Veteran Gay Actor
Veteran stage, film and TV actor George Grizzard (pronounced Griz-ZARD) was a gay man who was associated with the stage dramas of Edward Albee – he originated the stage role of Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (shown seated in photo above). Grizzard commented that during rehearsals he never realized it would be such a big hit. “Then it caught on like wildfire – the reaction from people and the crowds clamoring to get in. It was startling. It is such a brilliant play on so many levels. It made people's minds go wild in 1962.”
An early film success was in Otto Preminger’s Advise and Consent (1962). Notably, Grizzard portrayed John Adams in the PBS TV miniseries The Adams Chronicles (1976), but his work ran the gamut, from appearances on TV’s Golden Girls, Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Law & Order to Clint Eastwood’s film, Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Grizzard’s last movie appearance. In a varied career spanning 50 years, he was cast in 40 films, hundreds of television episodes and numerous Broadway plays. Both his Broadway and films debuts were made with Paul Newman.
Everyone liked him, and everyone knew he was gay. Because Grizzard lived quietly and respectfully, the media treated him in kind. His partner of nearly 40 years was William Tynan, also a stage and TV actor. Grizzard kept his ego in check and had a strong work ethic. He also won Emmys and Tonys and was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2002.
Grizzard died in 2007 at the age of 79 from lung cancer in NYC, where he lived with his partner, although Grizzard and Tynan also maintained a country home together in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
In this film clip from Advise and Consent, he appears with a very young Betty White.
And excellent tribute to Grizzard can be found in this article: