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.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Part 3: Paul Newman meets Anthony Perkins

29-year-old Paul Newman was working on his first Hollywood film, The Silver Chalice (1954), when he moved into an apartment at the Chateau Marmont, where James Dean was also a resident. On his first afternoon there, Paul was relaxing by the pool when he was approached by Anthony Perkins, who introduced himself as Tony. According to Maila Nurmi, a long-time friend and confidante of Tony’s, Perkins told her that the two found themselves in bed within minutes of meeting. For the next few weeks they were engaged in an intensely sexual relationship. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Perkins was a handsome, tortured homosexual who really wanted to be straight. Newman was bisexual, but was like a kid in a candy store, sampling whatever satisfied his sweet tooth, be it male or female. Perkins and Newman never intended to become a couple, but they were both sexually adventurous. Perkins was also involved at the time with Tab Hunter and Robert Francis. In fact, most of the twenty-something male Hollywood stars were all sleeping with each other, but Newman was the only one married with three kids at the time.

Newman began his relationship with Joanne Woodward as an affair during his marriage to first wife Jackie. Even after Newman married Joanne, he and Perkins kept up a decades-long on-again, off-again relationship. Thirteen years later Perkins would have his first sexual experience with a woman, Victoria Principal, oddly while co-starring in a film with Newman, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. It must have been quite a reunion for Perkins, working with former flame Newman as well as Tab Hunter. I forgot to mention Roddy McDowall was in the cast, as well; the actors' cafeteria must have been like a gay bar. Perkins was 39 years old. Although Perkins went on to marry and have children, he died tragically from AIDS in 1992 at age sixty.

There were awkward times when the two were up for the same parts. Perkins was suggested by Alfred Hitchcock himself for the male lead in Torn Curtain, but Universal Studios preferred box-office champ Paul Newman. Perkins was devastated.

One big happy family (photo below):
Anthony Perkins, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward star in WUSA (1970)

It is a tantalizing fact that Paul Newman, Anthony Perkins and Joanne Woodward all starred together in WUSA (A Hall of Mirrors) in 1970. Co-producer Paul Newman called it "the most significant film I've ever made and the best." Critics disagreed. The film is about a New Orleans radio station (WUSA) involved in a right-wing conspiracy. It culminates with a riot and stampede at a patriotic pep-rally when an assassin on a catwalk opens fire.


Source:
Darwin Porter’s biography, “Paul Newman: The Man Behind the Baby Blues” (2009). 

3 comments:

  1. Anthony Perkins passed away in September 1992, not 1990.....

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