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hepclassic

Stars With A Following

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Call me stereotypical for writing this on Barbra Streisand's birthday- but I've often wondered how certain stars, particularly classic movie stars, have been typed to the GLBT community, and like a double-edged sword it helps and hurts. 

 

I for one am drawn to the artistry of Judy Garland, Cher, Barbra Streisand, and Liza Minnelli, and I think it is because their music is so honest and real and unafraid. Sure, there was plenty of personal struggles to be oneself amid professional and personal adversities, and that makes an ability to relate factor into why they are the GLBT standard singers to follow. 

 

But, I also like their artistry because of the discipline they had/have. I like them for what they were brave enough to say. I think that if I wasn't who I am, I would still be drawn to their music and films. 

 

There are stars in our sky that usually appear with a rainbow or under the rainbow- and it is a complexity to love what is typed against. It shouldn't be revolutionary to be in the GLBT community and love Streisand and Rihanna at the same time.

 

Streisand, Garland, Cher, and Minnelli only make a microcosm of my musical tastes, which is pretty eclectic- but sometimes, I tire of the assumption that because I'm GLBT that I should like them anyway. My love of their artistry is not conducive to my sexual orientation.

 

Is my love of classic films related to my sexual orientation too? I don't know many GLBT individuals who know who Katharine Hepburn is, or Rock Hudson for that matter. At least those younger than me, and I'm in my late 20s.

 

I don't know what to make of this sword- all I know is that I don't want to be cut, but I also need the defense because the music and films empower me.  

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As a gay man, I am very attracted to strong women on the screen - Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and Marlene Dietrich.

 

They are usually - a force to be reckoned with.

 

Their personal lives interest me, too.

 

Again, as a gay man, I am very attracted to men that were gay in real life - Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins, Tab Hunter, George Nader and Sal Mineo.

 

Again, their personal lives interest me, too.

 

Interestingly, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and Marlene Dietrich had screen personalities that mixed with masculine traits.

 

Again, Interestingly, Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter had unusually masculine presences on the screen.

 

Anthony Perkins was a very attractive mixture of the masculine and the feminine.

 

Sal Mineo had more of an exotic appeal.

 

 

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There's no shame in being drawn to any of the women you mentioned. They all were successful against the odds, and basically on their own terms. I think you're right that it accounts for a relatability factor with LGBT people, who at least to some degree have the odds against them. It's interesting that all of the women mentioned have had simultaneous film and recording/concert careers; all have made their mark as both actresses and singers. Maybe it's something that appeals to the hairbrush singer in most of us? I'm way older than you, so it's also interesting to me that it seems to be such an enduring phenomenon.

 

I take your point that there may be an unwelcome expectation that you're a fan just because you're gay. In my time I think there may have been an unwelcome expectation that all gay men could do a Bette Davis impersonation at the drop of a hat. But I think the public makes these associations because we've made them first and our reasons for doing so are the ones you've mentioned, the artistry and discipline of these women.  

 

Bottom line is that you shouldn't worry about it, and you especially shouldn't think about "if I wasn't who I am". You obviously have a range of tastes, which is something to be proud of, regardless of the obliviousness of some around you to historical points of reference. Of course you can love Streisand and Rhianna. When I was your age I loved Judy Garland and Patti Smith, two very different performers who nonetheless shared the "artistry and discipline" you spoke of. (To underscore the difference, I'm reminded of an incident I witnessed at a Patti Smith concert. A young man ran to the stage and laid a big bunch of roses on it. When he left, Patti nonchalantly walked to the edge of the stage and kicked the roses off, commenting "I don't like a bunch of s..t on my stage, guys." I loved that as much as I would have loved seeing Judy pick up and embrace the roses.)

 

We love what and whom we love, right? The "reasons" are all secondary.

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I think that the artistry and discipline of certain female stars are very attractive to gay men.

 

That, and the fact that they managed to survive and became, in the process, superstars.

 

And many of these women were rumored to be bisexual.

 

Greta Garbo is a prime example here.

 

The hidden lives of certain male stars, who were secretly gay, is an intriguing factor in the trajectory of their careers.

 

As you watch their films and follow their careers - over the years - you wonder about all the difficulties that they encountered and survived.

 

It could not have been easy.

 

Cary Grant is a prime example here.

 

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When it comes to movies, I do find myself drawn to actresses who were not traditionally feminine in their screen personas and often their personal life. Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis especially. 

 

When it comes to men, I always took issue with the hypermasculinity of John Wayne because it was always proving something with him. He could only be a "man" if proving to some woman or person of color that he was better than them. 

 

I liked actors with strong conciousness- like Henry Fonda, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier- because the only thing they had to prove was a point about us all and our socialized behaviors and even as deep as our natures. While personally they might not have been completely comfortable in their own skin (Fonda and Tracy especially), they put human rights on the forefront of their dramatic arcs. 

 

I have many more I can list, but I think if you are looking to find oppressive, traditional values in classic films, you will find men moving forward and challenging the concepts of sensitivity, and you will find women challenging the concept of feminine by being rough around the edges. 

 

I can see why there are GLBT followings for a couple of those that I mentioned, but I also see so much ambiguity in performance that surprises me. 

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I agree, actors and actresses who challenged the concept of masculinity and femininity are so very interesting - and so very attractive - to me.

 

Anthony Perkins should be really re-discovered - he has so much post-modern appeal.

 

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I agree, actors and actresses who challenged the concept of masculinity and femininity are so very interesting - and so very attractive - to me.

 

Anthony Perkins should be really re-discovered - he has so much post-modern appeal.

I had a boss who held hands with Anthony Perkins once, in the 1960s.  My boss was looking for a tie on one of those old-fashioned revolving tie racks, on a counter in Lord & Taylor's in New York City. As he was twirling the thing around, he felt another hand on his. Tony Perkins was doing the same thing from the other side of the rack. 

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I had a boss who held hand with Anthony Perkins once, in the 1960s.  My boss was looking for a tie on one of those old-fashioned revolving tie racks, on a counter in Lord & Taylor's in New York City. As he was twirling the thing around, he felt another hand on his. Tony Perkins was doing the same thing from the other side of the rack.

Your boss was one lucky man!

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I think this leads to an interesting new point in discussion- classic movie stars that didn't mind their following, particularly GLBT. 

 

There is evidence that Judy Garland didn't mind having a gay following. 

 

 

I am sure there are others that could be un-suppressed. I am sure Joan Crawford and Bette Davis HAD to be aware of their followings. 

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I think this leads to an interesting new point in discussion- classic movie stars that didn't mind their following, particularly GLBT. 

 

There is evidence that Judy Garland didn't mind having a gay following. 

 

 

I am sure there are others that could be un-suppressed. I am sure Joan Crawford and Bette Davis HAD to be aware of their followings. 

Would Rock Hudson have been aware that he had a large gay following?

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Would Rock Hudson have been aware that he had a large gay following?

Really?  I never thought of Hudson as either a gay icon or a gay lust object- of course we now know that he did plenty of gay lusting himself :)

Going back to the original subject I think gay for some reason are drawn to diva leading ladies- perhaps it's their larger than live persona or the way they took charge of the world in their films- think of Davis, Marlene, Garland, Streisand  and Minelli-

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Really?  I never thought of Hudson as either a gay icon or a gay lust object- of course we now know that he did plenty of gay lusting himself :)

Going back to the original subject I think gay for some reason are drawn to diva leading ladies- perhaps it's their larger than live persona or the way they took charge of the world in their films- think of Davis, Marlene, Garland, Streisand  and Minelli-

Yes, I do think that a lot of people did know that Rock Hudson was, secretly, a gay man.

 

When I was a teenager, I can remember meeting a really cute guy in a car lot, of all places, who told me that he had a long telephone conversation with Rock Hudson.

 

He said that Rock Hudson told him, "I love your voice".

 

Yes, gays and divas go together, I think.

 

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Yes, I do think that a lot of people did know that Rock Hudson was, secretly, a gay man.

 

When I was a teenager, I can remember meeting a really cute guy in a car lot, of all places, who told me that he had a long telephone conversation with Rock Hudson.

 

He said that Rock Hudson told him, "I love your voice".

 

Yes, gays and divas go together, I think.

 

 

With regards to Hudson; Do you mean 'back in the day' when he was a major star or today?    I assume 'back in the day' most people did NOT know.    Only going by the few remaining people like my mom and dad that were around 'back in day' I'm sure they didn't know.    They didn't even wish to think about this being homophobic and all.

 

As for this overall topic;  I assume one primary reason gay men like certain stars is because they like certain genres like musicals.  i.e. the stars they liked tend to be the stars of musicals;  Garland, Streisand,  etc.. 

 

A few decades ago I had a guy I worked with over to my apartment.   I knew he was gay but of course that didn't matter to me.  Well he saw my wall of movie star photos and I had one of Garland,  Dietrich, Davis et all.   Later on he made a pass at me.  I told him I didn't swing that way but I asked him why he assumed I might.    He said 'well I don't know any other men with pictures of Judy on their wall that aren't gay'.  We both laughed at this and continued to associate.  

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With regards to Hudson; Do you mean 'back in the day' when he was a major star or today?    I assume 'back in the day' most people did NOT know.    Only going by the few remaining people like my mom and dad that were around 'back in day' I'm sure they didn't know.    They didn't even wish to think about this being homophobic and all.

 

As for this overall topic;  I assume one primary reason gay men like certain stars is because they like certain genres like musicals.  i.e. the stars they liked tend to be the stars of musicals;  Garland, Streisand,  etc.. 

 

A few decades ago I had a guy I worked with over to my apartment.   I knew he was gay but of course that didn't matter to me.  Well he saw my wall of movie star photos and I had one of Garland,  Dietrich, Davis et all.   Later on he made a pass at me.  I told him I didn't swing that way but I asked him why he assumed I might.    He said 'well I don't know any other men with pictures of Judy on their wall that aren't gay'.  We both laughed at this and continued to associate.  

"Back in the day", rumors were flying all over about Rock Hudson's sexual orientation.

 

"Confidential" Magazine had already prepared a lengthy expose - and it was going to be published, too.

 

His agent, Henry Willson was a very powerful man in Hollywood.

 

With the help of Universal-International, he managed to "kill" the story.

 

And then he arranged a quickie marriage with one of his secretaries, Phyllis Gates.

 

U-I threw a bone to "Confidential" Magazine with a story about Rory Calhoun.

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"Back in the day", rumors were flying all over about Rock Hudson's sexual orientation.

 

"Confidential" Magazine had already prepared a lengthy expose - and it was going to be published, too.

 

His agent, Henry Willson was a very powerful man in Hollywood.

 

With the help of Universal-International, he managed to "kill" the story.

 

And then he arranged a quickie marriage with one of his secretaries, Phyllis Gates.

 

U-I threw a bone to "Confidential" Magazine with a story about Rory Calhoun.

Rayban - -

 

When I was a little girl, I was an Avid Reader of the movie star fan magazines. They only cost a quarter and you could read all about the new movies coming out and important facts about the stars.

 

The publicists would make up stupid little stories with tantalizing headlines. But it never really mattered because the photos were what you bought the magazine for.

 

They always had a lot of photos of those obligatory promotional parties in Hollywood where movie stars would appear with a date that was arranged by the studio.

 

In the late fifties, I can recall seeing Rock Hudson repeatedly with a woman named Marilyn Maxwell. She was called his " gal pal",whatever that means.

 

If you're not familiar with her, she was a very attractive blonde actress who wasn't young and wasn't old.

 

Always in the captions they would say something like-- Marilyn and Rock are inseparable why don't they just hitch-up?

 

I may have seen him at times with arranged dates with Connie Stevens or Debbie Reynolds - - but it seems like he was always with this Marilyn Maxwell. So you might find her interesting.

 

PS -- I was fan of Troy Donahue's. He never really got the acclaim that he deserved for his dramatic abilities A Summer Place and Parrish. I'm assuming you're a fan of his.

 

Have you been able to watch Surfside 6?

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It's very interesting to see the similarities between today and yesterday. 

 

Rock Hudson had to act heterosexual in public because it was a controversy for him to act otherwise except in close corners and private affairs. 

 

Rupert Everett publicly came out and his movie roles dried up. 

 

These are only two examples, but we live in a time where change is gradual, but the controversies still remain. The controversy of not being a heterosexual. 

 

Do we gravitate towards stars who act like we want to? 

 

Do we need their confidence as we are afraid to be? 

 

 

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Rayban - -

 

When I was a little girl, I was an Avid Reader of the movie star fan magazines. They only cost a quarter and you could read all about the new movies coming out and important facts about the stars.

 

The publicists would make up stupid little stories with tantalizing headlines. But it never really mattered because the photos were what you bought the magazine for.

 

They always had a lot of photos of those obligatory promotional parties in Hollywood where movie stars would appear with a date that was arranged by the studio.

 

In the late fifties, I can recall seeing Rock Hudson repeatedly with a woman named Marilyn Maxwell. She was called his " gal pal",whatever that means.

 

If you're not familiar with her, she was a very attractive blonde actress who wasn't young and wasn't old.

 

Always in the captions they would say something like-- Marilyn and Rock are inseparable why don't they just hitch-up?

 

I may have seen him at times with arranged dates with Connie Stevens or Debbie Reynolds - - but it seems like he was always with this Marilyn Maxwell. So you might find her interesting.

 

PS -- I was fan of Troy Donahue's. He never really got the acclaim that he deserved for his dramatic abilities A Summer Place and Parrish. I'm assuming you're a fan of his.

 

Have you been able to watch Surfside 6?

Princess Of Tap - 

 

Marilyn Maxwell was the one woman that Rock Hudson wanted to marry - but he asked her to accept his homosexuality, too - and she told him that she couldn't live with it.

 

Yes, I am a big fan of Troy Donahue's - and I can watch him again and again in "A Summer Place", "Parrish" and "Rome Adventure".

 

I am a big fan of "Surfside Six".

 

I love the cast: Troy Donahue, of course, Van Williams, Lee Paterson and Diane McBain.

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It's very interesting to see the similarities between today and yesterday. 

 

Rock Hudson had to act heterosexual in public because it was a controversy for him to act otherwise except in close corners and private affairs. 

 

Rupert Everett publicly came out and his movie roles dried up. 

 

These are only two examples, but we live in a time where change is gradual, but the controversies still remain. The controversy of not being a heterosexual. 

 

Do we gravitate towards stars who act like we want to? 

 

Do we need their confidence as we are afraid to be? 

More and more young actors and actresses are coming out of the closet.

 

Ellen Page of "Juno" fame and English actor Ben Whishaw are only the latest.

 

It is a new world.

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More and more young actors and actresses are coming out of the closet.

 

Ellen Page of "Juno" fame and English actor Ben Whishaw are only the latest.

 

It is a new world.

It's a new world, but the professional risks remain the same, at least to me. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but the only reward you get for being gay in Hollywood still goes to the heterosexual actor playing a gay role to get an Oscar. I have yet to see an out actor win an Oscar. 

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More and more young actors and actresses are coming out of the closet.

 

Ellen Page of "Juno" fame and English actor Ben Whishaw are only the latest.

 

It is a new world.

 

Yes it is a new world and therefore we don't know if there will be any negative impact to the career of actors that 'come out'.    e.g. is an 'out' gay actor less appealing to heterosexual women,  especially when playing a heterosexual romantic lead?      I would hope not.    The job of an actor is to play a part convincingly so that should be all that matters.    

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Yes it is a new world and therefore we don't know if there will be any negative impact to the career of actors that 'come out'.    e.g. is an 'out' gay actor less appealing to heterosexual women,  especially when playing a heterosexual romantic lead?      I would hope not.    The job of an actor is to play a part convincingly so that should be all that matters.    

I understand you, James, but, in the past, how many "gay" actors have played heterosexual leading men for the duration of their careers?

 

Yes, of course, the movie-going public did not know that these actors were, secretly, "gay".

 

A case in point, Cary Grant, who was a gay man, but fought all his life to go straight - his many failed marriages.

 

And, yet, he was and still is a romantic heterosexual icon.

 

But, if you watch his films today, like "Dream Wife", you can definitely see "the gay man" underneath.

 

It could not have been easy for him.

 

He chose to live "a lie".

 

It took its' toll.

 

But, I do think that, if actors continue to come out of the closet, they will be accepted in heterosexual, romantic roles.

 

A case in point, Matt Bomer who is out of the closet and has a husband and three children.

 

He is immensely appealing and would be accepted readily, I think.

 

But, as you say, James, time will tell, won't it?

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I understand you, James, but, in the past, how many "gay" actors have played heterosexual leading men for the duration of their careers?

 

Yes, of course, the movie-going public did not know that these actors were, secretly, "gay".

 

A case in point, Cary Grant, who was a gay man, but fought all his life to go straight - his many failed marriages.

 

And, yet, he was and still is a romantic heterosexual icon.

 

But, if you watch his films today, like "Dream Wife", you can definitely see "the gay man" underneath.

 

It could not have been easy for him.

 

He chose to live "a lie".

 

It took its' toll.

 

But, I do think that, if actors continue to come out of the closet, they will be accepted in heterosexual, romantic roles.

 

A case in point, Matt Bomer who is out of the closet and has a husband and three children.

 

He is immensely appealing and would be accepted readily, I think.

 

But, as you say, James, time will tell, won't it?

Ray - -

 

I've always thought of Cary Grant as a bisexual person.

 

All the evidence I've seen about it points to that.

 

I would say the same thing about Tyrone Power.

 

 

Can you give me some kind of a definition or something that we can go with you.

You can look at the societal demands that were placed upon them as factors. But why do people have failed marriages? And I just can't help but think that there are some people who are simply bisexual.

 

Not everybody is one or the other.

 

If I had my druthers, I think I'd go along more with Tyrone Power being a predominantly gay man.

 

But people don't have to be one thing or the other--they can go through phases or they can simply have percentages of their sexuality on different levels.

 

Have you ever thought of that?

 

I really don't know for sure about any of these people because I didn't know them personally. I'm just throwing out theories.

 

But Cary Grant acted like a real bisexual person to me, according to the life that he led.

 

Ray, I'm not trying to tell you that you are wrong and I'm right,but I just want you to think about some of the things that I said because I know you've got an open mind.

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Grant and Power projected a heterosexual persona in their films- you can read what ever you want into them now- ( they were both probably bi-sexual or gay-)  but at the movies they were and remain straight romantic icons.   I doubt they would have had the same career if they had come as gay during their lifetime- Grant kept of getting married and had a daughter.   In the case of Matt Bomer it will be interesting to see which way his career will go now that he is out.  He looks like a classic Hollywood romantic leading man- but in his last few films and tv shows he has played gay  and a bisexual vampire.

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I followed Cary Grant's career for over 50 years.

 

The fact that people get divorced and remarried many times has nothing to do with their sexuality. Necessarily. That's Hollywood. Elizabeth Taylor was married 7 times does that make her gay?

 

There are many issues with Cary Grant. But the one that stands out in my mind is Sophia Loren, Betsy Drake and Houseboat.

 

Whether or not a person is gay or bisexual, I guess you have to ask them.

 

There were gay movie stars who married gay people for cover, there were gay movie stars who married straight people for cover and they were bisexual movie stars who married bisexual people because that's what they wanted to do.

 

Vincente Minnelli is a good example of this.

 

Married 4X with two daughters and a real gay sexual life. There's nothing else you can read into that except he's bisexual. And if you get married as a cover nobody's forcing you to have two daughters, by two different women.

 

I never heard of your actor named Matt Bomer- - it sounds like he has the problems that a lot of black actors and a lot of older actresses have.

 

Prejudice and bigotry is alive and well. Matt should be able to play any part that he's good enough and qualified to play.

 

Jar-- I also doubt if Merle Oberon would have had a career if people had known that she was an Indian half-caste. It was cute for Ava Gardner to play a half caste in Bhowani Junction, directed by George Cukor, the real deal with Merle Oberon would have been boycotted, and then ended her career.

 

Jar--Maybe things haven't changed as much as we wish that they would have.

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I followed Cary Grant's career for over 50 years.

 

The fact that people get divorced and remarried many times has nothing to do with their sexuality. Necessarily. That's Hollywood. Elizabeth Taylor was married 7 times does that make her gay?

 

There are many issues with Cary Grant. But the one that stands out in my mind is Sophia Loren, Betsy Drake and Houseboat.

 

Whether or not a person is gay or bisexual, I guess you have to ask them.

 

There were gay movie stars who married gay people for cover, there were gay movie stars who married straight people for cover and they were bisexual movie stars who married bisexual people because that's what they wanted to do.

 

Vincente Minnelli is a good example of this.

 

Married 4X with two daughters and a real gay sexual life. There's nothing else you can read into that except he's bisexual. And if you get married as a cover nobody's forcing you to have two daughters, by two different women.

 

I never heard of your actor named Matt Bomer- - it sounds like he has the problems that a lot of black actors and a lot of older actresses have.

 

Prejudice and bigotry is alive and well. Matt should be able to play any part that he's good enough and qualified to play.

 

Jar-- I also doubt if Merle Oberon would have had a career if people had known that she was an Indian half-caste. It was cute for Ava Gardner to play a half caste in Bhowani Junction, directed by George Cukor, the real deal with Merle Oberon would have been boycotted, and then ended her career.

 

Jar--Maybe things haven't changed as much as we wish that they would have.

Things have changed because actors can be out and still have successful careers look Ian Mckellen, Zachary Quinto- Matt Bomer seems to be doing well too

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