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.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Part 4: Paul Newman meets Steve McQueen

"I thought Newman was arrogant.
When I finally got him into bed, I taught him who the man was."
– Steve McQueen on Paul Newman

They first met on the set of Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956, rooftop photo below). McQueen approached Newman and propositioned him after engaging in crude, even insulting banter. Newman later told his friend Janice Rule that as they ended their conversation, McQueen planted a wet, sloppy kiss on him. With tongue.

Thus began a rivalrous relationship that was frequently acrimonious. McQueen turned down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) because he wouldn’t accept second billing to Newman. The two fought like cats and dogs over the positioning of their names on the movie poster for Towering Inferno (1974). McQueen was a brash liar, but Newman found himself strangely attracted to him, and there was obvious sexual tension between the two. But Paul was also having a sexual relationship with Sal Mineo at the time, and Mineo had fallen madly in love with him and wanted to live together as a couple. When Paul rejected that offer, Mineo attempted suicide.

By this time Newman had moved his mistress, Joanne Woodward, into the Chateau Marmont. If those walls could talk. Christopher Isherwood called on Paul and Joanne. Gore Vidal was a resident on a different floor (as a cover, Woodward considered marrying Vidal to further the future of his race for the U.S. presidency). Marilyn Monroe once knocked on Newman’s door with a bottle of champagne and got lucky, since Paul was alone that afternoon. Grace Kelly hit on him at the Chateau Marmont – it was Newman who felt lucky that day.   

Photo: Rivals McQueen and Newman spar on the rooftop in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)

When a friend took Newman to task for using a clean-cut image to hide a calculating, black heart, Paul had to listen to a life assessment as one of betrayal, deceit and lies. His friend suggested that Woodward had no inkling of the nefarious activity Paul was up to. Newman replied, “You’re right. Secretly I’m a devil. I can be a very, very bad boy.”

But I digress.

About this time Newman developed a serious man crush on Robert Wagner, but it did not turn sexual. Two later crushes (Robert Redford and Tom Cruise) also ended with similar results. Fortunately Newman was able to satisfy his need for man-on-man sex with McQueen, who was still hitting on him. Once Newman agreed to meet Steve in a cheap hotel in Long Beach, where McQueen said, “I’ve got every horny woman in Hollywood trying to get me to f*ck her. I need a break, a different kind of action now and then. You’re the kind of change I have in mind.” This sort of clandestine activity between the Hollywood rivals went on for years.

Just around the corner was one of Newman’s great cinematic triumphs, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), in which he plays a repressed homosexual by the name of Brick. James Dean was lined up for the role, but he died in a car crash before production began. In the film version, the direct homosexual references were removed from the Tennessee Williams script in order to satisfy then current production codes. The film script dances around the reasons Brick and Cat (Elizabeth Taylor) haven’t slept together in years, but mention of the suicide of Brick’s close football chum Skipper is retained.

Newman told Tennessee Williams, "The role of Brick is perfect for me. All my life I've been split into two different directions. One side of me wants to live life with my gay football buddy Skipper, the other side is tempted to fuck the living shit out of Maggie the Cat and be the heterosexual stud most of my fans want me to be."

Hollywood insiders divulge that Elvis Presley was considered for the part of Brick, and that Elvis and Paul got together to talk about it. Elvis asked about Newman’s friendship with James Dean. Newman swore that Elvis told him, “I’ll make a confession. I’m about the straightest dude that ever walked the planet. But if that f*cker ever called me, I’d come running. I guess you’d say I have an obsession with Dean.”

Faye Dunaway tries to keep the rivals apart in Towering Inferno (1974)

Well, honestly. The next time I go shopping for salad dressing, it won't be the image of starving children that comes to mind.

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


  1. Was there any straight men in Hollywood?

    1. Not to hear the LGBT crowd tell it...

    2. Man no wonder Hugh Beaumont split right after the leave it to beaver was done to start his tree farm in Missouri, and thank God for Elvis, Adam West, Robert Redford, Robert Wagner, and any other straight people in hollywierdland' I looked up to a lot of those freaks you mentioned, I guess you have to be kind of weird inside to want that life to much, no wonder the king went back to graceland all the time.

    3. Yee gods you guys are thick and that's not a pun; thick as in like a brick. It has NOTHING to do we being straight or gay. BEFORE the liberation of the mid 70's guys (and gals) HAD FUN! Sex is sex and there was a lot of it... What's the difference between Monroe knocking on the door or McQueen? Good healthy ILLICT fun if you ask me, and a good many did back in those days, is fun because it is illicit and illicit because it breaks "norms"...
      I know, to you thick bricks that it seems like everyone is being outed these days and you ask yourself if there where any straight actors "back then" but again, you just do not get it.
      These days we live amongst "labels"... A guy ( or gal) has to be "This or "That" because everything is branded, people are a brand... How dull. Everyone is looking over their shoulder afraid of getting "branded" thus afraid of living.
      Guys use to go to gym class, strip take a shower and get on with the rest of their day. These days, guys shower in their gym shorts, if at all (!) giving themselves ULSERS about having to be seen ( what a trauma) and compared. Shower and get on with it... Just like back then... Screw and get back on the set for take 2!
      The MOST WORRISOME thing I read was that admiration for those guys of yore seem now lost because they played catch the soap In the shower... In that case stop communication altogether since there is a hidden close somewhere about something in everyone's lives.
      If these recent "outings" mean anything they should mean " who cares" we should all be able to shower without our shorts on bros!

  2. LOL funny as hell. .All men in Hollyweird are fags

  3. Two of the sexiest guys in Hollywood on the downlow?

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Steve Mc queen gay? I don't believe it. Impossible.
    Paul Newman Gay? Possible..

  6. i dont like your judgemental expressions "a calculating, black heart", "the nefarious activity " - the attitude of sleeping around was prevalent at the time

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  9. The way the writer is insinuating that every goodlooking Hollywood actor was gay is insulting to intelligent people .You honestly expect us to believe that all gays are goodlooking and therefore these handsome actors are gay ? Well gays in real life are in the Elton John mode and worse .

    Obviously some of these actors may have been bi.I am not sure but listen...if they were bi or are right.Its their life and their business and now they can't answer because they are dead but supposing they were gay or bi.....they certainly were not hero's in any way apart from for the gay community and if they were putting it out there not stop they should stand up and own up.I am surprised they all didn't end up with HIV/AIDS from the disgusting stuff they were supposed to have got up to.

    And you know what....what about the health risk to the women in their lives ? Thats supposing that this entire hog wash is true .Supposed to be gay yet scared to come out the closet yet rampaging around everywhere.Smacks of a lot of porkies going on here ..

  10. So at last it`s come out that all Hollywood leading men are gay..that McQueen and Newman and Brando and Dean and Sal Mineo...that Mineo was so in love he contemplated only comment is this, and I knew about Paul as from 1970, he was `the hittee`...the Jew boy...the half Jew...the convert. I used always to feel like crying whenever I watched Newman in a film. This is why. Tragic really.

  11. What in the world is wrong with Newman or McQueen being gay or bi??? To this day, the world shuns movies with gay leads. And they could obviously still find interest and time for the ladies so - I'm thinking bi - even if any of them had preferences for men. None of this has anything to do with the fact that they were amazing actors and will always be seen that way. But would they have had the same career if they were out as being 'bi'? No. Does anyone in Hollywood have amazing movie careers being openly gay or bi? I don't see it. Sure, supporting actors. But leads?
    Can we all just stop judging people for a hot minute? All this article says to me is McQueen and Newman were players...all the way around. When people attack and react irrationally to even a hint of homosexuality it only makes me wonder..... Why do you protest so much???

    1. Better still, WHAT ARE THEY HIDING????

  12. Read the book called....Paul Newman the man behind the baby blues...his secret life exposed by Darwin Porter

  13. question: How does the writer know what was said in 1-to-1 conversations?