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, January 7, 2012

Gene Raymond


Raymond (above) with Dolores del Rio in Flying Down to Rio* 1933.

His wife of 28 years, Jeanette MacDonald, was much more famous, but Gene Raymond (1908-1998) had a solid career as a leading man of stage, film and TV. He had a strapping physique with blond hair and blue eyes. He was also a singer and composer, writer, director and producer – and a decorated military pilot.

Louis B. Mayer of MGM studios arranged the marriage to prevent MacDonald from marrying her on-screen partner Nelson Eddy, which would have ruined her career. Mayer was concerned that a MacDonald-Eddy marriage would end in divorce, due to their temperaments, then he would lose his lucrative box office team. MacDonald had an affair with Eddy anyway, and Gene Raymond continued to have affairs with other men. In fact, on their honeymoon MacDonald caught Raymond in an embrace with actor Buddy Rogers.

Raymond and wife Jeanette MacDonald (below).


But it gets even messier. Raymond, whose career peaked during the 1930s and 40s, was arrested three times for having sex with men, the last of which occurred in England during WWII. In 1938 Raymond began sharing a house with a 19-year-old actor and was arrested on a morals charge following a raid on a homosexual night club, requiring MacDonald to bribe police in order to obtain his release. An enraged Louis B. Mayer ordered the couple to resume the appearance of a happily married couple. Although he had arranged the marriage, Mayer had Raymond blacklisted following his 1938 arrest for homosexual activity; he made only 7 films from 1940-1948, whereas he had averaged four movies a year prior to the 1938 arrest. Raymond also had affairs with Rock Hudson, Cesar Romero and Robert Stack.

He appeared opposite W.C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Southern, Charles Laughton, Loretta Young, Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Dolores del Rio, Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery, Carole Lombard, Robert Mitchum and his own wife, who recorded “Let Me Always Sing,” which Raymond composed. Jeanette MacDonald also sang several of Raymond’s songs in her concerts. In 1948's Million Dollar Weekend, Raymond was also director and writer, in addition to being a cast member.

Raymond remarried after Jeanette MacDonald’s death but continued to attend meetings of the Jeanette MacDonald International Fan Club. He retired from the Air Force in 1968 as a colonel. For his contribution to the motion picture and television industries, Raymond has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: at 7003 Hollywood Boulevard and 1704 Vine Street, respectively.

Enjoy this clip from Flying Down to Rio (1933) with Delores del Rio. Raymond is very blond and a very young 25:

13 comments:

  1. If Gene Raymond was arrested for homosexual activity in 1938, how did he survive to become a Colonel in the air force?

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    1. he was a priest too

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    2. Because he was close friends with the General.

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  2. Hollywood moguls covered up arrests, abortions, affairs etc, They paid people off. Cover ups are a well know fact.

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  3. This piece is ridiculous, beginning with Louis B. Mayer blacklisting anyone from a studio other than his own. If they wanted him, he would have worked more. That he made films, and was a television host speaks against this infantile premise, whether or not he was gay.

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    1. From your blogger:
      Many sources relate the "power" of Louis B. Mayer over stars, even those not working for him. I don't make this stuff up. Raymond, accustomed to making 5 movies a year, didn't work in films for two years as a result of Mayer's tampering.
      For starters, go to:
      http://maceddy.com/biography/biography-3/

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    2. He wasn't a TV host. Gen Rayburn was not Gene Raymond

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    3. Your blogger begs to differ.
      From his obituary:
      He was host, panellist or actor on many television shows including Fireside Theatre, Ironside and The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and had appeared in touring or summer stock productions of popular plays like The Voice of the Turtle, Private Lives and the musical Kiss Me Kate.

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    4. His blond hair had such a shiny sheen, unlike other actors. How was it done?

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

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  5. Flying Down to Rio is better known as the film which initiated the pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, whose big dance number at the end of the film completely overshadowed the featured stars. Also there's a story in Raymond's Wikipedia biography that Nelson Eddy beat Gene Raymond up after discovering that he had been abusive to McDonald. Which was also covered up.

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  6. Why on earth would they stay married for 28 years if all this were true.? Stars separated and divorced all the time in those years.

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    1. Hollywood studios would force/encourage anything to protect their money machines -- their actors and actresses. Easier to put a lid on their star's homosexual dalliances if he were married to a woman. Then they could pass it off as "gossip" or "rumors."

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