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hepclassic

Outed Celebrities.....and those that couldn't.

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Considering the times of which they lived, I cannot imagine how hard it was to be gay and famous. I guess fame was its own protection in that sort of sense. Of the openly gay celebrities of the classic movie era I know, George Cukor, Rock Hudson, and Tallulah Bankhead, there was always the risk regardless, and the celebrities mentioned were protected to a degree because of that. 

 

But there are so many celebrities of that era who were not protected let alone out because of the career and social risks. Monty Woolley, possibly Barbara Stanwyck, possibly Josephine Baker, and the list goes on. Outing them now really has no relevance because they don't have the capacity to speak for themselves. All it is is speculation. It still changes negatively what we see of them. 

 

In this day and age where the repercussions might not be as extreme as it was in the classic movie era and before, and more stars are able to come out and not have their careers go to pots, it is interesting to learn and appreciate those that struggled personally and professionally.

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Cukor's career was never really affected by his private life ( yes I know the rumor that he was fired from "Gone WIth The Wind" because Gable thought he was a "woman's director) Hudson also had a long a prosperous career until his sad end.   Outing dead celebreties sell books-( even when the facts are distorted as in the case of those biography as slash fiction books)

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Outing dead celebreties sell books-( even when the facts are distorted as in the case of those biography as slash fiction books)

 

Yes, but at whose expense? I mean, when you Christina Crawford someone who has passed away, "outing" them without respecting them who should still have the right but don't, it still adds to the scandal of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and cisgender in America. 

 

It may sell the book but not everyone is into slash biographies. It's assumption-peddling. Anthony Mann wrote a book about Katharine Hepburn a few years after she died that implies that Hepburn was truly bisexual, Spencer Tracy was gay, and that she would find men for him to sleep with. 

 

To my knowledge, Hepburn never had issue with people of a different sexual orientation, but none of her relatives had any say in the book, and since they knew her better than anyone, even Spencer Tracy and his family for that matter, it would be hard to twist that acceptance into assumption-as-fact literature. I am glad Mann was disproven countless times since about her and Tracy, but I don't believe everything I read, nor agree with everything I see, let alone agree with everything that caters to my confirmation bias. 

 

Unfortunately we live in an age where people assume and take those assumptions as fact. Unless the stars did in fact come out in their lives and it affected their careers to some degree, there is no reason to pass off gossip over the dead who cannot speak for themselves. Just because Katharine Hepburn wore pants doesn't make her an automatic lesbian. It takes more than clothes wearing to determine one's sexual orientation, and it also takes the person to say so to merit who they are. 

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I really don't believe the Spencer Tracy was gay rumor ( its like in one of those slash fiction biographies in which  Steve McQueen is a prostittue?!) Hepburn was in love with Tracy but she doesn't strike to me the type that would go around setting him up with hustlers ( oh maybe she had Steve McQueen's number ;) )

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I have conflicting feelings about this. Yes, there's some very questionable stuff out there, but overall I think it's a plus that we can now have a fuller picture of the lives (and inner lives) of classic film stars. It wasn't ever just a question of these people not having the personal courage to come out at a time when it automatically branded you as criminal and psychologically defective. It wasn't a topic for polite conversation, either among the general public or in the press. The press itself, with the exception of the more extreme fringe like Confidential in its relatively short run, stayed away from exploring the subject, though they weren't above dropping some rather broad hints. (Certain columnists made innuendo an art form.) But we never would have seen full biographies which dealt with this aspect of people's lives, so it's progress in the right direction that we now can. Even with the very real problem of writers crediting questionable sources or even fabricating completely, I'm interested in knowing more about how these people coped. My own life spans the two eras (at least from the 1950's on), so I'm familiar with the forces which were at work to keep people closeted. I'm not proud of every choice I made in my own life (and I was in no way prominent), which only fuels my curiosity about how people in the public eye negotiated that particular mine field and what effect it may have had on their minds and hearts. Yes, the question of author credibility is a real problem but, personally, I believe that there are still people alive who do have authentic stories to tell about the "hidden" lives of public figures of that day and I would hate to see their authentic stories tarred with the same brush as some of the more unscrupulous writers. 

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I see your point, Dougie- it's just hard to tell whether or not the authors in question verify their sources well, and if they respect the person of whom they are spotlighting. 

 

Heterosexism still runs rampant today, and in our literature, it makes itself known in these biographies. 

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I really don't believe the Spencer Tracy was gay rumor ( its like in one of those slash fiction biographies in which  Steve McQueen is a prostittue?!) Hepburn was in love with Tracy but she doesn't strike to me the type that would go around setting him up with hustlers ( oh maybe she had Steve McQueen's number ;) )

 

While I also find the Tracy was gay rumor hard to believe,  with regards to Hepburn being a certain type of person;  When it comes to Tracy,  Hepburn was a very different person then she was unrelated to Tracy.     While Hepburn was strong and independent when it came to Tracy she was weak.    The relationship survived on his terms not hers.

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While I also find the Tracy was gay rumor hard to believe,  with regards to Hepburn being a certain type of person;  When it comes to Tracy,  Hepburn was a very different person then she was unrelated to Tracy.     While Hepburn was strong and independent when it came to Tracy she was weak.    The relationship survived on his terms not hers.

Still, I don't believe she would hustle men for him to sleep with. Her distanced frustration with Gene Tierney regarding Tracy's affair a decade into their relationship proves that she wouldn't go so far on her person to do that. 

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Still, I don't believe she would hustle men for him to sleep with. Her distanced frustration with Gene Tierney regarding Tracy's affair a decade into their relationship proves that she wouldn't go so far on her person to do that. 

 

Well if Tracy wasn't gay (which is my feeling) why would she need to hustle men for him?  My guess is she wouldn't of hustle men or women for Tracy since she was so in love with him.   It would of crushed her.    But I stand by my point that the Hepburn persona (strong,  independent,  I wear the pants,  etc..),   wasn't the same as it relates to her relationship with Tracy.    Here she was more like a weak smithen school girl,  dealing with an arrogant,  not very nice,  hard drinking man.  

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Hepburn loved Tracy enough to put up with his I can't get a divorce excuse.  People will put up with a lot crap when they are in love.

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Well if Tracy wasn't gay (which is my feeling) why would she need to hustle men for him?  My guess is she wouldn't of hustle men or women for Tracy since she was so in love with him.   It would of crushed her.    But I stand by my point that the Hepburn persona (strong,  independent,  I wear the pants,  etc..),   wasn't the same as it relates to her relationship with Tracy.    Here she was more like a weak smithen school girl,  dealing with an arrogant,  not very nice,  hard drinking man.  

Point taken. It is illogical for someone to peddle that myth when there is no substantial evidence behind it. Anthony Mann might have met an old pimp who may have told him that for his book, but any pimp would say anything for money. Anything. 

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Scotty Bowers' memoir, "Full Service", was quite an unvarnished look into the hidden sex lives of the stars.

 

He set up a stable of good-looking men and women during the Second World War who were in need of money and were quite willing to service the sex carvings of stars who could not be seen in public with them,

 

He also serviced many of these stars himself, like Spencer Tracy who had to get drunk to sleep with a man.

 

He also provided a lot of young men for Cole Porter, who was sexually voracious.

 

The memoir is quite a spellbinding ride through a Golden Era Hollywood that had to remain hidden from the movie-going public. 

 

Scotty-Bowers-in-1944.jpg

 

(Above: Scotty Bowers himself.)

 

scott-and-grant-02.jpg?w=584&h=533

 

(So much of the real Hollywood had to remain hidden.)

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"Full Service" is an amusing memoir and very readable book but I wonder how much is true and how much is fiction. I can believe that the charming Mr Bowers had homosexual encounters with some of Hollywood's gay world but in the book he seems to have sex with all of them?!  The book is fun and would make an interesting raunchy movie- some one should give a copy to James Franco.

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"Full Service" is an amusing memoir and very readable book but I wonder how much is true and how much is fiction. I can believe that the charming Mr Bowers had homosexual encounters with some of Hollywood's gay world but in the book he seems to have sex with all of them?!  The book is fun and would make an interesting raunchy movie- some one should give a copy to James Franco.

Wasn't there supposed to be a sequel?

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