WARNING: You’re being cautioned that this article may not be suitable to some, as it contains graphic context and language of a sexual and explicit nature within the list’s discourse. Proceed as you may as you’ve been informatively advised.
Before I get into this, I want to make mention this article will contain: An extensive list of actors and actresses along with a representative photo of each actor and actress as well as documented information about their secretive sexual and erotic history all further down the editorial.
The month of June marks “Gay Pride” month which gave me a meritable notion to bring up an interesting and rather controversial topic especially about a Hollywood era where being gay in any shape or form was practically taboo of sorts during that time period. Now of course, today, one’s sexuality isn’t much of a big deal in our present societal landscape as there is more vast and varied sexuality types than ever before, to the point, it’s rather ridiculously head spinning, really, of just how many variances. Granted, that doesn’t exclude by any means there still isn’t objections from certain parties domestically and internationally on this matter.
Here we are going to dig a little on Hollywood actors and actresses that hid their personal sexualities during the Golden Age era of Hollywood. It’s an era that many of us tend to glamorize and sensationalize in thinking, it was this clean, dignified, picturesque period in the industry that didn’t deal with corrupted scandals, politicking, drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, industry pressures and so forth. When in the actuality of it all, they did and in some cases, worse than our current times in Hollywood is presently going through. Of course, in the yesteryears, they didn’t have to deal with social media and other media advancements, where pretty much close to everyone’s dirty laundry per se gets put out to the public in our present day world.
So, when people today find out, how things were back in the golden days of Hollywood where things were in essence, hush-hush, it tends to shock, if not, surprise people since everything was pretty much kept behind-closed-doors. But how the saying goes…“Never judge a book by its cover,” as that’s the case with the Golden Age of Hollywood. The major studios, historically swept a ton of stuff under their rugs to engineer covers up for its stars back during the studio era. When actors and actresses were contractually signed to a major Hollywood studio in the days of when talents were pretty much a studio’s property, product and brand. In basic terms, the studios pretty much owned the actors and actresses on and off screen.
This leads me to our editorial topic, where talents knew they couldn’t reveal their true sexuality to the general public, as anything other than heterosexuality wasn’t accepted back then. Studios had to make sure to hide and ceil anything that may possibly effect their talent’s star power, status and image. So, who are these individual stars that the studios’ put a smoke screen over? Who’s perceptions where nothing more than a complete facade in disguise?
While today, we commonly know actors/actresses like Rock Hudson, Farley Granger, Tallulah Bankhead, Raymond Burr, Tab Hunter, Billie Holiday, Dirk Bogarde, Cesar Romero and such were in fact gay whether that was bisexual/homosexual/lesbian. But here, we are going to explore and reveal personas of Hollywood’s Golden Age’s secret eroticisms of some of the biggest names, Hollywood has ever produced, and portrayed them as one thing…but were actually something else entirely? Such possibilities may have truth depending on who we are talking about here.
To make note because of time constraints, not enough information available on specific individuals, and let alone so many names to cover, I unfortunately couldn’t provide preamble data on other various Golden Age talents like: Judy Garland, Vincent Price, Anne Baxter, Randolph Scott, Janet Gaynor, Clifton Webb, Dolores del Río, Monty Woolley and several others that had speculative or indefinite connections to the LGBTQ community. As you’ll see a variety of these names be brought up in other Hollywood actors and actresses unveiling accounts throughout this article’s paneling.
But without further ado, why don’t we delve into some of the Golden Age era’s sexuality and erotic revelations that you may know or not have known about these 18 various Hollywood stars of the Golden Age, as I’ll leave it up to you (the reader/viewer) on what you may believe is true or not…and with that said, let’s begin:
PREFERRING WOMEN OVER MEN?
Marilyn Monroe has been known as a quintessential sex symbol for any heterosexual red-blooded male, but therein lies a great irony as Monroe was not the man-eating siren her image suggested. It’s probably hard to apprehend the slightest chance of possibilities of Monroe actually preferring women over men? But yet, the “Some Like It Hot” and “The Seven Year Itch” starlet professed to having erotic and impassioned encounters with such names as Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Brigitte Bardot (French actress), Jane Russell, Anne Baxter, and among others even the heterosexual Elizabeth Taylor.
Now, there’s actually evidence in many of the names mentioned above to Monroe’s lesbian get-togethers particularly for starters with Joan Crawford. When Monroe began to see psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Greenson towards the end of her life. In taped transcripts of Monroe’s sessions, she confessed in stating about Crawford, “Oh yes, Crawford. We went to Joan’s bedroom. She had a gigantic orgasm and shrieked like a maniac…next time I saw Crawford, she wanted another round…after I turned her down, she became spiteful.”
A source close to Monroe said, “Marilyn decided not to have a long affair with Crawford because she didn’t trust Joan, who could be cruel and demanding and hated being shown up by another woman. Marilyn made the right decision. Joan became particularly spiteful after Marilyn refused to go to bed with her again.”
To go to another case according to various media outlets from the Daily Mail to the National Enquirer have reported that Marilyn Monroe actually seduced Elizabeth Taylor. This would be astounding for a number of reasons, one being that Taylor has always been regarded as heterosexual (like I stated prior), but also because the two stars were industry rivals during that era.
The encounter occurred in 1961, when Monroe and Taylor were at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas where Frank Sinatra was doing a show. One thing led to another, no doubt fueled by champagne. According to reports, Taylor considered Monroe’s touch to be “electric.” She was quoted as having written in her diary, “I wanted to see how far the bitch would go. But she had to do all the work.” While its safe to say the women enjoyed each other, they never hooked up again.
It seems that Monroe accepted love wherever she could find it — from her fans, from men and from women. She oozed with sexuality, so even women found her irresistible. Monroe partnered with women of all ages including a 16-year-old girl, Jane Lawrence, who was head of Marilyn’s fan club. In many ways, her relations with women paralleled her relations with men. Monroe’s sensuality with women was of a varying sort from what she had with her boyfriends, husbands, and lovers. Monroe found that she could be more open with women, and express herself more physically and spiritually. She also found partnering with women to be more satisfying, if you catch the drift.
To make it even more clear, Monroe’s co-workers definitely believed that she was bisexual. Director Jean Negulesco, who Monroe worked with on “How to Marry a Millionaire,” quoted Monroe as having told him once that she “had never had an orgasm with a man in her entire life.” He read between the lines, but was there something more to Monroe feeling closer to women then men?
According to actress Celeste Holm, who appeared with Monroe in “All About Eve,” claims that Marilyn’s sexual problems were rooted in her traumatic childhood. Monroe was born illegitimately in 1926 to an unmarried mother in the charity ward of the Los Angeles General Hospital while her mother would develop schizophrenia. Both of her grandparents, Otis Elmer Monroe and Della Monroe Grainger, lived out their twilight years in mental institutions, while her mother’s brother, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. So it is small wonder that the child who became Marilyn Monroe grew up with a deep-rooted fear of genetic insanity. This, according to Holm, gave Monroe a lifelong terror of pregnancy.
In addition to her fear of giving birth to an abnormal child, Marilyn suffered from devastating bouts of endometriosis, a gynecological condition causing intense pelvic pain, severe cramps and painful periods. It made normal sexual intercourse difficult and uncomfortable. “Because of this,” Holm explained, “Marilyn was never able to enjoy sex with men. She was afraid of it, and turned to older women as sexual role models.” It leaves to question was it because, amid the emotional wreckage of so much of Monroe’s life, she had found her greatest happiness with women?
A MARRIED MAN, A WOMANIZER…BUT BISEXUAL?
Spencer Tracy was one of the biggest movie stars in the Golden Age of Hollywood. The actor was married with two kids, and even though he became estranged from his wife Louise, they never divorced, which Tracy claimed was because of his Catholic upbringing.
Tracy garnered a reputation in Hollywood as a very heavy drinker and womanizer; he’s been linked to many starlets such as Ingrid Bergman, Hedy Lamarr and more. But was he actually bisexual and not the full-fledge womanizer he was made out to be? It has been rumored Tracy often stayed at “The Philadelphia Story” and “My Fair Lady” director George Cukor’s house who was openly gay. Tracy would stay at Cukor’s house for several days at a time, where according to sources, Tracy had fornication with Cukor’s young male friends.
Tracy is also rumored to have been involved in a long-term relationship with actor John Derek, and according to Scotty Bowers, who was an unabashed pimp to the stars during the Golden Age — sheds new light on that pre-Stonewall world in his memoir. Bowers calls the legendary actor’s relationship with Katharine Hepburn a “pseudo-romance” which was studio-engineered and never consummated. Actually, Tracy despised Katharine Hepburn as Tracy told Bowers that she treated him “like dirt. She was contemptuous of him”. Bowers says, “Spencer Tracy was a “a generous, good-hearted man, who liked to cuddle after drinking himself into a stupor.” Tracy just didn’t do this with his most famous leading lady, Katharine Hepburn.
Here’s what Bowers recalls firsthand in his first in a series of rendezvous with Tracy beginning one night in the early ’50s: “It was past midnight. After another empty bottle of scotch stood on the coffee table, he began to undress and begged me not to leave him,” Bowers recalls of a night spent with Spencer Tracy. Bowers wrote in his memoir, “I could only assume that his pseudo-romance with Kate Hepburn was causing him distress…I climbed into bed with him…he lay his head down at my groin, took hold of my penis…this was the last guy on earth that I expected an overture like that from, but we had an hour or so of pretty good sex.”
In the morning, Tracy reportedly acted as if nothing had happened, but Bowers reveals it was just the first of many such encounters, and adds: “I met a lot of influential people through Spence.”
A STUDIO ENGINEERED SEXUALITY COVER UP?
Katharine Hepburn is perhaps the most renowned actress in the history of Hollywood, but is it safe to assume Hepburn wouldn’t have had anywhere near the same success in old Hollywood if the truth came out about her sexual orientation?
By several accounts, Hepburn’s 25-year relationship with frequent co-star Spencer Tracy was more of a friendship than an actual sexual attraction. Screenwriter and gay rights activist Larry Kramer stated of the famous couple, “Hepburn and Tracy were both gay. They were publicly paired together by the studio. Everyone in Hollywood knows this is true, but of course I haven’t seen it printed anywhere.”
Hepburn was known for her boyish attire and while she did have an interest in men, it seemed she favored women. Over a 50-year period, Hollywood pimp Scotty Bowers who met the film diva Hepburn at a Hollywood party as he was amazed that she was wearing a suit and very short hair with a side parting.
Bowers recalls the host explaining that Hepburn’s movie studio honchos had been pleading with her not to advertise the fact that she was gay. “Actors, major directors and producers had ‘morals’ clauses in their contracts, which they would have violated by being openly known as gay or bisexual,” Bowers explains. Bowers remembers what Hepburn said to him.“I know your reputation, Scotty. When you get a chance, do you think you can find a nice, young dark-haired girl for me? Someone that is not too heavily made-up.”
Bowers claims he set the siren up with 150 women over that span (which would equal about 3 women per year). Bowers claims Hepburn would see them once or twice and then “tire of them.” There was however, one woman that was none more bewitching than a young beauty named Barbara, with whom Hepburn maintained a 49-year relationship.
All this would clarify and sure evidence that the rumors of a physical relationship between the germaphobic industrialist and movie mogul Howard Hughes and Hepburn was pure bunkum based on Hepburn’s sexual urges. Bowers did a fair amount of setup work for Hughes but the guy got off with the same success rate as The Spruce Goose.
Bowers states, “Howard was as straight as an arrow and really liked women but, ironically, he hardly ever had sex with them. He was so fanatically fussy about his own health as well as the cleanliness and pristine beauty of the young lady that if she ever wore even the slightest hint of makeup that he did not like he would make her take a shower immediately and wash everything off. And if, heaven forbid, she had even the tiniest blemish or a pimple he simply would not touch her.”
A MARINE + GAS STATION = AN UNDERGROUND SEX TRADE?
Walter Pidgeon was highly regarded A-lister in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Pidgeon was married twice with his second wife Ruth Walker lasting nearly 5 decades (until his death). But was Pidgeon actually a bisexual man that ushered in Hollywood’s underground prostitution ring?
Well, according to Scotty Bowers, the Hollywood pimp, it all began with middle aged actor Walter Pidgeon in 1946. It started when Pidgeon stopped by a Richfield gas station on Hollywood Boulevard and picked up the 23-year-old Scotty Bowers, an ex-Marine pump attendant, by offering a $20 tip. Pidgeon drove Bowers to a private home where they joined Jacques Potts.
Pidgeon invited Bowers to use the swimming pool in say: “It’s hot Scotty. Hop in for a swim, I’ll join you in a minute…no need for a suit. There’s no one else here.” Bowers relates that Pidgeon’s preference was to give Bowers oral sex while masturbating. There were many repeats of this three-way arrangement of the three bisexual men, for which Bowers always earned a $20 bill.
This led to Pidgeon telling all his gay friends about his new friend, Bowers. After sampling his services, they told their friends about the Marine at the Richfield station on the corner of Hollywood and Van Ness, complete with a two-bedroom trailer out back, who was happy to hook them up with his young friends, male or female.
From there it went on for years, as Bowers ran a sexual referral service from this gas station, engaging in a Hollywood underground sex trade. If not participating in sexual relations with the customers himself, he arranged for his money-starved ex-Marine buddies to pick up some extra cash. Soon enough he expanded his base to provide companionship and sex for people of every sexual orientation and interest.
A RECLUSE BECAUSE OF A WOMAN?
Greta Garbo, the Swedish-born who was a Hollywood star in the ‘20s and ‘30s, though her status endures Garbo retired from acting and public life entirely at the tender age of 35. Garbo never married and never had any children as at least two men, Swedish publisher Lars Saxon and American silent film star John Gilbert, are said to have proposed to Garbo three times.
But in a letter on MGM notepaper, obtained by the Postal Museum, Garbo writes to Saxon: “I will probably remain a bachelor all my life. ‘Wife’ is such an ugly word.” Garbo was a bisexual which was widely known in the Hollywood community, and ultimately in the public’s consciousness (especially now).
Garbo was an attractive woman who was adored by men and women alike, and she returned their love enthusiastically. Garbo has been romantically and sexually attached to several Hollywood female starlets. Instead of lying to the press, Garbo remained silent about her personal life, which lent an air of mystery to her persona. Perhaps Garbo’s most notorious relationship was with Marlene Dietrich.
The pair first met in Weimar Berlin, before Garbo was a big star. The “Ninotchka” and “Camille” actress was allegedly so stricken and pained by Dietrich that Garbo denied knowing her; Garbo, at the tender age of 20, thought they were in love, while Dietrich, 24, was in it for a physical affair. Garbo also assertedly had sexual relationships with Mercedes de Acosta, Marilyn Monroe, Salka Viertel, Louise Brooks, Billie Holiday, Lilyan Tashman, and Tallulah Bankhead. Garbo has called her lesbian love affairs “exciting secrets” which are no longer secretive any more of course.
There is a sad part to all of this though, as Garbo actually did not want to be alone, ironically, Garbo would spend her life in isolation and despair. Despite all of her relations the reason for Garbo’s seclusion and reclusiveness was because she wanted to be with her drama school sweetheart, the Swedish actress Mimi Pollak.
Private letters released in Sweden to mark the centenary of Garbo’s birth throws a new and tragic light on the tormented life of the pauper girl from Stockholm. But it was not merely the unrequited love for Pollak — with whom Garbo maintained a correspondence for 60 years — that overshadowed the star’s life up to her death in 1990. Two exhibitions in Sweden and a new book reveal that, before she left for the ‘ugly’ United States in 1925, Garbo was self-obsessed, depressive and ashamed of her latrine-cleaner father.
A FUSSY AND HARD TO PLEASE BISEXUAL?
The enigmatic 1950s heartthrob and method actor Montgomery Clift, was a deeply in-tuned talent but unlike most of his Hollywood peers, who lived in Los Angeles, Clift lived in New York. A decision that left his dating life out of the scandal and gossip tabloids and his personal life, very personal.
Clift was involved in a seemingly “will they or won’t they” relationship with Elizabeth Taylor. The duo appeared together in 3 films: “A Place in the Sun,” “Raintree County,” and “Suddenly, Last Summer.” With most of the alleged gay, bi, or queer actors on this manifest, it appears Hollywood’s inner circles knew of Clift’s sexual orientation.
According to the Hollywood pimp of the Golden Age, Scotty Bowers, who would fix up tricks for Clift while he was in L.A. filming “Judgment at Nuremberg”, claims that Clift would always want someone new, someone different, someone he hadn’t had sex with before. Clift was also excessively fussy and hard to please. Bowers states that Clift once said after he had gone out of his way for him to find the perfect trick for him, “His prick is an inch too long.”
On other occasions, Bowers claims, “If it wasn’t too long then it was an inch too short, or the guy’s hair was not parted properly, or his feet were too small, or his toes too bony. There was always something wrong. Monty was never satisfied.” Bowers continued to provide tricks for Monty until he was finished filming on the 1961 film after which Clift left Los Angeles to settle in New York. Bowers remarks, “ I cannot say I regretted seeing him leave town.”
“Singin’ In the Rain” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” starlet, Debbie Reynold’s claimed in her memoir, Unsinkable, that, despite Taylor being married at the time to stuff British actor Michael Wilding, it was obvious she and Clift had more than onscreen romance according to Reynolds. “[They] laughed and giggled while making out in the water in front of us all…even though Monty had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, it was obvious that Monty and Elizabeth had been intimate. Elizabeth could seduce any man, gay or straight.”
Unfortunately, on the same night described by Reynolds, this was the same night that the otherwise gay Clift, who’s many demons included an affair with the bottle, had consumed too much alcohol and crashed his car after leaving the bash, disfiguring his impossibly beautiful face. It’s become Hollywood lore that upon hearing the news of the accident, Taylor rushed to assist her beloved friend. “Elizabeth stuck her hand in his mouth, felt the back of his throat where some of his teeth had become lodged after being knocked out, and pulled them to prevent him from choking,” Reynolds states of her fellow icon. “He might have died if she hadn’t come to his aid.”
After the crash, which disfigured his face, Clift’s career began to decline and he fell victim to severe alcohol abuse. It’s also likely his alcohol abuse was triggered by having to conceal his sexual orientation. Clift though would eventually die at the tender age of 45 in 1966.
ALLEGEDLY “GAY FOR PAY” BUT YET…HOMOPHOBIC? WHAT?
Clark Gable, a man who was so famous that he’s been referred to as The King of Hollywood. Gable, despite being married five times and having two kids, Gable was a notorious ladies man, who often made a point of going after fresh-faced Hollywood starlets and just about anyone whom he shared a big screen with. Yet Gable was allegedly involved with men, too. There has been circulative speculation through Hollywood’s grapevine over the decades that before Gable became the “Gone with the Wind” and “It Happened One Night” star, he traded his sexuality for career advancements.
In a book by David Bret who wrote, Clark Gable: Tormented Star, the writer claims Gable was “gay for pay” and “rough trade,” and liked to have sex “for bucks.” In addition, Gable assertedly “would sometimes scrub his penis until it bled” and used a device to prolong erections. However, questions have come up on how does David Bret, the author of numerous celebrity biographies, know so much about Hollywood stars’ sex lives? Judging by Bret’s book’s convoluted wording, he really doesn’t.
According to the New York Times, Bret hedges its bets with lines like “Indeed, unlikely as this seems, the two may even have been lovers,” and “It was alleged that a threesome took place.” The effect is “Hollywood Babylon” lite. The Times goes further by adding much more, for all its smut, the book is painfully unsexy with Bret accusing Gable of having had halitosis, hepatitis, rotting teeth and “shovel-like” hands. With clear disgust, he also calls Gable a hypocrite for maintaining a macho sex-symbol image and for engaging in “homophobic rantings,” even though he’d slept with men. And yet Bret undermines his own arguments.
Why would Gable have been “tormented” by his bisexual past if Hollywood were as overrun by gay stars as the book implies? If Gable used gay sex for career advancement, why would he have bedded men like the aspiring actor Earle Larimore, who had no more than an aunt on Broadway to his credit, and the “slab of beefcake” Rod La Rocque, hardly a studio bigwig? If a voracious Gable had such “overworked genitals,” why should it be so shocking that there were some men among his countless conquests?
“Clark Gable” teems with innuendo and exclamation points, but still presents a thoroughly joyless view of old Hollywood. When Bret considers Gable, it’s only as “the archetypal repressed bisexual,” a “testosterone-charged stud” or — as the introduction’s clunky title has it — “A Hunk of Rough.” Bret doesn’t just disapprove of Gable as a man; he finds him lacking as an actor, and even offers this condescending note on Gable’s style: “He would quite unnecessarily overplay the machismo and take immense pains to conceal a feminine side that if brought to the fore would have made him a great actor instead of an inordinately good one.”
But Bret has even less regard for Gable’s fans. Who among us requires an eight-page plot summary of “Gone With the Wind”? (Sample line: “For once Scarlett is innocent, yet Rhett insists on her wearing a scarlet — in other words, a whore’s — dress when they attend a party at Twelve Oaks.”) And who among us could love Clark Gable only if he’d never kissed a man? Simply put Bret’s “claims” are of high questioning.
Then there’s also the hearsay that Gable didn’t want to star in “Gone with the Wind” because George Cukor, an openly gay man, was attached to direct. Cukor supposedly knew about Gable’s days of “hustling” Hollywood’s gay circuit before he became famous, and Gable was reportedly uncomfortable working with Cukor because of this particular matter. Of course, it’s all speculation with Gable’s sexuality rumors as no real hard evidence has every really been proven.
There is however, the fact, we know for sure Cukor was fired as director of “Gone with the Wind” during the middle of the film’s production which was arguably, if not, more indefinite to do to the film’s producer David O. Selznick and Cukor who seemed to have battled over who was in charge of final say on the production. Cukor was eventually replaced by Gable’s friend, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Captains Courageous” director Victor Fleming.
HOLLYWOOD’S BIGGEST CLOSETED LESBIAN?
Barbara Stanwyck was one of the most ambitious actresses in Hollywood’s Golden Age era. Stanwyck was married twice and had one adopted son. Her first marriage, to Frank Fay, was described as abusive and is allegedly the inspiration for the 1954 film version of “A Star Is Born”. There are rumors both of her marriages to Frank Fay and Robert Taylor were studio-backed “lavender marriages” unions made to hide an actor’s true sexuality. Most Hollywood historians admit there’s something to assertions that Stanwyck’s marriages were studio-backed “lavender marriages” just created to keep the closet sealed tight on Stanwyck’s sexuality. There’s also plenty of evidence pointing to Stanwyck being gay or bi.
However, nothing can be said with absolute certainty that Stanwyck was a lesbian, but there are enough innuendo and speculation about the Golden Age’s actress’s personal life that it seems pretty likely Stanwyck was at least open to girl-on-girl action. And even if she weren’t a lesbian, her brassy and butch nature, both onscreen and off, garnered her a loyal following from lesbians and gays alike. Though Stanwyck’s association with the LGBTQ community goes way back.
During the late-1920s, Brooklyn-native Stanwyck taught dance at a gay and lesbian speakeasy owned by Texas Guinan, a butch impresario described as a lesbian. Texas very may well have been the inspiration for the “wicked” saloon girl deep-voiced and often hoydenish Stanwyck played in the film, “California” in 1947.
Biographer Axel Madsen says, “Unearthing the truth about Stanwyck’s sexuality would remain impossible,” he continues in saying, “people would swear she was…Hollywood’s biggest closeted lesbian.” Actor Clifton Webb once called Stanwyck, “My favorite Hollywood lesbian.” Even Stanwyck’s second husband, “Waterloo Bridge” and “Quo Vadis” star Robert Taylor, told actress Shelley Winters that his wife [Stanwyck] was a lesbian, and they didn’t share a bed. All the more, lesbian singer, Tallulah Bankhead once said she slept with Stanwyck and then there is the alleged torrid sexual affair Stanwyck had with the bisexual “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “The Misfits” starlet Marilyn Monroe although not much is known about it.
But of all the people Stanwyck was close to, her most consistent relationship was is with her very loyal, sometimes live-in girl Friday, the prototypical actress-turned-publicist Helen Ferguson. The two never defined their relationship, but if Stanwyck’s marriages to men were described as lavender, the Stanwyck/Ferguson’s union may very well have been of the Boston variety. Ferguson was by Stanwyck’s side for the bulk of her career, from the Hollywood heyday to the 1960s, when Stanwyck started portraying a series of pioneering women on television shows like “Wagon Train” and “The Big Valley”.
In the book, Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Popular Culture, Luca Prono states that in the 1960s, 1970s and even into the 1980s, Stanwyck was seen as a cultural and personal template for lesbians. “Stanwyck acquired the status of icon within lesbian communities,” Prono writes. “Stanwyck was a woman whose screen persona challenged respectability because of the strong and independent women she embodied in the 1940s.”
Stanwyck played lesbian character of Jo Courtney in “Walk on the Wild Side” in 1962 (one of the first lesbian portrayals in Hollywood), she refused to discuss her own sexuality. In one of the more infamous examples of her reserve on the matter, Stanwyck reportedly threw journalist Boze Hadleigh out of her house after he asked whether she had ever partaken in lesbian sex, as Greta Garbo and Marlene Deitrich had done.
Here’s how that exchange went:
Q: Do you think bisexuality was very widespread among female stars during Hollywood’s heyday?
A: … I heard that Dietrich, Garbo, most of the girls from Europe, swing either way. Then I found out it’s true.
Q: You found out…?
A BISEXUALITY MATTER OF DEBATE? WAS HE OR WASN’T HE?
Cary Grant, the debonair leading man who had the dramatic chops and comic timing that very few in Hollywood history have ever had. The Hollywood ladies’ man was married 5 times and had one daughter but was Grant’s Hollywood identity a bit skewed and did he actually have a thing for men as well? Its possible…
However, Grant’s bisexuality is a matter of dispute though, there’s no denying Grant had a friendship and was roommates with actor Randolph Scott for 12 years. The pair met on the set of “Hot Saturday” in 1932 and lived together in a mansion nicknamed “Bachelor Hall” in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, both before, during, and after their various marriages to women (they had 7 marriages between them). There is even photos available online of Grant and Scott that may suggest they were maybe more than just “friends” but it’s truly debatable under the circumstances.
Then there’s also Gillian Armstrong’s documentary Women He’s Undressed, about the life of three-time Academy Award winning costume designer Orry-Kelly. The doc goes into detail about Kelly, an Australian chap, meeting fellow immigrant Archie Leach (Cary Grant, an Englishman) in New York City in 1925. Grant and Kelly lived together on and off for 9 years, and were lovers. Their relationship reportedly ended because Grant knew he needed to hide his sexuality in order to make it as an actor in Hollywood.
Armstrong notes that we can’t know for sure about anyone’s sex life, but the documentary provides ample evidence that the two men were more than friends. It also covers Grant’s later, well-known liaison with Scott before Grant went on to the first of his five marriages. According to Armstrong’s film, once Grant became a star, he pretty much cut Kelly out of his life — something the designer resented deeply.
That doesn’t speak well of Grant, who remains beloved by millions of fans 30+ years after his death and 50+ years after he made his last film. Armstrong though offers a bit of understanding, if not an actual excuse for Grant’s reasoning. “Cary was a victim of his era,” Armstrong states, as there was great pressure on stars to appear completely heterosexual. At that time, being in a same-sex relationship was a career-killer — it certainly ended the career of Billy Haines, a star of the silent and early sound eras, as he would not give in to studio demands that he leave his partner. And there were even more dire consequences for being gay, like being blackmailed or arrested.
Whether Grant was bisexual or not may never be truly answered but Grant did answer to the gay/bisexual rumor speculation in 1980 and this is what he said: “Look at it this way, I’ve always tried to dress well. I’ve had some success in life. I’ve enjoyed my success and I include in that success some relationships with very special women. If someone wants to say I’m gay, what can I do? I think it’s probably said about every man who’s been known to do well with women. I don’t let that sort of thing bother me. What matters to me is that I know who I am. I have nothing against gays, I’m just not one myself.”
AN INSATIABLE APPETITE FOR MEN AND WOMEN?
Joan Crawford was one of Hollywood’s biggest film starlets in the Golden Age era on screen but had just prodigal life off screen as well. The gritty but glamorous actress grew up with a sadistic brother, her single mother was the local tramp until she married Crawford’s abusive stepdad who had a lust for very young girls and attempted to rape her. By the time Crawford was 14, she was already following in her mom’s sleazy footsteps, entertaining boys from the local high school football team — and demanding money for her services.
Crawford was married 4 times and adopted 5 children. Crawford was tough as a wife, emasculating her husbands by making them kneel and beg for sex. She also had a rather checkered history with her children. For one example, Crawford was the subject of her disinherited daughter Christina’s scathing memoir Mommie Dearest, which was made into a film starring Faye Dunaway as Crawford. If that weren’t enough, FX’s series “Feud” details Crawford and Bette Davis’s legendary battle on the set of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”.
But back in the day, hearsay ran rampant in Hollywood about Crawford’s insatiable appetite for sex with men and women. The rumors were explored however in detail in David Bret’s biography Joan Crawford, Hollywood Martyr, which suggests the actress pretty much slept her way into becoming a screen legend and didn’t stop there as she shamelessly indulged her passion for bisexual men and kinky sex. Crawford launched her film career via the “casting couch” at MGM studios, infamously quipping, “It sure beat the cold, hard floor.”
While Crawford’s film career was highly successful, her sex life was equally prolific as according to Bret, Crawford slept with a veritable of Hollywood hunks that included Glenn Ford, John Wayne, Yul Brenner, Jeff Chandler, Dana Andrews, Kirk Douglas and even 17-year-old Our Gang alum Jackie Cooper. But she had a special fondness for bisexual men, accounting for 3 of her 5 husbands. She even tried to seduce notoriously gay Rock Hudson, creeping naked into a shower with him and purring in his ear, “Close your eyes and pretend I’m Clark Gable.”
However, Gable was the closest Crawford would get to true love. Bret states Gable fit her mold — a handsome actor, who before hitting it big was speculated to have flirted with men at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, prepared to “do anything” for money (those claims about Gable for the “gay for pay” have never been proven and are more just pure gossip). Bret writes, “She fell on him like a sex-starved bird of prey,” noting that their passionate off-and-on affair lasted 28 years. To make note, Bret’s biography works have been criticized (just read the Clark Gable section in the article here) over the years as being misguided, if not, fabricated in a variety of cases.
Crawford though had a closet stuffed with skeletons though as there’s some evidence of Crawford’s bisexuality in EJ Fleming’s book about notorious Tinseltown problem solver Eddie Mannix, The Fixers: Eddie Mannix, Howard Strickling And The MGM Publicity Machine.
Crawford has been alleged to have had various lesbian romances with various Hollywood actresses including Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe (as you read about in the Marilyn Monroe section of the article) and among others. Fleming alleges Mannix got MGM to pay $100,000 to stop the release of a lesbian porn film starring Crawford before she was famous. Of course, same sex relationships in porn aren’t the same as in real life.
Furthermore, she and the MGM executives had to pay off blackmailers from time to time, including her own brother Hal, but Crawford took care of one threat herself, that being with FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover and who she struck a deal with — to destroy all of Crawford’s records proving she’d once been a hooker and she wouldn’t reveal Hoover was a cross-dresser. To state what David Bret said about Crawford, “Joan Crawford wasn’t the first Hollywood actress to trade sex for stardom,” says Bret. “But few have matched her ruthlessness.”
CONFLICTED WITH RELIGION AND HOMOSEXUALITY?
Ramon Novarro was a Mexican film, stage and television actor who began his career in silent films in 1917 and eventually became a leading man and one of the top box office attractions of the 1920s and early 1930s. Novarro was promoted by MGM as a “Latin lover” and became known as a sex symbol after the death of Rudolph Valentino. The only thing though was that MGM’s so-called new “Latin lover” wasn’t an actual lover of women but of men.
Novarro had life-long struggle with alcoholism as it is often traced to his problems his conflicted emotions that troubled him all his life of his Roman Catholic religion and his own homosexuality. In the early 1920s, Novarro had a romantic relationship with composer Harry Partch, who was working as an usher at the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the time, but Novarro broke off the affair as his acting career began to become successful.
MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer reportedly tried to coerce Novarro into a “lavender marriage,” which he refused. Novarro was romantically involved with journalist Herbert Howe, who was also his publicist in the late 1920s, and with a wealthy man from San Francisco, Noël Sullivan. In an unfortunate paradoxical of events, Novarro’s homosexuality issues that anguished and vexed him all his life is what would be the irony of his actual and tragic downfall.
In October 30, 1968, the brothers Paul and Tom Ferguson, aged 22 and 17, who called Novarro offered their sexual services. Novarro had in the past hired prostitutes from an agency to come to his Laurel Canyon home for sex, and the Fergusons obtained Novarro’s telephone number from a previous guest. However, Novarro would be a victim and murdered by the Ferguson brothers.
According to the prosecution in the murder case, the two young men believed that a large sum of money was hidden in Novarro’s house. The prosecution accused the brothers of torturing Novarro for several hours to force him to reveal where the non-existent money was hidden. They left the house with $20 they took from his bathrobe pocket. Novarro died as a result of asphyxiation — having choked to death on his own blood after being beaten.
The two perpetrators were caught and sentenced to long prison terms, but the Ferguson brothers would be released on probation in the mid-1970s. Both brothers were later re-arrested for unrelated crimes for which they served longer prison terms than for the murder of Novarro. In a 1998 interview, Paul Ferguson finally assumed the blame for Novarro’s death.
A WIFE AND KIDS BUT A PHILANDER OF HOMOSEXUAL AFFAIRS?
As best known as Norman Bates in “Psycho,” Anthony Perkins was a married man with two children. However, he also allegedly had several homosexual affairs in the process. His longest romantic homosexual relationship was reportedly with actor Tab Hunter.
An according the notorious Hollywood pimp, Scotty Bowers, Perkins was involved with many men actually. Bowers states about Perkins, “He always wanted someone different. ‘Who’ve you got who’s different, Scott?’ ‘Who do you have for me for tomorrow night that will surprise me? Anything really new?” Bowers makes mention though that Perkins was fussy about who he saw. Bowers was one of the many men Perkins did see on numerous occasions as he was extremely fond of Perkins.
Perkins passed away at 60 years of age in 1992, from you guessed it…AIDS. Perkins always insisted that his Berry Berenson, a photographer and the actress Marisa Berenson’s sister never knew about his philandering and his double life. At the time of Perkins’ death, he was with his wife and their two teenage sons. Perkins’ death came as a bit of a shock because Perkins kept silent about his illness.
Ms. Berenson states, “He simply never wanted anyone to know”. While Perkins never wanted his wife, Berry to know about his double life, she lets on by claiming “He figured if anyone knew they’d never give him work again.”
2 WEEKS OF BEING GAY…HUH?
Stand-up comedian and actor Richard Pryor who was a married man (7 times actually) did cross-the-line into having a homosexual affair with one of Hollywood’s legends. In February of 2018, Richard Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Pryor, released a statement to TMZ stating that her husband had an intimate affair with “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Godfather” actor Marlon Brando in the ’70s. As she told the publication: “It was the ‘70s! Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes. If you did enough cocaine, you’d fuck a radiator and send it flowers in the morning.”
This wasn’t the first time Pryor’s relationship with Brando had been in the news, as music mogul Quincy Jones had also alluded to it in a Vulture interview.
According to both Jones and Pryor’s widow claim that Pryor was open about his bisexuality with his friends. However, one of Pryor’s children, his daughter Rain later disputed the claim. In his autobiography, Pryor admitted to having a two-week sexual relationship with a transvestite, which he called “two weeks of being gay”.
A CLAIM TO F*CK ANYTHING?
Marlon Brando is widely considered and looked upon as one of the greatest silver screen actors of all-time and a man who exudes intense masculinity. But Brando may have also been one of Hollywood’s biggest bed hoppers as well, if it’s all to be believed.
For starters, “The Godfather” patriarch was married 4 times and some sources have claimed Brando actually fathered 17 children…Yes, that’s correct, 17 children (!). But nonetheless, while Brando may have been married to 4 different women appearing to be heterosexual, there are many allegations that suggest Brando was in fact, bisexual.
Brando’s most well-known alleged affair was with “Rebel Without a Cause” star James Dean. However, Darwin Porter’s biography, Brando Unzipped, claims Brando had sexual relationships with Cary Grant, Montgomery Clift, and Sir John Gielgud. In Porter’s book, he states: “James Dean was one of Brando’s most lasting yet troubled gay relationships. They had a relationship for a number of years but it was always turbulent. At one point they had a big stand-up fight at a party in Santa Monica, California, witnessed by dozens of people. His affair with Montgomery Clift was a long and enduring relationship.”
Porter continues to say that: “Marlon had a bit of a fling with Cary Grant, spending a weekend with him in San Francisco. Cary was also pursuing the actor Stewart Granger, who became another of Marlon’s conquests. Marlon admired John Gielgud but they didn’t have a relationship, rather, Brando performed sexual favors for Gielgud and told friends, ‘I owed it to him because he really helped me with lines in Julius Caesar.’”
To add more names to Brando’s sexual conquest list, there are also rumors he had an affair with Bob Dylan. According to Northern Irish actress Patricia Quinn, who was a romantic partner of Brando’s in the ’60s, visited Brando’s trailer on the set of “The Appaloosa” with Bob Dylan. Quinn recalls an especially scandalous story in Marlon Brando, a biography by Peter Manso, where Quinn claims Dylan asked for a bottle of coke, which Brando opened with his teeth, after which an alleged romance blossomed between Dylan and Brando (who was openly bisexual). Quinn states, “I never saw anything, but the word going around then was that Dylan was swinging both ways.”
Music mogul Quincy Jones had insinuated in a Vulture interview while talking about the Richard Pryor and Brando alleged affair, Jones proclaims about Brando’s voracious eroticisms, “Brando would fuck anything. Anything! He’d f*ck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.”
But to take it a step further with Brando’s desiring sexuality, in 1976, Brando admittedly confessed to a French journalist, “Homosexuality is so much in fashion, it no longer makes news. Like a large number of men, I, too, have had homosexual experiences, and I am not ashamed. I have never paid much attention to what people think about me.”
SUBMISSIVE TO KINKY SADOMASOCHISTIC SEX?
The cultural rebel status known as James Dean who is just as strong in the 21st century as it was at the height of his popularity who only appeared in 3 films. Speculation and rumors have swirled around Dean’s true sexuality in his heyday, and persist to this very day. No one knows for sure if the “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant” star was straight, homosexual or bisexual but when digging through the information you get a better idea of where Dean’s sexual attentions truly placed.
We know Dean dated women, but was those relationships just pure fallacies, ones set up by the studio system to cover Dean’s true sexual nature? There has been several books since the 1970s that have issued and be made known about Dean’s sexuality. A close friend of Dean, Jonathan Gilmore in 1975, published The Real James Dean, in which Gilmore divulged that he and Dean engaged in sexual rendezvous.
To add more exposure, biographer Robert Martinetti published The James Dean Story in 1975 as well, in which Martinetti wrote that Dean was involved with an advertising executive, Rogers Brackett. Brackett disclosed to Martinetti in stating, “I loved him and Jimmy loved me. If it was a father-son relationship, it was also somewhat incestuous.”
There has been a number of other biographies making such allegations and assertions about Dean’s lust and eroticisms. Maybe the most damning and scandalous of claims came from Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince’s 2016 book of James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes. The authors write that Dean’s friend Stanley Taggart asserted that Dean was involved in “kinky sadomasochistic sex” with “On the Waterfront” and “Apocalypse Now” star Marlon Brando. In which, the relation and conjunction, Brando was allegedly the dominant partner and Dean was the submissive one.
Taggart apparently claims that Brando would play ‘twisted mind games’ with Dean — making him watch as Brando had sex with strangers. Taggart stated in his profession: “I got the impression that Jimmy was engaged in a cat-and-mouse affair with Brando, with Brando being the cat, of course. Brando seemed to be toying with Jimmy for his own amusement. I think Brando was sadistically using Jimmy, who followed him around like a lovesick puppy with his tongue wagging.”
However, the authors Porter and Prince have a record of unsubstantiated gossip. A source told Queerty: “They’re unburdened by facts. They just make up stuff and there are idiots who fall for it.”
In spite of the authors Porter and Prince’s credibility, there are claims about James Dean’s sex life from Hollywood peers as a former Hollywood starlet, Noreen Nash revealed that actress Elizabeth Taylor made a bet with closeted gay actor Rock Hudson about which one of them could seduce James Dean, while working together on the film “Giant”. Nash recalled: “Elizabeth and Rock took bets on who could get James Dean into bed first. I had an idea Rock would win but Elizabeth wasn’t so sure. James was troubled but gorgeous.” Nash claimed that Ms. Taylor lost her bet just days later.
Nonetheless, things between Hudson and Dean weren’t on good terms at all by the time production had wrapped. According to Hollywood pimp Scotty Bowers, who while during an after party which was thrown by director George Stevens for completing production on “Giant,” Bowers was bartending at the party, everyone from the film was there except Dean, who had been killed in an automobile accident just before production was completed. Be that as it may, Bowers was talking to Hudson at the party where Bowers stated to Hudson, “Pity Jimmy’s not here,” Hudson replied harshly, “F*ck him!” Hudson continued, “I wouldn’t have wanted that little prick near my house.” And then it all came out.
Hudson and Dean became bitter enemies on the set of “Giant” as they didn’t care for one and another at all (maybe this was the result from Nash’s case of Hudson and Dean hooking up on set). Regardless, Bowers though claims that Dean was a difficult young man, and not at all pleasant to be around. Dean was a pretty boy and he had a lot of sex appeal. People were mesmerized by him, however, beneath the facade Dean was a prissy little queen, moody and unpredictable. Although Dean had a few romantic flings with women he was essentially gay.
Dean was once asked about his sexual orientation and said, “No, I am not a homosexual. But, I’m also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.” I think his statement is clear if you read between the lines per se in figuring where Dean lied in his sexual orientation.
A “SEWING CIRCLE” OF CLOSETED LESBIANS AND FEMALE BISEXUALS?
Marlene Dietrich was one of the great stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood as she maintained popularity by continually reinventing herself. She was married once and her only child was Maria Riva, who would later become an actress herself, primarily working in television. When Maria gave birth to a son in 1948, Dietrich was dubbed “the world’s most glamorous grandmother”. After Dietrich’s death, Riva published a frank biography of her mother, titled Marlene Dietrich.
While unlike Dietrich’s professional celebrity, which was carefully crafted and maintained, Dietrich’s personal life was kept out of public view. But Dietrich was in fact a bisexual, and quietly enjoying the thriving gay scene of the time and drag balls of 1920s Berlin. Dietrich also defied conventional gender roles through her boxing at Turkish trainer and prizefighter Sabri Mahir’s boxing studio in Berlin as well, which opened to women in the late 1920s. As Austrian writer Hedwig (Vicki) Baum recalls in her memoir, “I don’t know how the feminine element sneaked into those masculine realms [the boxing studio], but in any case, only three or four of us were tough enough to go through with it and Marlene Dietrich was one.”
Throughout her career, Dietrich had an unending string of affairs, some short-lived, some lasting decades. They often overlapped and were almost all known to her husband, to whom she was in the habit of passing the love letters from her men, sometimes with biting comments. Dietrich had relationships with top talents like Gary Cooper, John Gilbert, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, James Stewart, Erich Maria Remarque, Jean Gabin and John Wayne. She would also have an affair with Cuban-American writer Mercedes de Acosta, who claimed to be Greta Garbo’s lover. Sewing circle was a phrase used by Dietrich to describe the underground, closeted lesbian and bisexual film actresses and their relationships in Hollywood.
In the supposed “Marlene’s Sewing Circle” are mentioned the names of other close friends such as Ann Warner (the wife of Jack L. Warner, one of the owners of the Warner studios), Lili Damita (an old friend of Marlene’s from Berlin and the wife of Errol Flynn), Claudette Colbert (who outright denied being a bisexual or a lesbian), and Dolores del Río (whom Dietrich considered the most beautiful woman in Hollywood). The French singer Edith Piaf was also one of Dietrich’s closest friends during her stay in Paris in the 1950s, and there were always rumors of something more than friendship between them.
Then there Greta Garbo who has been commonly regarded as Dietrich’s greatest film rival, but there is also strong speculation of an infamous affair between them. This rumor had its highlight in 2000 when writer Diana McLellan released her book The Girls: Sappho goes to Hollywood. The author wrote that, in her research, she found proof of a never-before-reported affair between Garbo and Dietrich. McLellan writes that they met in Berlin in 1925 while Garbo was filming “The Joyless Street” and Dietrich had a minor part in the film. Dietrich confirmed that she was indeed in “The Joyless Street” with Garbo. Dietrich admitted it to her British late-life friend and biographer David Bret, an expert on the Berlin nightlife of her era. The two enemies shared the most intimate friends, without so much as a word passing between them or speaking each other’s names in public.
Finally, in the summer of 1945, when Dietrich was the guest of close friend Orson Welles and his wife Rita Hayworth at their house in Los Angeles, she decided it was time to attempt a reconciliation with Garbo. Dietrich persuaded Welles to invite Garbo to a dinner hosted by Clifton Webb, and Garbo accepted. Welles presented the two women to each other, and promptly Dietrich swarmed around Garbo and told her how inspiring she was, calling Garbo goettlich (divine) and an unsterbliche (undying) muse.
Dietrich was evidently unimpressed by Garbo remarks to Welles, “It’s not true that she doesn’t wear makeup. She had her eyelashes beaded. Do you know how long it takes to have your eyelashes beaded?” They are alleged to have met one last time in New York, when Dietrich, dressed as a nurse to remain incognito, was with her grandson in Central Park. Garbo is supposed to have admired the baby and not recognized Dietrich.
Dietrich’s last great passion, was when she was in her 50s, appears to have been for the actor Yul Brynner, with whom she had an affair that lasted more than a decade; her love life continued well into her 70s. She counted Errol Flynn, George Bernard Shaw, John F. Kennedy, Michael Wilding, and Frank Sinatra among her conquests. Dietrich maintained her husband and his mistress first in Europe and later on a ranch in the San Fernando Valley, near Hollywood.
A FETISH THAT WILL MAKE YOUR STOMACH TURN?
The great stage and film actor and director Charles Laughton was married for a little over 3 decades with actress Elsa Lanchester but was the marriage a complete semblance? Well, it depends on who you ask.
In a memoir written after his death, Laughton’s widow, Elsa, stated they never had children because Laughton was a homosexual. However, according to actress Maureen O’Hara, Laughton once told her that not having children was his biggest regret, and that it was because Elsa could not bear children as a result of a botched abortion she had early in her career while performing burlesque. Lanchester admitted becoming pregnant by Laughton and aborting the child in her autobiography.
However, Scotty Bowers, the Hollywood pimp, makes known that Laughton was a regular client of his for years, one of Laughton’s homosexual affairs included is eventual “Witness for the Prosecution” co-star Tyrone Power (more on that in Power’s editorial piece down below). But Laughton had a fetish that will turn the stomach of even the most jaded reader of Hollywood bios and inveterate watcher of the “Danny Thomas Show” reruns.
So, what was this unusual and grotesque fetish? Well…how about defecating into the pot per se…
Bowers verifies the claim, “Was this true? Had Charles asked [his trick] to defecate into the pot? Is that what he had smeared on his sandwich? Well, apparently it was. Charles sat down, carefully placed one slice of bread on top of the other, neatly cut the stack in two, and then, without saying a word or even giving us a cursory glance, bit into it. After he had downed the entire sandwich, he got up and went to the sink to rinse off the plate.”
Bowers continues, “The practice certainly didn’t turn him (Bowers) on but it was patently clear that it was regarded as a normal and acceptable part of sexual activity by its devotees, with Charles Laughton being one of them. So who was I to judge? To each his own.”
Regardless of Bowers’ accuracy, that’s a question that each of us will answer for ourselves, all without ever knowing for sure whether Charles Laughton preferred whole wheat or plain white bread on his sandwiches. Or, mercifully, what the great actor ate for dessert.
A BISEXUAL QUEEN OF SEXUAL PERVERSION?
Tyrone Power was a major heartthrob during Hollywood’s Golden Age era as women were head over heels for Power but while on the surface and on screen he appeared as one thing, off screen, Power was actually much different according to Hollywood Golden Age pimp, Scotty Bowers. How Bowers puts it, “Women swooned over him, and he bedded quite a few of them, but he [Power] much preferred men,” Bowers writes.
Bowers doesn’t get to specific, but states that he and “Ty” would “get up to quite a few sexual shenanigans together.” Even out-of-the-closet homosexual actor Cesar Romero who was candid in the 1996 book, Hollywood Gays, confirmed that the twice-married Power was in fact, bisexual. Power actually had an enamored relationship with his eventual “Witness for the Prosecution” co-star Charles Laughton, who had some very unusual sexual fetishes but Laughton wasn’t alone in that department, as Power himself did too, according to Bowers’ confessions as this could explain why the 2 actors saw each other often.
Bowers though avers that, “The Prisoner of Zenda” and “Nightmare Alley” star Power, to use Bower’s term was a “doo-doo queen” who liked to have female partners expulsion their feces on him during sex. Where most people would find perversion, Bowers only finds different strokes for different folks. But that wasn’t the only fetish Power’s liked, he was also into what was commonly known in sexual activities as “water sports” or better known now, as a “golden shower” were an individual’s sexual partner urinates on them.
Thankfully, not much details have been fully given about such activities of Power (and Laughton for that matter) on their erotic infatuations but the less known, the better in this case.
In concluding, you may feel varyingly in how you view these actors and actresses when taking off those rose colored glasses from that picturesque perception many of us share of the Golden Age of Hollywood and some of its biggest stars in history, as things definitely take a contrastingly unaccustomed realm in perspective of the gritty and shadowy layered industry, known as Hollywood, in its golden years.
So, what do think of these secretive accessions and revelations of these Golden Age stars and Hollywood’s yesteryears? Does your conception and theorizations change in any way or stay the same? However one may look at it, the saying of “a double edge sword” metaphorically fits the on and off screen personas and the illusionism Hollywood plays on both ends of the spectrum. Which I guess you can say, in closing, is just part of the “magic of cinema” and the underbelly that bares beneath the landscape of Hollywood.
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