Showing posts with label Hollywood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hollywood. Show all posts

July 12, 2019

Gay History Shows Hollywood Marrying Off Their Gay Stars Out of Fear They Might Not Make as Much $

During the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1920s, actors and actresses shot to fame—but only if they tailored their images to the demands of the big studios. For LGBT actors, that often meant marrying a person of the opposite sex.
The early 20th century represented a unique time for LGBT people in the country. Throughout the Roaring Twenties, men dressed as women and gender non-conformity and queerness weren't as taboo in big cities as they would be years later.
Queerness could be appreciated on stage but in the everyday lives of major stars it was often hidden in sham unions known as "lavender marriages," according to Stephen Tropiano, professor of Screen Studies at Ithaca College and author of The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV.
These marriages were arranged by Hollywood studios between one or more gay, lesbian or bisexual people in order to hide their sexual orientation from the public. They date back to the early 20th century and carried on past the gay liberation movement of the 1960s.
Lavender marriages were a solve in part for “moral clauses” issued by big studios at the time. The clauses, first introduced by Universal Film Company, permitted the company to discontinue actors' salaries "if they forfeit the respect of the public.” The kind of behavior deemed unacceptable ranged widely from criminal activity to association with any conduct that was considered indecent or startling to the community. The clauses exist to this day.
“We have to remember that a lot of these decisions that were being made, they were economic decisions,” says Tropiano. “It was about a person holding on to their career.” 
One of the earliest speculated lavender marriages was the 1919 union of silent film actor and early sex symbol Rudolph Valentino and actress Jean Acker, who was rumored to have been a lesbian. On the couple’s wedding night, Acker apparently quickly regretted the marriage and locked her new husband out of their hotel room, according to a November 8, 1991 The New York Times article. Soon after, they got divorced.

Rudolph Valentino and Jean Acker
Rudolph Valentino and Jean Acker, circa 1920s.
Valentino also married costume designer Natacha Rambova in 1923, at a time when his career was starting to take off and the roles he played were seen as less typically masculine, such as in the film “Monsieur Beaucaire” in 1924. His marriage to Rambova ended in 1925, which left some speculating that the marriages of the “pink powder puff” (a nickname Valentino acquired after playing effeminate roles on screen) were coverups to keep the sex symbol’s reputation intact
Identifying how many Hollywood couples tied the knot to cloak their sexuality is, of course problematic since it’s primarily based on speculation.
“I think the hardest thing for a historian is to kind of sift through what the rumor [is] and what is actually factual," says Tropiano.
One commonly cited source for speculation is the memoir of Scotty Bowers, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars. Bowers’ account details sexual encounters, gay and straight, that he claims he both arranged and took part in, beginning in 1946. Bowers wrote that he had been sexually involved with leading actor Cary Grant and his roommate, Randolph Scott, for more than a decade. At the time, Grant was cycling through five marriages with women. Grant’s daughter, Jennifer Grant, has disputed the allegations, through her spokeswoman, saying in 2012 that her father as “very straight,” according to The New York Times.   Actor Cary Grant and his roommate, Randolph Scott, for more than a decade. At the time, Grant was cycling through five marriages with women. Grant’s daughter, Jennifer Grant, has disputed the allegations, through her spokeswoman, saying in 2012 that her father as “very straight,” according to The New York Times.

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott
Actors Cary Grant and Randolph Scott lived together in the 1930s.

Grant died in 1986, and many of the subjects whose lives Bowers describes are also deceased. Some have questioned whether Bowers' accounts in the autobiography, and the corresponding 2017 documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, are accurate. But the self-proclaimed “fixer” includes details and photographs that he argues back up his claims. 
Among the most speculated lavender marriages was between the famed actor Rock Hudson and his secretary Phyllis Gates. They married in 1955 and separated two years later, after rumors of his homosexuality and infidelity began to pile up. 
Waves of rumors and speculation around Hudson’s affairs became so widespread that they even helped foster the growth of celebrity tabloid journalism. The publication Confidential became popular in the mid-1950s by featuring salacious celebrity news. The tabloid outed popular figures like Hudson before outing was even a thing. Despite the coverage, Hudson never addressed his sexual orientation publicly before he died of AIDS in 1985. 

 Image result for rock hudson phyllis gates
Rock Hudson and his bride Phyllis Gates at their 1955 wedding.

Even with the common—yet unspoken—knowledge that the two men were romantically involved, Haines’ popularity didn’t take a hit until years later. That’s when he was given an ultimatum, either get married to a woman or he would be dropped by MGM, according to Tropiano.

William Haines
William Haines, circa 1932.
“[Haines] had to make a choice between getting rid of his male partner and having a career,” says Tropiano. “And he actually chose the male partner.”
Haines then left the silver screen behind to create a successful interior design business with his partner. He’s now often considered one of Hollywood’s first openly gay stars.
Lavender marriages became less prevalent in the 1960s and ‘70s as the gay rights movement gained momentum following the Stonewall Riots of 1969
Although representation in film and on television was still scarce, the actual lives of the stars on screen—straight, gay or bisexual—weren’t dictated by studios as much as they had been in the past

May 3, 2019

Greg Berlani Comes Out and Says GAY Execs Blocked Him From Casting Gay Actors

Greg Berlanti

Though queer representation on television is at an all time high right now, the reality is that many times, gay and trans actors and actresses are only relegated to characters that match those roles. It’s for that reason, in fact, that some believe that queer and trans roles should only go to queer and trans actors — as without them they might not be cast at all. If you don’t believe us, director Greg Berlanti, who has headlined projects like Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, recently spoke out about his own experiences.
“Early on in my career there were gay execs and gay casting people who were the least likely to let me cast an actor they knew was gay in a straight part,” Berlanti, who also directed Love, Simontold The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “These were the individuals who knew how important it would be.”
And that importance is significant; if an actor is cast as a gay character it can become an inextricable part of their brand. Daniel Franzese, who played Damian in Mean Girls said that he began to hit a “gay glass ceiling” after his success. People kept reaching out with projects for him to play what he saw as stereotypical gay characters based on tropes, and his refusal to take those jobs left him broke. And while eventually he was cast in a more complex role by way of HBO’s Looking, one option out of this would have been to get cast in something different all together; a straight role — the little work he did have on Sopranos dried up after Mean Girls.
But times have changed and in ways, Berlanti is calling the shots. He cast Nicole Maines as television’s first transgender superhero in Supergirl and routinely makes LGBTQ+ inclusion a priorityon his sets.

December 10, 2018

Keith Hart Now Knows What Most Americans Knew: There is No Tolerance to Joke About Pain



While some might view comedian Kevin Hart as a victim of political correctness after being called out for anti-gay jokes he made years ago, others see the response to him as the latest example of how Americans are increasingly intolerant of blatant discrimination.
Not long after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announcedthat comedian Kevin Hart would be hosting the 2019 Oscars ceremony, there was backlash about Hart’s past tweets and comments directed toward the LGBTQ community.
As the backlash grew, anyone who has watched these situations play out in the past knew there was a strong chance that Hart ultimately would not be fulfilling a long-held dream of hosting one of the most prestigious awards shows in entertainment. The comedian announced Friday on Twitter that he was stepping down from hosting the ceremony after the academy asked him to apologize for his past tweets — something he initially refused to do.
This is not the first time the Oscars has made headlines surrounding its relationship with historically marginalized groups. Activist April Reign helped bring attention to the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees in 2015 with her hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. And the academy apologized in 2016 for jokes host and comedian Chris Rock made about Asian children that critics deemed racist. 

And the Oscar for most homophobic host ever goes to...

View image on Twitter
I wonder when Kevin Hart is gonna start deleting all his old tweets πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 But this might be the first time that conversations about diversity and inclusion involving the Oscars attracted this much attention after the 2016 election, which saw identity politics become a far more common lens through which many view politics and culture.
In many ways, Hollywood is one of the most pro-LGBT spaces in our society. But that Hart may have been hired without a full vetting is still telling.
“The entertainment industry is like any other institution in our country. It’s not perfect,” activist Keith Boykin, who worked on LGBT issues in the Clinton administration, told the Fix. “The industry is still evolving and slowly adapting to demands for inclusion.”
In the current political climate, where seven in 10 Americans think homosexuality should be accepted in society, according to the Pew Research Center, there’s been a growing desire to see LGBT people in greater positions of visibility and influence — especially in politics — leading those conversations. Openly LGBT candidates were elected in record numbers during last month’s midterms.
While one of Hart’s responses to his critics accused them of having “negative energy” by bringing up his past attacks toward a particular community, the comedian previously seemed aware of the real consequences of isolating a segment of the American — and global — audience. He told Variety that he was unwilling to criticize President Trump, in part, to avoid alienating the president’s supporters.
When you jump into that political realm you’re alienating some of your audience. The world today, it’s really not a laughing matter. It’s serious. I don’t want to draw attention to things I don’t have nice things to say about.
When I used the word ‘alienate,’ here’s why. The way that I see it, my job as a comedian is to spread positivity. To make people laugh. And I don’t want to draw attention to what’s already pissing us as a people off.
Everybody’s not going to see things the way I want to see them. And they shouldn’t. That’s what makes us individuals. In that particular realm, I keep my opinions to myself. And like I said, if I don’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say it at all. I’m not in the business of trashing people.
Hart’s apology to the LGBT community, in which he explained that he is evolving, has attracted quite a bit of attention based on retweets. He explained that he is becoming a person who is less interested in disrespecting groups of people. When this controversy fades, as all do, the comedian who built his brand on crossing lines will likely have the opportunity to be more mindful of those on the receiving end of his punchlines.

August 8, 2018

Hollywood City Council Passes Resolution To Remove Trump's Star on Walk of Fame

Samantha SchmidtThe Washington Post

Since before the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star has seen just about everything. It was smashed into pieces — twice. It was vandalized with a swastika, enclosed with a miniature border wall, defaced with profanity and graced with the presence of a gold-painted toilet telling passersby to "TAKE A TRUMP."
Trump supporters have fought back, defending the star. Late last month, hours after a man destroyed the star with a pickax, a fierce brawl ensued, leaving one person kicked in the head and another bleeding from the face. 

The site has become a symbol not only of the nation's celebrity president but of the polarization surrounding him. And a nearby city council has had enough of it.
On Monday night, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to ask for the removal of Trump's star, due to the president's "disturbing treatment of women and other actions that do not meet the shared values of the City of West Hollywood, the region, state, and country." It cited President Donald Trump's lewd comments on the Access Hollywood tape, his policy of separating families at the border, and his denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Since the city of West Hollywood does not have any control over the Walk of Fame, the council's resolution simply urges the City Council of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove the star.
"These are the sort of icons and images that define us as Americans," West Hollywood Mayor John Duran told The Washington Post late Monday night. "To think that we would pay tribute to someone who's causing such a horrible disaster to our country's values."
Trump received his star on the Walk of Fame in 2007 for his work as the producer of the Miss Universe Pageant. His is one of more than 2,500 coral terrazzo and brass stars on the two-mile stretch of the popular Hollywood tourist attraction. Each year a committee sifts through about 200 nominations to select 20 to 24 new stars to add to the Walk of Fame.

The city council of West Hollywood, which neighbors Los Angeles, has "never felt compelled to intervene" in decisions regarding the Walk of Fame, Duran said. The council didn't make such calls for star removal when scores of powerful men in Hollywood were accused of misconduct amid the #MeToo movement. It did not pass a similar resolution to eliminate the star of Bill Cosby after the disgraced comedian was convicted of sexual assault.

"They've had their day in court, they've had their trial," Duran said of men like Cosby. But this time is different, Duran said, because Trump is the "leader of the free world." "There's a sense of lawlessness that is occurring that is largely being orchestrated by the president." The council passed the resolution not because Trump is a conservative or Republican, Duran said, but because he has created a "constitutional crisis."
In light of the revelations of the #MeToo movement, the city's resolution also asks that the officials overseeing the Walk of Fame consider revisiting the qualifications for earning a star. West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John D'Amico, who introduced the proposal, thinks the Walk of Fame "needs to do a deep dive into their history" and consider what other stars should be removed, he said in an interview with The Post.
Duran acknowledges that the resolution is, at this point, purely symbolic. Leron Gubler, the president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which oversees the Walk of Fame, said in a statement to CNN that it will refer the issue to the group's Executive Committee for consideration at its next meeting. "As of now, there are no plans to remove any stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame," Gubler said. 

Despite previous demands to remove Cosby and Trump's stars, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has refused to do so.
"The answer is no," Gubler said in 2015 in response to inquiries about the Cosby and Trump stars. "The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a registered historic landmark. Once a star has been added to the Walk, it is considered a part of the historic fabric of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Because of this, we have never removed a star from the Walk."
So the council's resolution is not likely to do much in the immediate future. Still, the move drew a rowdy crowd of an estimated 100 people to city hall Monday night, where residents were encouraged to weigh in on the debate.
Emotions ran high. Insults were shouted across the room. At one point, Duran had to remind those in the audience to have a civilized debate, even though today's politics may "seem uncivilized."
Among those who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting was a 24-year-old named Austin Mikel Clay, who introduced himself by saying, "You may know me as the man who actually destroyed Donald Trump's star."
Clay turned himself into police after he swung a pickax at Trump's star at 3 a.m. late last month. He is now facing a felony charge of vandalism and is expected to be arraigned next week.
Wearing a black blazer and white button-down shirt, Clay said he felt Trump's star was a threat to public safety. "With all the violence that's erupting over the star in its current condition, I could see someone getting seriously hurt."
He called Trump "unethical" and "fraudulent," and criticized him for "putting children in cages," and removing them from their parents at the border."He is racist. He's a bigot," Clay said.
"I would like to preserve the integrity of the Walk of Fame as an honorable landmark for the American landscape," Clay said.
A number of Trump supporters at the meeting condemned the resolution. "He earned it," said one woman, who described herself as a Latina supporter of the president. "It needs to be respected. Be proud of that star."
"You want to remove stars? Start with all the pedophilia in Hollywood," she added.
A transgender man, James Wen, stepped up to the microphone to decry the president's move to ban transgender members of the military. "Stars in the military are awarded to great leaders, great generals," Wen said. "This is our commander in chief and when a commander in chief, when a general is not becoming of their position, they are either asked to resign or a star is removed. It is time to have the star removed."
As Wen walked back to his seat, Duran said he heard someone in the audience yell out to Wen, "You're actually a woman. Start acting like a girl."
In a video of the meeting, Duran is seen pounding a gavel on the table in front of him.
"Excuse me. We do not speak to members of the transgender community with such horrible remarks," he said, prompting a round of applause from the audience.
Later in the meeting, Duran said that some of the comments made by Trump supporters in the audience "are a reflection of that anger and angst and divisiveness" in the country right now.
Their behavior "pretty much solidified that what we're doing is right," Duran said.

June 11, 2018

Actor Jackson Odell Dead at 20 [Ari at The Goldbergs]

Jackson Odell

Jackson Odell has died at the age of 20.
The musician and actor, best known for his role as Ari Caldwell on ABC’s The Goldbergs from 2013 to 2015, was found unresponsive at his Tarzana, California, residence on Friday, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE. His cause of death is pending an autopsy.
“The Odell family has lost our beloved son and brother, Jackson Odell, on Friday,” his family in a statement posted to his Twitter page. “He will always be a shining light and a brilliant, loving and talented soul. He had so much more to share. Our family will always carry that truth forward. Our wish is that the rest of the world who knew and loved him does as well.”
The family continued, “We are now going to try to make sense of our immeasurable loss privately. We will not be making any more statements.”
The actor’s career also included small roles on Private PracticeModern Family, iCarly and Arrested Development. 
He was also a singer-songwriter who contributed several original songs to the soundtrack for the 2018 movie Forever My Girl.  
Actress Ariel Winter mourned his loss on social media, writing about their time together on Modern Family.
“Devastated to hear about the passing of Jackson Odell,” she wrote. “I knew Jackson since we were 12 years old, and he even appeared in an episode of Modern Family. We didn’t talk much as we entered our high school years, but I’m glad I got to spend time with him before his end. Very hard for me to hear about anyone passing away, but someone so young really saddens me. Sending love to his family and friends.”

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