The Closet Door is Open - Lavender Ladies & Gents of the Golden Age of Hollywood

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Lily Powers, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

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    I read that book. There are a number of inaccuracies Bast makes with time that make it even harder to believe the majority of what he says!
     
  2. bunnyb.gal

    bunnyb.gal Practically Family

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    I've been fascinated by Golden Era films ever since year dot, and unfortunately Kenneth Anger's trash-fest was one of my first reads on the subject and made a huge impact on me at the time. I've had to spend much of my adulthood educating myself out of the unsubstantiated rumours and out and out lies of that disgusting book! ("Runnin' Wild" is a good example of books I've read which are a good antidote.)
     
  3. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

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    Speaking of men in bed together, there's a hilarious tale, told by John Adams himself, of an incident when he and Ben Franklin went to New York to confer with British officials about possible peace talks. They shared a rather uncomfortable bed at an inn. Franklin insisted on keeping the windows wide open, while Adams wanted them closed. They eventually compromised, but I don't think Adams got a very good night's sleep.
    There are also a great big pile of Laurel and Hardy movies that show them in bed together, with various disastrous things befalling them (mostly Ollie, actually).
    One interesting Hollywood couple were Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester. He was definitely gay, and was known to check out the young male extras on any film he directed. She was raised in one of those old ultra-progressive British families that believed in free love. So she also had many and varied affairs, mostly (if not entirely) heterosexual. This did not keep them from having a devoted and loving relationship for many years.
    Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West, the British authors, were both gay. This is well documented in their son Nigel's excellent book, "Portrait of a Marriage". They did manage to produce two sons, but eventually both realized they were really more attracted to the same sex. They each had various affairs over the years, but remained totally committed to each other at the end of the day.
     
  4. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

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    I had to google this up a bit. Silent film director William Desmomd Taylor was found murdered in his apartment in 1922. The case was never solved. One could speculate that the LA police knew exactly what happened, but at the behest of the movie studio suppressed the evidence. One theory was that he was murdered by the mother of aspiring (and pretty untalented) starlet, Mary Miles Minter, who thought that he wanted to marry her and ruin her career. What Minter's mother didn't know was that he was gay. One of Tinseltown's most infamous cases.
     
  5. Charlie74

    Charlie74 Familiar Face

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    Connie Ford - the jilted wife in "A Summer Place" was a lesbian. I have a friend who knew Barbara Stanwyck personally and told the story that soemone once asked her if Rita Hayworth was a lesbian. Barbara's reply was that Rita "was too dumb to be a dyke". This told my friend that Barbara's advances were rejected
     
  6. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

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    Yeah, in the original version Bast didn't explicitly say him and Dean were romantically involved, it wasn't until something like 10+ years later that he made that claim in a revised edition. Although, there have been rumors for years that Dean "did what he had to do" while living in New York as a struggling actor. Sal Mineo, who arguably portrayed Hollywood's overtly first gay teenage character (according to him), said that Dean was certainly familiar with the 1950s gay subculture. But again, the fact that Dean had gay friends in New York, and hung around with Hollywood stars like Rock Hudson, Tad Hunter and Nick Adams is really just "guilt" by association.

    A lot of the rumors originated with Nick Adams, who was reliable only for being an unreliable source. He made certain claims about himself, Elvis, Dean, and others.
     
  7. Mahagonny Bill

    Mahagonny Bill Practically Family

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    My favorite Fante & Mingo line is from the scene where they are complaining about the food they have had to eat while hiding out: "I'm sick of sitting around here eating sausages!" From anyone else it would be a throw away line, but from those two it has added subtext ;)
     
  8. Similar scenes could also be seen in The Three Stooges and Laurel & Hardy comedies.
     
  9. Gregg Axley

    Gregg Axley I'll Lock Up

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    You are correct sir...
    Especially "Their First Mistake" where Oliver Hardy adopts a baby, only to see he and Stan will be taking care of it. Not only do they sleep in the bed together, but Stan unwittingly nurses the baby. I have a book on their entire career, and how the gags were set up (mentally) to show certain characteristics such as Stan's submissive attitude towards Ollie, etc. While this may be misconstrued as a homosexual thing between the two, considering the episode starts out as "Ollie spending too much time with Stan", it's merely an intimate relationship between two friends, as with their relationship off screen.
    As for the Three Stooges, even by today's standards, the "branders" can't call Moe, Larry and Curley (and even Shemp) gay because 3 of them were brothers...Then again Curley does look good in a dress in Microphonies. :) Quiet Numbskulls I'm broadcasting....
     
  10. Puzzicato

    Puzzicato One Too Many

    Some of the Bloomsbury Group and their associates were certainly pretty fluid in their sexuality. Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa had a daughter by Duncan Grant, who mostly had male lovers (Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, David Garnett), and eventually Angelica Bell, their daughter, married David Garnett. There can't be many women who end up marrying their father's ex-boyfriends.
     
  11. David V

    David V A-List Customer

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    Well I guess I'm safe from the rumor mill. :)
     
  12. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

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    David Stenn is a fantastic author. He also wrote Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean Harlow, which is one of my favourite biographies. Compare his educated and thoroughly researched version of Paul Bern's death to Anger's - total scum!

    Speaking of Paul Bern, there were many rumours during his lifetime that he was gay, since he was the platonic "girlfriend" of the screen's most gorgeous women. Knowing what we do now, his issues didn't seem to stem from his sexuality.

    Reminds me somewhat of Gilbert Adrian and Janet Gaynor. He was openly gay (rumour has it that Janet was too), but the couple was married for 20 years until Adrian's death. They must have loved each other very much, though, to have retired to Brazil together!
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  13. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    I think it should be said clearly that this is not a thread for lifestyle judgements or sideways snark about what are ultimately the very private intimate lives of other people. We've seen no real problems so far (though some members may feel differently - I welcome comment via PM), but it seems a good idea to declare preference neutrality here. I would not want any of my gay friends to visit The Fedora Lounge to find what feels like a pile-on.
     
  14. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Keynesian Cross.:sorry: Macro econ blackboard memories.....;)
     
  15. Puzzicato

    Puzzicato One Too Many

    JM Keynes sexuality certainly wasn't discussed in my Evolution of Economic Ideas class at school. I think at 18 I pretty much felt that economists didn't have sex. One lives and learns!
     
  16. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

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    Lilyan Tashman was rumoured to be a lesbian (or at least bisexual):

    [​IMG]

    She was married to Edmund Lowe and it was said to be a "lavendar marriage." Unfortunately, she died in 1934 from abdominal cancer :(
     
  17. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We can't forget two-thirds of the cast of the classic Broadway revue "Three's a Crowd." Clifton Webb made no secret of his inclinations over the course of his long career on the stage and in film -- and co-star Libby Holman seems to have been pretty much omnisexual. (The third member of the cast, Fred Allen, had a long and very conventional heterosexual marriage, and must've felt like the odd man out in that show.)
     
  18. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

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    Clifton Webb lived with his mother Mabelle his whole life, and was never married. I didn't actually know he was gay though - A Google search will confirm everything lol
    (OT: In the book Hollywood Haunted, there is a cool story about the ghosts of Clifton and his mother that were said to haunt their beloved house on Rexton Drive in Hollywood for years after their deaths.)

    Another rumour I've read about was Joan Crawford, specifically that she came on to Marilyn Monroe. The title of the book I read it in escapes me. Now, I'm a Marilyn expert, but it isn't mentioned in the more prominent biographies. Has anyone else read this, or similar?
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  19. Lily Powers

    Lily Powers Practically Family

    Allegedly, her psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson recorded sessions where Marilyn was encouraged to "free associate," and it was during one of these sessions that she mentions her encounter with Joan Crawford. Supposedly, the Greenspan wouldn't release the tapes, but an investigator with LA Dist. Atty's Office was allowed to hear them as part of the investigation into her manner of death, and that man took "verbatim" notes. After Dr. Greenspan died, the transcripted notes were released and published in the LA Times, with some skepticism.
     
  20. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

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    :eek:fftopic: Thanks for this. I too question the "verbatim" notes. I tend to think someone would have gotten hold of the tapes and preserved them if they actually existed - that whole "evidence was destroyed because it contained explosive information" argument is a non-sequitur.

    I'm not sure Joan Crawford was lesbian or bisexual. It may just be one of the many rumours that surrounded her life, like Mommie Dearest and the allegations that she worked as a prostitute in her early years.

    The book I read it in claimed that the reason why Joan disliked Marilyn was because she had made a pass at her - which was not completed. There is a more logical explanation though: by 1953, Joan was out of her prime and had to re-invent herself to keep her career afloat, while Marilyn's was rising like fireworks - not to mention that she had all the male attention! When you want to stay Queen Bee, you never have anyone around who is younger and prettier than you. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

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