Rock Hudson, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Perkins, Farley Granger, Tab Hunter: Was any heartthrob movie star straight in the straitlaced 1950s? Hunter and Perkins dated each other for several years while the press reported phony stories that Hunter was involved with Debbie Reynolds or Natalie Wood. Born Arthur Kelm, he eventually made more than 50 movies after being rechristened "Tab Hunter" by his agent Henry Willson, a gay man who also handled Rock Hudson, Troy Donahue, Robert Wagner, and loads of others; read Willson's biography. Hunter's triumphs were Damn Yankees, Lafayette Escadrille, and That Kind of Woman. He recorded a pop song, Young Love, which was the #1 hit in the U.S. for a month in 1957, and made many subsequent albums. He had a short-lived television show and a famous flop on Broadway, co-starring with Tallulah Bankhead in Tennessee Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, which closed after five performances. Smaller movies followed. In the 1980s he had a comeback, starring twice with Divine, first in Polyester, then in Lust in the Dust, which he co-produced with Allan Glaser. Hunter did not come out until September 2003, when at 72, he sold a book proposal for a memoir that would discuss his life candidly. Tab Hunter Confidential appeared in 2005 and revealed he and his producer Allan Glaser have been romantic partners for twenty-eight years. They live in Montecito. Here's a recent photo of Hunter, Glaser, and John Waters.
Russo For ten years, from 1972 to 1982, Vito Russo toured the country giving what would later be a PowerPoint presentation about the portrayal of lesbians and gay men in the media. His devastating book on the subject, The Celluloid Closet, published in 1981 and revised in 1987, was years ahead of its time and remains essential reading today. The book was made into a documentary in 1996, six years after his death from aids. Russo’s sharp critique of the industry led him to co-found the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). It is hard to imagine the principled visionary connected to today’s GLAAD, which endorsed such overblown caricature-fests as Boat Trip and praised I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry despite the movie’s continual use of “stereotypes and slurs” according to Damon Romine, GLAAD’s director of entertainment media. Finally, Russo has been given the biography he deserves in Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo.