TAN LINES

George Hamilton: Gay Actors In The Studio Era Had Each Other—And Liz Taylor

[Years ago,] the rule of thumb at the studio was that you could not wear any form of religious medal—that divided your audience immediately. You didn’t take big stands—actors were not to be politicians. Most actors I’ve known don’t have a lot of really terrific ideas about politics and all that. They have this very liberal attitude and take it to the hilt. But gay…

Well, it was said that if you were gay, you could not be a leading man. It was a dictum that was not verbally spoken, but generally thought by the studios. I knew actors that were gay. I went under contract with several at the very end. And they played heterosexual parts — look at Rock Hudson in Giant, what an incredible role he played. I think that dual life was very hard for all of them because they were playing something they really weren’t. But they all knew each other and there were people who were not only accepting of it but who—well, Elizabeth Taylor, for instance. Elizabeth loved Rock. She loved Monte Clift. She understood what was going on in the studios.”

—George Hamilton, currently appearing in La Cage Aux Folles at Washington, DC‘s Kennedy Center, in Metro Weekly