Role models of greatness.
Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Howard Hughes, Part III
Things started to go south for Howard in a big way. After the plane crash he started having debilitating migraine headaches, and his hearing loss worsened. He was having more and more frequent bouts of impotence, especially with women. He started to use cocaine, and he suffered a nervous breakdown, to boot. Once the best dressed man in Hollywood, Hughes began to appear in public in wrinkled, sloppy clothes. Hughes was also becoming involved in dealings with the mob, particularly Bugsy Siegel. Even worse, Howard turned into a scathing bigot, disdainful of Jews and blacks. A rare bright note was the enormous success of The Front Page, a film Hughes produced in 1931.
However, his taste in the handsomest men in Hollywood continued unabated: Robert Taylor, Tyrone Power, George O’Brien, Johnny Mack Brown and many, many others. When Clark Gable first arrived in Hollywood, he dropped trou for several influential men, including Billy Haines and Howard – anything to get ahead and become a star. When über-gay George Cukor was directing Gable in Gone with the Wind, he teased him about his earlier dalliances with Haines and Hughes. Gable never spoke to Cukor again while on the set, and he led a successful effort to get Cukor fired (Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming).
Howard’s attention drifted away from making films to the field of aviation. He became more and more eccentric. For example, all he would eat was rare steak and peas (but they had to be very small peas), and he started buying his clothes from thrift stores. He became hopelessly paranoid and insanely jealous of anyone who threatened to topple him from the mountaintop. His jealousy over the feats of aviation by Charles Lindbergh manifested itself into fits of screaming and profanity. After the kidnaping of Lindbergh’s child, Hughes became obsessed with security.
Because of his wealth and power, his homosexual proclivities were not well known to the public during his lifetime. However, enough of his employees and colleagues survived after his death in 1976 to be able to speak openly about the subject without fear of reprisal. Turns out they had plenty to talk about.
Howard Hughes: The Secret Life (1993) by Charles Higham
Howard Hughes: Hell’s Angel (2005) by Darwin Porter