Gay Hollywood - Thursdays in June
Before the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, Hollywood's gay community was forced to stay in the shadows, both on the screen and off. Depictions of same-sex love in the movies were rare and often coded, and members of the film industry were expected to draw a discreet veil over any gay tendencies. The sexual revolution and the increasingly visible LGBT-rights movement changed that, and now TCM brings us out of the celluloid closet to honor some of the men and women whose talents transcended their orientation.
MGM star William Haines (Just a Gigolo, 1931) is considered the first openly gay Hollywood actor, sharing his life with a male companion from 1923, and seeing his movie career end after a gay scandal in 1933. Film celebrities of the 1940s who remained closeted included composer Cole Porter (Night and Day, 1946) and actor Clifton Webb (The Razor's Edge, 1946).
Some of the most popular "heartthrobs" of the 1950s and '60s would eventually prove to be gay, including Rock Hudson (All That Heaven Allows, 1955), Montgomery Clift (Suddenly, Last Summer, 1960) and Anthony Perkins (Psycho, 1960).
Two of America's finest playwrights were gay and had their seminal plays adapted for the screen: Tennessee Williams (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958) and Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1966). Actress Linda Hunt has been quite open about her relationship and subsequent marriage to her partner, and won an Academy Award® for her portrayal as a male character in The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). Oscar® winner Joel Grey (Cabaret, 1972) came out of the closet but it took him a while--until 2015, when he was 82!