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

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  • B

    Ol’ George’s gay stereotype of his twin “gay” brother (Bunny) was repulsive in “Zorro the Gay Blade”. I wonder if he would have done “black face” if he were a silent picture star.

  • MEJ

    From Stories Scott Thompson has told, Georgie boy likes to “take it to the hilt” too, if ya know what I mean.

  • christopher di spirito

    What has changed? How many out leading men are A-listers in Hollywood in 2012? List just three. You can’t because audiences won’t buy a gay man as a leading man in a role.

  • Jaroslaw

    This is 50 or 60 years ago – why all the coyness now? Name names!

  • barry


    Zorro, the Gay blade was a hilarious movie. And yes it did play on stereotypes but that was thirty years ago.

  • christopher di crapito

    @Jaroslaw: Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Tyrone Power, Robert Conrad, George Peppard, James Dean, Anthony Perkins, George Nader, etc.

  • christopher di spirito

    @David Ehrenstein: If I’m wrong, prove it. Name three leading male A-listers in Hollywood who are openly gay. BTW, I haven’t said “over and over and over and over and over again.” I said it once.

  • Alan brickman

    Calling dead actors gay does seem a bit desperate….

  • Take-Back-Christopher-Street

    @Alan brickman: Calling dead actors “straight” not only seems a bit desperate, but it also seems a bit asinine.

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