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.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tyrone Power, Hollywood Bisexual

Ohio-born movie star Tyrone Power (1914–1958) was the son of an actor. A practicing bi-sexual, Tyrone was involved with several men during his career, among them composer Lorenz Hart (lyricist of the Rodgers & Hart song writing team) and fellow actor Cesar Romero, who provided details about Power's same sex activity in interviews after Tyrone's death. Strikingly handsome Power had affairs with many of the attractive men on the movie lots. He was often seen in public with well known homosexuals, but he was so loved by the Hollywood community, that they turned a blind eye.

Power was liked and admired by men and women alike. His group of gay friends included director George Cukor and actors Clifton Webb, Lon McCallister (and his lover William Eythe), Cary Grant, Reginald Gardner, Van Johnson and bi-sexual billionaire Howard Hughes. Books and articles written about Power relate that the great gay love of Power's life was a lowly technician at 20th Century Fox, with whom he had a sexual and romantic relationship that lasted for decades.

Like most bi-sexual and homosexual Hollywood stars, Power lived in fear of being “found out.” Although studio head Darryl Zanuck liked Tyrone, he was afraid of losing Fox’s resident matinée idol and biggest moneymaker, should the truth of his homosexual activity become public. On the set of Suez (1939), Tyrone played opposite a French starlet named Annabella, who was older, self-assured and possessed of a frankness and down to earth attitude. Power liked her, and much to Hollywood's and his mother's surprise, they married. It was difficult to satisfy Zanuck, however, who was now worried that Power’s female fan base would be adversely affected by news of the marriage. Nevertheless, Power continued to have dalliances with both men and women alike. For a while in the early forties, he carried on a passionate affair with the young Judy Garland, which some felt led to the first of her many breakdowns.


With the advent of World War II, Power enlisted in the Marines and fought in the South Pacific, after which he negotiated a new contract with Fox. By 1946 he and Annabella had grown apart, and their marriage was over. He took a six week trip to South America with his on-again off-again male companion, gay actor Cesar Romero. Upon his return, he entered into a tempestuous relationship with Lana Turner, who was then the queen of MGM and between husbands. They made a striking couple, but Tyrone could see that life with Lana would be tempestuous and, instead, married Latin starlet Linda Christian, with whom he fathered two daughters before the marriage ended in the mid-fifties.

Reports of same sex relations continued. British comedian and actor Bob Monkhouse related in his 1994 autobiography Crying with Laughter that he had rejected sexual advances from Power. The fashion critic Mr. Blackwell had romantic moments in Power’s dressing room, as detailed in his 1995 autobiography From Rags to Bitches. In his book, Errol Flynn: The Untold Story, author Charles Higham reports that Power had a sexual relationship with Errol Flynn. According to William J. Mann, in his book Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969, Power was involved in numerous same sex relationships. In his book, The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's: A Gay Life in the 1940s, Ricardo J. Brown confirms that Tyrone Power and Tallulah Bankhead were among thespians and movie stars who were bisexual. In Oops, I Lost My Sense of Humor, Lois M. Santalo writes that "many stars of the silver screen, dating back to Tyrone Power," had been gay or bisexual. In Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon's (both of Sydney University) Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day, Power is listed among the "Top box office stars who were gay or bisexual". Your blogger has recently expanded this list of references for all those comments left by those who say I have no evidence, that I'm just repeating rumor. Read this post carefully -- I'm not saying Power was gay; I'm saying he was bisexual, engaging in sexual relations with both men and women.

Although Tyrone was only in his early forties, he was beginning to look older than his years. The busy Hollywood social life, the smoking, drinking, all night parties and other excesses were beginning to take their toll. He ignored the signs that he might have a weak heart like his father and continued to live as he always had. While filming Solomon and Sheba (1958), he did his own stunts and worked outside in the grueling sun, often in heavy armor. One afternoon on the set in Spain, during a dueling scene with George Sanders involving heavy swords, Tyrone collapsed. He'd suffered a massive heart attack and died before anything could be done. He was 44 years old.

In a brief career of 25 years, Tyrone Power had made 50 films. After his death those in the know began to speak openly of his homosexual dalliances. The women with whom he’d had affairs were incredulous, insisting that the rumors could not possibly be true. They proposed that the charges of homosexual relations were the work of jealous rivals who wanted to damage Power’s reputation. Sure. Why would they want to damage the reputation of a dead actor?



(above) Tyrone with popular harmonica player Jerry Adler, while serving in the South Pacific.

1936 photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston

62 comments:

  1. There is no proof whatsoever that Power wasgay or even bi. He never would have survived Darryl Zanuck's hatred of gay leading men. Please post factually

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    1. I don't make this stuff up. Read some reference material on Tyrone Power. Many, many people who knew him confirm the facts.

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    2. Who are all these anonymous posters? They need to come out and fess up.

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    3. HIS WHOLE MANNER IN REAL LIFE WAS AS A GAY NOTHING LIKE HIS FILM PERFORMANCES JUST SHOWS WHAT A GOOD ACTOR HE WAS

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    4. Darryl Zanuck didn't hate ANY leading man who could bring in big bucks for the studio. And Louis B. Mayer thought Van Johnson was so valuable to MGM that he ORDERED him to get married...which he did with the cooperation of his and Tyrone Power's best friend, who divorced his wife so Van could wed her. All in the family anyway!

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    5. I watch, rewatch, analyze all his movies and he was a good actor. Note he rarely kisses women on the mouth if he could avoid it especially as he got older and more financially secure. I think females look closely for this behavior.

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    6. His family prob posts the no-bi stuff, here.

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    7. If you watch Cary Grant movies, he rarely kisses a woman on the mouth. Watch an affair to remember, and you'll see on the stairs of the ship they don't show their faces when they're supposedly kissing. I can imagine they would find it uncomfortable to be kissing the opposite sex.

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    8. Please ignore rumours that's not facts you make the mistake of being in love with someone but refusing to accept the truth about someone, facts not rumours otherwise you wind up talking about a man who never lived in real life learn from the Rudolph valentine society website prove he was gay name sources not gay rights activist if not he was hetrosexual

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    9. read "Full Service"

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    10. He was married and had kids.He did not come off as gay to me.

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    11. that doesn't mean anything honey. there are turkey basters. I know many gay men who "don't act gay"!

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    12. that doesn't mean anything honey! I have known many gay and bisexual men who don't "act gay". As far as children, a woman can always get pregnant by another man!

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  2. He was my boyhood, teen idol. I wanted to be like him as a Teen by 1962-having all the girls hover over me, me with tyrone power looks. I was heart broken when i read the biography of T. Power's in 1979,and as honorably discharged from the the U.S. Marines in 1971; I was a fellow with something of a youthful memory that was just being a young,romantic dreamy head. I still sort of pray that someone comes forth and says that all that suttlebutt was big BS from backstabbers in his life time.

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    1. IT IS all BS...............how many others have been accused of the same thing. It is people just wanting to get their name in print.....what better way then to attack a dead man......they discuss me.

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  3. I am watching WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION with Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich who play a rather eccentric married couple. Movie was released in 1957 when Tyrone was 43 and Marlena was 56 years old. She looks fabulous while he has clearly lost his matinee idol good looks. One would never know the age difference by looking at them in this film.

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  4. I loved Tyrone Power in all his movies. He was a great actor and I don't really care if he was gay, bi, or whatever. He was a beautiful man.

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  5. Mrs. William Boyd once said she wouldn't go out with him because "he wasn't just handsome, he was beautiful."

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  6. Broadway actors have ALWAYS been involved in homosexuality, and the same is true of Hollywood hunks....except there's strong resistance to public knowledge on the West Coast. How naive can people be to think the 'casting couch' was reserved for only the Marilyn Monroes of the Silver Screen? Yes, I believe that Paul Newman lost a key "starter" role on Broadway to Ben Gazzara because the director, who had sampled both, preferred Gazzara in bed. And yes, I believe that the young Steve McQueen escaped a background of poverty through male prostitution. And Cary Grant with Randolph Scott? Without DOUBT. Ditto Marlon Brando and the well-endowed (!) Wally Cox. Come on, folks, it's SHOW BIZ!

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    1. do you really believe yourself??????????????

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    2. Here it is 2016 and I have been living in Hollywood now 35 years. Not much has changed over the years. The beat goes on. We now have evening movies on a blanket with snacks and wind in the place where Tyrone and many of his fellow actors are buried. The pretty boys and beautiful women still keep coming and enjoying the fruits of the land (so to speak)

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    3. And nobody knew he'd be dead within a year.

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  7. It seems such a strange way to live your life. So lonely and hidden however, that is the chosen path they led . This is one of the many prices of fame one has to endure.I am sure they felt some measure of happiness through riches and social acceptance. Most people are a fraud one way or the other.

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  8. Tyrone Power was so handsome and had such sex appeal to both women abd men that no wonder everyone wanted him. I am a hetersexual, but he probably would have turn me on in no time..

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  9. Never thought him handsome. Too adolescent. That sexless hairless body. Until "The Rains Came," when he had to put dark makeup (for him) all over his body to play a doctor in India. Myrna Loy, as a predatory Brit, says, "Who's the bronze Adonis?" Bronze, in those days, meant "not TOO dark." And indeed he looks fabulous that color. The only time he ever turned me on. (Myrna, of course ... but why spoil it? It's a TERRIFIC picture, won -- and deserved -- Hollywood's first Special Effects Oscar.)

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    1. I can feel some racist comments here: come on!

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    2. Hollywood had to de-hair him. He was very hirsute and manly.

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  10. I had friends who were Hollywood greengrocers and knew many stars. They knew Power and told me it was "common knowledge" that Power would... uh... have sex with "anything that moved."

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  11. Most of those straight actors from back in the day switched the other way to get movie roles in the beginning of their careers. Many of the casting directors and directors were gay. It was a small price to pay. I'm pretty sure it still goes on today to an extent.

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  12. Jealous people...way to much gossip...Power was a great actor and I dont believe a word of the gay references...just more BS for peopel to talk about!!

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  13. Why does it matter? He was gorgeous and I am sure both men and women had the hots for him. Still. He was a good actor. Too bad he never got to prove how good an actor he would've become

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  14. I don't care if he was with woman, men or trees, I loved him!

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  15. Ty power was a great actor. Loved him

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  16. I am shocked, but ilove him so much it doesn't matter

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  17. Back in the day I didn't think any of the male or female actors could kiss good, when the camera was on them...

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    1. what does it matter? what they've given us over the years!!!! may they all rest in peace!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. Isn't it just shame he couldn't just be himself... without the judgement of others.
      Let's all admire his acting skills and the wonderful films his talent graced.
      Marcus :-) .

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  18. Of course a lot of young wannabees of both sexes have had sex with both sexes in order t get ahead. Rumor (lol) has it that the reason George Cukor was fired from Gone With the Wind was due to Gable's demand. You see, rumor also has it that Cukor was a good friend of Billy Haines (a well known gay from early Hollywood) and Cukor knew that Gable had "gone thataway" with Haines when Gable was trying to get noticed in Hollywood. But so what? According to Lombard "Papa wasn't that great between the sheets." (LOL) Gossip? Don't you love it??

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  19. Why do people do that once someone has died people want a tell all book who care he was a great actor I loved him for his dedication the films he made he was so handsome I guess men and women wanted him

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  20. Why do people do that once you have died stuff seems to come out of the closet he was a great actor a ve r y handsome man no wonder men and women was after him lol who wouldn't I'm just sorry that he didn't take care of himself like many stars they die young

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  21. These are all lies. It is sad that rubbish like that is allowed to be published !!!!

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    1. From your blogger:
      OK, Sarah. Tell us how you know these comments are all lies. How are you an expert on the life of Tyrone Power - and those who have done years of research are not? I suspect you're just another starry-eyed fan who lives in denial and lashes out at those whose facts don't jibe with your adoration. I look forward to your proof that these statements are lies.

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  22. Very good example of matinee idol. Leave it at that

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  23. Great matinee idol. Not a great actor but not a bad one. Leave it at that

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  24. No, I had heard years ago that a rather common girl from Mississippi had declared to her family that she was going to go to Hollywood and marry a movie star. The story (unverified) was that she indeed went to Hollywood and married a certain Tyrone Power.

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  25. i dont care what orientation tyrone power was. he was a kind man..a superbe actor...watch nightmare alley...and he could do know wrong in my eyes. the only thing i detest about him was that dangling white cigarette that always seem to follow him every minute.it didnt help his early demise. and to top it all TODAY IN THEFUTURE.....there will never be a better looking man. flawless clean or un clean....hehas the physique andtheface of an adonis. clooney cruise pitt...im sorry you have a long way to go before surpassing him. so haters ask yourselves one question....AND IM NORMAL.

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  26. Such a shame that actors like Tyrone Power,the likes of which Hollywood will never produce again had to hide their personal lives due to the era they lived in.They must have endured terrible unhappiness to an unknown world.My mother thought he was the best looking actor she had ever seen,if only she knew the truth!

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  27. i loved tyrone i watch all his old movies he was the most handsome actor on the screen. i dont believe the gay rumors.i almost married a man that could have been his double. but he was 10 years younger than me with his tyrone power looks he would of broke my heart .although he said i was beautiful. looks dont last forever.

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  28. Great post. And as they say: if there's smoke, there is a fire... Thank you!

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  29. I am Closet Gay and Tyrone and Robert Stack still make my heart race and my kness weak just looking at them. Hot Damn,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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  30. I also admire Tyrone Power. He was brilliant as an actor. He lived in different times. I respect him. I went to his grave today and it is a beautiful setting by a lake. He is at peace now.

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  31. Tyrone Power. Keanu Reeves. Leo DiCaprio. Get a clue.

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  32. He was born to portray Larry Darrell of The Razors Edge. Yes a super handsome man who also had a spiritual allure about him. I don't care if he was gay or not...how about a late lifetime achievement award. Modern screen actors do not have a presence like Power or Peck. I wish he had lived to make more movies.

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  33. I love the term "practicing bisexual" at the beginning of the article. I assume he was beyond practicing and rather accomplished.

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  34. According to Mark Harris, Martha Raye's husband, Cesar Romero said that Tyrone was the love of his life. Mark reveled this in the 90s during an interview with Howard Stern.

    I just wanted to leave that little bit of information here for people who'd like to know about it.

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