character and a beautiful looser- I imagine than when he ended up in prison perhaps he finally met a man who made him happy ;)

 

Naww. He told Ratzo... Rico, I mean... that he wasn't cut out to be a hustler but was thinking of some sort of outdoor construction work. This will give him further bro-bonding opportunities with fellow shirtless guys suffering in the Miami heat.

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All Latino men are not "extremely homophobic".   Macho culture does not tolerate homosexual relationship- specially if the men are not effeminate - it also reflects their treatment of women as passive sex objects.  In recent times Latino culture has become a bit more tolerant of gay men- but it still takes a lot of courage to be out and proud in Latin American Country.

I'm only going by what a doctor said, and my experiences in Los Angeles. I have a friend who likes Latin men so I've met a lot of them. The doctor said in his experience in discussing, for instance, AIDS or an STD with them, they become quite angry at any implication that they are gay, even though they are gay or bisexual. I should not have generalized because of course that isn't true of all Latino men, obviously.

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I'm only going by what a doctor said, and my experiences in Los Angeles. I have a friend who likes Latin men so I've met a lot of them. The doctor said in his experience in discussing, for instance, AIDS or an STD with them, they become quite angry at any implication that they are gay, even though they are gay or bisexual. I should not have generalized because of course that isn't true of all Latino men, obviously.

In Latino culture there is as a lot of down low relationship - men who get married and have gay lovers on the side

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Timothy Hutton really earned his Oscar for "Ordinary People"

 

Agree. He's great in that film.

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