Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Anthony Perkins: sexually conflicted actor
Perkins was a veteran of stage, screen and TV, even earning an Oscar nomination for Friendly Persuasion, but he lived in utter fear that Confidential magazine would out him, as it did with Tab Hunter, one of his early lovers. Perkins had two sons with Berenson, but he died of AIDS in 1992 at age sixty; he did not acknowledge during his lifetime that he had the disease, even though the National Enquirer broke the story two years before his death.
For over a decade Perkins lived in a platonic relationship with photographer Helen Merrell, a dominating force of a woman 14 years his senior. Merrell went on to become an influential theatrical agent and philanthropist.
In the late 1950s, Perkins released three pop song albums, but a career as a singer never materialized, although he did have several successful singing roles in Broadway musicals. Perkins also worked as a stage actor. In 1958, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor for his performance in the Broadway play Look Homeward, Angel. During this time he also starred in Green Mansions (1959) with Audrey Hepburn and the college comedy Tall Story (1960) with Jane Fonda.
His widow, Berry Berenson, was tragically killed while aboard American Airlines flight 11 as it crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
In a role that forever defined him: Perkins (as Norman Bates) with Janet Leigh in Hitchcock's masterpiece PSYCHO: